One of my favorite items to smock is a coordinating bonnet and bishop dress. Most often I don't use a smocking plate, I just make it up as I smock along. Occasionally tho, I do find a regular smocking plate that I love and then I have to get creative to make it work for a bishop to coordinate the two. This really is quite simple to do!
I began this project by smocking a bonnet - creating the smocking design as I smocked along.
Completed design for bonnet.
Once I completed the bonnet, I decided that I really wanted to make a bishop dress to go with it. This actually was an after-thought, as I had not really planned to make a bishop when I started the bonnet. I then had to do what I could to make this design work for a smocked bishop.
I started out making the very top row the same as the very top row of the bonnet. I then started making the two-step trellis stitch.
I continued making rows of the two-step trellis.
Instead of just four rows of the two-step, like I worked on the bonnet, I worked it deeper and made six rows. For a bishop dress to lay out correctly, you must work your design so that the entire neckline can easily fan out. You simply can't work a cable row deep within the neck, as it won't fan out. After my six rows of two-step trellis stitches, it was time to allow the neck to fan out even more.
I began at the very center and decided to gradually work down to a point, making two-step trellis stitches, working it down to a point. I completed three diamonds, then tied off.
I then completed two diamonds of the two-step trellis stitch.
I completed the point by making one diamond at the bottom.
After I completed the first point, I then needed to decide how I would work across the rest of the neckline. There are many choices that I could have made to complete the pattern. When making a choice of how to space out the points I was creating, I had to make sure that the sequence would finish correctly at the back of the bishop where it will button close. To determine this I counted out the pattern in how it would fall if I skipped one diamond, two diamonds or not even skipping a diamond. What I chose to do was to skip one diamond at the top, then work the 3-2-1 series to the point again and continue this pattern across the neck. This sequence allowed the pattern sequence to finish at the back openings so that there would be no break in the design all the way around the neck.
I then worked a step stitch in pink outlining the bottom of the worked design. To add some POP, I worked another outline in green. This is still a work in progress, but I wanted to show you just how easy it is to take a regular straight smocked design and adapt it to work for a bishop. You just have to keep in mind that you need to work the lower portion of the design so that it can easily be fanned out. Most smocking plates are adaptable to use for a bishop, and I can't wait to show you the bonnet and bishop when it is completed! Stay tuned!