Laurel asked for a Care Bear dress, specifically Cheer Bear which, she informed me, Â is pink with a rainbow “belly badge.”Â Â At the time, I didn’t know what a belly badge was.Â I do now. There is so much to learn when you are a Nana!Â But I do know that there are no Care Bear smocking plates.Â Â I felt aÂ challenge coming on.
Looking through my smocking plates, I came across Pandamonium by Little Memories andÂ knewÂ that a singleÂ one of those bears could be transformed into a Care Bear.Â Hurrah!
I had to regraph a portion ofÂ Â the panda to get the white belly just right for the outline stitched rainbow.Â Then the eyes were changed from theÂ droopy, sad,Â Â slanted straight stitchesÂ to perky French knots.Â Voila!Â I had me a Care Bear!Â TheÂ next challenge was to sit the bear, 4 full rows tall,Â Â with enough head roomÂ to remain well below the neck binding, enough to give the illusion that he was in the clouds.Â And stillÂ it Â needed a border.Â Â Â Â Smocking moreÂ rows in the front than over the shoulders, I thought, would solve that problem.Â Â This is a styleÂ Â I’ve always liked.Â I like to see a nice pouf at the shoulder and on a little one, that does not allow for many rows of smocking.
Smocking deeper in the center front and then tapering the pattern up to the sleeve seam allows you toÂ utilize more picture smocking plates thanÂ Â if youÂ had smocked that same number of rows all the way around.Â The rainbow colors were repeated in a wheat stitch pattern just below the neck binding.Â The diamond pattern was simply continued around to the back.
The dress itself is a ready to smock bishop made of polycotton microcheck.Â Â There’s that easy careÂ component so popular with young mothers.
The garmentÂ came with shirttail hemmed puff sleeves, pleated and ready to smock.Â Â I simply cut off the portion of the sleeves that fell just below the underarm seam and added a tatted insertion whichÂ used as beading.Â Silk ribbon, 1/8″ wide, was woven through the insertion/beading and a tatted edging joined to that.
Instead of myÂ preferred Â pearl buttons at the back, I used brightly colored “utility” buttons and didn’t feel one bit bad about it.Â First, all of my bright rose pearl buttons had been used up on the unicorn 5th birthday dress.Â And secondly,Â Â this Care Bear dressÂ is Â for everyday wear.Â Â It can stand proud in any American playground withÂ itsÂ plastic buttons.
Laurel has enjoyed wearing it to school and to the park as well as to parties.Â She is never careless, but she never worries much about getting itÂ dirty because she knows,Â as she told me,Â that her Â Nana can always make her another one.Â And she is right.