Now this is Scary!

Recognize what this is? I think it is a sight  that puts fear into any sewist. Other than one button and a good press, Carly's bishop is done. Finishing a garment always precipitates a thorough cleaning of the studio. Upon turning on the old Dyson, all I got was a high pitched whistle. Hose was clear. Dust holder emptied.Did I really have to look at the brush? Oy......miles of threads. It didn't take too long to get it all cut off and back to cleaning the floor. A word of advice here: the best tool for the job are those pricey pelican billed scissors you won't let anyone touch.

A few comments on Carly's bishop: asked the question, "what is a bishop?" A bishop is a traditional dress worn by girls from birth to maybe 10 years of age, if you are lucky. It consists of a gathered neckline with the gathering going around the entire bodice and raglan sleeves. The gathering is usually controlled by English smocking but not necessarily. I have see them with counterchange, backsmocking, and just a simple gather into a bound neckline. If you go into Google Images and type in "smocked bishop"  you will pull up many lovely examples. There are advantages to bishops, chiefly the fit. Lots of fabric is released by the smocking or gathers and therefore fit around the body is not an issue. I often use a two full widths of fabric on a bishop for a toddler, one for the front and one for the back. Usually the only fit concerns are size of the neckline and cuffs and the finished length. Bishops often have "growth tucks" above the hemline. Carly's does and you will see it tomorrow. Between the growth tuck and the fullness a bishop can often be worn for three years, something nice to know when you consider all the handwork that can go into the embroidery. Bishops are very easy to sew up once the embellishment is complete, just side seams, hem, and bindings on the neck and sleeves, not hard sewing at all. Like many, a bishop was my first smocked garment. The bishop style is timeless and therefore a garment with great heirloom potential.

I would have posted the completed little dress today but I lost a button, the last one of a five pack. So it will be back to town tomorrow to get the last button. I did a covered button with the same plaid I used for the binding.

One drawback of the bishop is that due to the flaring nature of the garment it is difficult to line. You would have to use two layers and pleat and sew them as one. This toile fabric was heavier than normal so that would not work. So with most bishops you have all the ends of the smocking and embroidery threads visible, something Hermana Esperanza taught me would just never do. I have a stretch lace that I cut to the shape on my blocking guide and stitched into the bound neckline. It will stretch with the garment as needed and helps hide, as best possible, the thread ends and you can see that here. I could have used a thin solid but I liked the stretch of the lace and I am fine with its funcionality. Tomorrow I hope to have pics up of the completed garment. Then I believe I will be on to a bag for a barter and the coat to go with this dress...Bunny


  1. The tangled mess on the vacuum roller, looks very familiar to me. That's happened several times over here.

  2. Is it bad to say I don't even want to check the bottom of my vacuum. I know it's gonna be scary! lol

  3. Do you like your Dyson? My Riccar just died and I'm in need of a new vacuum ! I've looked at Dysons, but am unsure.
    The bishop looks fantastic. Can't wait to see what you do with the jacket. If you've told us what fabric you're using, I"ve forgotten. I'm thinking something fabulous from Ima.

  4. Um, yeah, been there. That's why I removed all the carpet from my workroom and have concrete floors now. I use the shopvac to really clean it up and sweep in between.

  5. Oh I know - isn't this unbelievable. I have an exacto knife that I take to my cleaning thingie that turns around (I'm sure there's a techny name for this thing), and it cuts it away pretty well.

    What does this say about us, that we clean our vacumn cleaners!!!


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