Tag Archives: lace smocking

Smocking Design for You

Note:  Heirloom lace edgings and insertions are shown in following posts.  All For Sale items can be found by clicking on the “A Store” category rather than scrolling through old posts.




When this peach bishop dress was first posted,   I offered to post my original smocking design for readers.  At last, here it is.   In order for it to be accessible, you may do a screen capture and save to your computer or leave a comment requesting the design and I will e-mail the  .jpg file to you.

My goal was to mimic the Swiss embroidery and French lace on the sleeve caps., to visually continue the pattern into the smocking.  It was a fun and interesting design challenge which I enjoyed.  I was generally pleased with the results.

Note that the graphed design shows bullion tulips while the smocked peach bishop shows 6 cable flowerettes.  Of course, use whichever you like. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.



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Peach Bishop


This is one of my all-time favorite smocked dresses.  I made it for Rebecca when she was just 4 years old and now, 30 years later, still enjoy seeing it hang in the nursery closet.

There are several interesting features to this peach Imperial batiste bishop dress.  The  extra deep smocking front and back, white sleeve overlay, and original smocking design made it a pleasure to design and stitch. The bottom rows of the smocking design were drafted to mimic the sleeve overlay fancyband.

EXTRA DEEP SMOCKING: The number of rows smocked front and back on this dress greatly exceeds the recommended amount for this size.  You can see that the smocking goes far below the beginning of the armhole curve, normally the absolute last row of stitching.  Smocking rarely goes beyond this point because 1) it would exceed the width of the child’s shoulder and 2) it is impossible to pleat through that curve.




The first restriction is eliminated by smocking only a few rows at the neckline, well before the edge of the shoulder.  Secondly, the pleating is done before construction, allowing pleats to go to any depth.




This is most easily done by working with a block of fabric, rather than a cut out front and back.  The armhole curve is traced with a washaway marker onto the fabric block before pleating front, back and sleeves from a straight edge to a straight edge.  Later, the pleating threads are pulled out up to the seamline of the armhole and knotted off.  Then the armhole curve is cut out and the front and back pieces are joined to the sleeves.

SLEEVE OVERLAY:  The white sleeve cap overlay includes a Swiss embroidery from Capitol Imports, entredeux and French Val lace edging.  This detail alone elevates the easy care bishop to a more elegant level.  Continue reading