DIY Ready to Smock Bishop Nightie



Fewthings are sweeter than a little girl in a smocked nightgown.   This ruffle sleeved classic bishop in blue batiste is smocked in white with pink bullion roses, edged with French lace.  Six year old Laurel loves it.

The nightie was completely constructed before it was smocked.  Again and again, I have heard friends talk of their stacks of unfinished projects.  Many, if not most, are smocked garments awaiting construction.  Smocking is a joy.  Construction is less so.  Some of these projects will never  be finished.




Some time ago, I began making my own ready-to-smock bishops.  To me, doing the construction first makes as much sense as eating your vegetables before dessert. The initial surge of enthusiasm for a project can get me through the sometimes tedious construction phase and before the project is yesterday’s news, it is ready to smock.  Yippee!!!

Another advantage to constructing a bishop before smocking is that you can get that first cable row snugged up  to the binding perfectly.

Seeing Laurel in this gown brought back some sweet memories of my Rebecca wearing an almost identical  nightgown when she was 3 or 4.  Until she was about 10 years old, she had her grandmother, her aunt and her mother smocking and sewing for her almost full time.  She could have drowned in her smocked and heirloom clothes.




One day, she and her  friend Karoline spent the day playing at our house.  An impromptu sleepover was arranged and the little girls were readied for bed. But let me paint the picture for you before I recall this memory.


DIYsmocked girls


Her friend Karoline, just as lovely and sweet as her hostess, was also a  darling, with blond ringlets and blue eyes.  She  had two older brothers who were, in their babysitter’s words, “the devil’s own children.”  The boys  had an extensive vocabulary of rude words, often used in Karoline’s presence.

On this particular day, Karoline, of course, had no sleepware with her.  So one of Rebecca’s many smocked nighties was pulled from the drawer for Karoline and the girls were each clad in batiste and lace for  the night. Their ringlets were tightened by their bath and they looked just like little angels.

After stories and prayers, they were tucked in bed in the upstairs nursery with Karoline  in the trundle.  I stood outside the door, listening to their little-girl chatter and reveling in the joy of the scene–two precious, beautiful, innocent children all sweet smelling and sanitary and wearing smocked nighties.  Ahhhhhhh……they were the picture of purity.

I heard a little toot.   After a brief silence, Karoline remarked, “Somebody farted.”

It took Rebecca a few minutes to process this unfamiliar word and understand Karoline’s meaning.  Finally she said, “It wasn’t me.”

After a few seconds, Karoline replied calmly, “I know.”

There was no more chatter and the little darlings fell asleep, two precious bundles of  ringlets and batiste and lace and smocking.  I was reminded again of why so much  time is spent lovingly making children’s clothes.



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