A couple years ago I found the most adorable series of cotton fabrics with various little birds and winter trees, and I made my two sister-in-laws Christmas aprons, but there was a third piece that I saved back because I thought that maybe…just maybe…I might get to make a baby dress out of it someday.
I knew I wanted to make it into a smocked dress and set to work on it last week. My instructions were in a photocopied book of smocking stitches that basically said “Make baby dress with smocked yoke” and gave some dimensions. No mention of sewing seams or how such a thing should fit over a baby noggin or how to finish it off. Mind you, I’ve also never smocked a thing in my life. In short, don’t look too closely.
I ended up being happy with the look of just a small section of smocking- two rows of a chain stitch and then four rows of honeycombing. I love smocking but I didn’t want the overly frilly look of most smocked dresses. I also cut down on the frilly factor by finishing the neckline and sleeves with some self bias edging.
I decided to cut a keyhole opening in the back so that I could get it on and off, and then I made a charming little thread button loop- neglecting to first decide on a button or think about the size buttons usually are. Luckily, I found the perfect itsy bitsy pearl button in my box of odds and ends.
The dress is roomy and long, and my hope is that it can be a dress for quite a while before transitioning to life as a blouse. The sleeves are actually too long now, but Alice has been growing quickly and I don’t mind rolling them up for a while. In the end, I’m happy with the dress and I’m looking forward to improving my smocking game in the future.
Are you wondering why I didn’t use my adorable baby as a model? Well, she’s napping and I’ve learned to seize the moment. Would you perhaps like to see her modelling the coordinating pixie bonnet I made for her instead?
If anyone is curious about the bonnet, I found the free pattern here and tweaked it by doing a seed stitch band along the bottom and adding i-cord ties. I have ambitions of making another one later in the winter with pom-poms on the end of the cords….oh baby clothes.