Smocked Christmas Bishop Tutorial


“Baubles” Bishop Dress

One of the best things about the holidays is sewing beautiful holiday clothing – from the fancy velvet dresses fit for family portraits, to the festive fabric print designs suitable for any day of the season. We just added an adorable new line of Christmas fabrics into our online store, and one of several designs that came to mind when I saw them was Laurie Anderson’s “Baubles” bishop dress from our November/December 2011 edition of Sew Beautiful. This dress is made using the “Bishop” pattern from The Children’s Corner, prints from Anna Griffin’s “Isabelle” holiday fabric line and Laurie’s original “Baubles” smocking design. You can use any basic bishop pattern, holiday fabrics of your choice and Laurie’s smocking plate and instructions below to stitch up your own version:

Materials: • Bishop pattern • Basic smocking and sewing supplies • 2 yards, fabric one (dress)* • 1/2-yard fabric two (sleeves)* • Fabric three (skirt band)* • 5 yards jumbo rickrack and 2-1/2 yards baby-size rickrack in colors of your choice • Six each of two different colored buttons (for smocking and back closure) • DMC Perle Cotton (size 8) in red and green or colors of your choice *You could also create this dress in one fabric.

Cutting and Construction Notes:
• Cut dress front and backs from fabric one.
• Cut sleeves from fabric two.
• Cut hem band from fabric three 45 inches wide x 2-3/4 long.
• Construct and pleat dress according to pattern.
• Turn up hem on dress and sew in place.
• Turn edges of band piece under 1/8 inch on both long sides; press.
• Pin band to dress about 3 to 3-1/2 inches up from finished hem. Overlap ends on back of dress at seam. Baste or gluebaste in place.
• Place baby rickrack on top edge of band; glue-baste then stitch in place.
• Place jumbo rickrack on lower edge of band; glue-baste then stitch in place.


“Baubles” Design Plate

Smocking Notes:
• Smock using the “Baubles” design plate provided here.
• Sew buttons at lower edge of smocking to look like ornaments. Placement is three centered in front and three centered on each shoulder. Use opposite colored floss on buttons, i.e. green floss on red buttons, and stitch on outside edges of buttons.

Smocking Instructions:
1. Begin at center on Row 1 with a down cable. Cable across; invert and complete Row 1.

2. Beginning at center with an up cable, work a half-space wave between Rows 1 and 1-1/2; invert and complete across plate.

3. Work a half-space wave between Rows 1-1/2 and 2 directly below previous wave row.

4. Weave one strand of red DMC Pearl cotton through cables on Row 1-1/2, following graph for placement. NOTE: For the next five rows of smocking, it is very important to work the rows in the order of the instructions to achieve the color layering correctly.

5. Begin at center with an up cable with red floss on Row 3; work a three-step trellis between Rows 3 and 4.

6. Work a three-step trellis using green floss between Rows 3-1/2 and 4-1/2, but trellis in the opposite direction from the previous row.

7. Switch to red floss and repeat step 5 between Rows 4 and 5, working in the same direction.

8. Switch to green floss and repeat step 6 between Rows 4-1/2 and 5-1/2, working in the same direction.

9. Repeat step 5 between Rows 5 and 6 in red floss.

10. Begin at center on Row 7 with red floss, down cable, trellis up three to Row 6, cable one, trellis down seven to Row 7-1/2, cable one, trellis up seven to Row 6, cable one, trellis down three to Row 7, trellis up three to Row 6. Work this sequence across the entire row, invert work and complete across plate.

11. Repeat step 10, working two more identical design rows one right under the other, consulting graph for placement and color changes. Smocking should reach to Row 8-1/2.

12. For sleeve smocking, work two rows of a three-trellis wave in red with a wave of green lacing between them.


Smocking details

Visit our online store to shop all our new holiday fabrics!

Our Serger 1 Online Licensing started Monday, Nov. 3! There’s still time to register if you’d like to join us – click here for more information. We’ve also been busy working on our live event schedule for 2015. We’re planning to have four teacher licensings, plus four School of Art Fashion Boutiques. Visit our events page to read more about all the exciting things in store – we will open registration as soon as every detail is in place.

We pray for the men and women serving this nation in harm’s way, and for all of you.

Much Love to You All & May God Bless,

Kathy McMakin

2 thoughts on “Smocked Christmas Bishop Tutorial

  1. Maria

    Can you guide me to someone that gives smocking classes in the Puyallup, Washington area. I purchased a pleating board at a sewing expo by Martha’s husband. Can’t quite get the hang of it. Broke too many needles.


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