My Bleeding Heart!

One Bitty Baby dress complete! This is from the Joan Hinds Smocking patterns for AG dolls. The patterns include sizing for the 15 1/2 inch Bitty Babies and also for the 18 inch AG dolls. These are such fun as it takes short time to do a little piece of heirloom work that will make someone very happy. 
Fabric: The dress is 100% cotton micro check, a gift from a fellow blogger who so generously sent it my way some time ago. Thanks again and you know who you are! the collar is  a 4 1//2 inch wide Swiss eyelet. It is a really fine batiste and another goodie from Ima's legacy. The sleeves have a lace edging attached. 

Construction: So simple! Hinds provides the smocking patterns in addition to her eight doll dress styles. Her instructions are very clear and easy. This would be a great way to dabble in a bit of smocking if you want to just give it a try. The smocking is done with two strands of #12 perle cotton. In making doll clothes you can get away with things you might not do on a "real" garment. To keep everything in scale the bound neckline really needed to be very tiny and have no bulk. A bias strip of 
1 1/4 inches was cut. One edge was pressed under a 1/4 inch. This was then attached temporarily to the neckline with Wonder Tape. The bias was stitched to the neckline and then stitched again 1/8th of an inch away. I then trimmed back all to the second stitching. To attempt to turn under this bias on such a thin binding would have been fruitless. Instead I folded the bias to the wrong side, wrapping tightly. I then stitched it in the ditch but when I was done it was all topstitched instead. My inaccuracy couldn't have gotten it closer to the edge if I tried so I am happy with that error. I then turned over the garment to the wrong side and catch stitched the remainder of the bias to the pleats. I really like this finish and may even use it on a "big"  garment. It lets the binding be really thin visually but also thin because there is so little bulk. The neckline binding is about an 1/8th of an inch wide.

Tracey asked, "Do you always do your pleating by hand or do you have a pleater as well?"  I do all my pleating with a pleater, an Amanda Jane 24 row. What you saw me doing in the last post was recovering from a broken pleater needle situation. The needle broke while pleating. I so hate that crunching sound that indicates that happening. I continued to pleat which let all the other rows get pleated except for the one with the broken needle. I took the thread out of the broken pleater needle and threaded a regular sewing  needle. I finished the missing row by just doing a running stitch in the right places. It was easy because I could follow the row above and the row below which still had their pleating threads. I do not hand pleat other than a situation like this and God bless any of you who do. I am not sure I would like hand pleating. About five years ago I was so enamored by what I saw in Sew Beautiful magazine that I bought a pleater without ever having tried smocking! It proved to be a purchase that has given me much pleasure and was worth every cent.

I know this is just a doll's dress but it was a pleasure to make, at least other than breaking those needles! I am moving on to other garments but will not tell you any more until I come back from a bit of a hiatus. I will be leaving this week for some time with my grandchildren down in Mass. Then it will be back to face the vegetable garden and some more landscaping around the house. I love to garden and am so behind because of all the wetness we have had to endure. I figure I will be back to sewing and blogging in about two weeks. Hope you are all enjoying your gardening as much as I am.

Today I got much planted. One of my favorite perennials has always been the Bleeding Heart. I am particularly proud of the white one I planted two years ago. Here's a couple of pics of the pink and the white bleeding heart plants in my shade garden...Bunny


  1. Very interesting post, Bunny. I don't know much about smocking...OK...I know NOTHING about smocking, but my Mom used to dabble in it. In fact, I think I still have a couple of dolls' dresses that she made.

    Love the pics of your bleeding hearts. This Spring, my FIL gifted me with two seedlings from his garden...which will be companions to the HUGE pink one in my shaded fence border. I also have a white one that grows on the north side of the house...against the stone garage wall.

    Your garden looks a lot like mine, with the field-stone borders. Love your bottle tree! Happy gardening!


  2. Συγηαρητήρια! Το φόρεμα έγινε τόοοοσο όμορφο αλλά και τα λουλούδια του κήπου σου καταπληκτικά!!!

  3. What a cute little doll dress! Love the bleeding hearts, I saw some yesterday and thought of getting some for the backyard which is really shady.

  4. A very sweet little doll dress! They are such fun to make, and bring such happiness to girls of all ages.
    Love your bleeding hearts. I had the pink variety at a former home. The white are especially enchanting!

  5. Pretty little dress! I love your bleeding hearts. They are a protected species in Massachusetts. It's against the law to pick them or at least it used to be. I just love them..

  6. It truly is a breathtaking dress! You never get bored with sewing do you? Pajamas to an heirloom keeper! Hurry up and get back.

  7. Bunny,

    What a darling dress, I love your neckline binding, I'll have to bookmark and save it.
    Your bleeding hearts are beautiful. I wonder if we can grow them in Southern California, not much shade here.

  8. Beautiful dress. And I liked seeing your bleeding hearts, so pretty, I always see them in my garden magazines but I think it is too hot and dry for my garden. Lovely. and is that a bottle tree I see in the background?

  9. OMG - that dress is killer great...such hand work. I love hand work as there's nothing machinery to replace it. How beautiful - and maybe it's easy for you, but it's so gorgeous to me.

    Love your flowers...which we could grow such things in the plains, but alas we have grass and lots of it!!!

  10. Such a sweet little doll dress! Couture for dolls! Enjoy your gardening. We just got 15 windows and 2 doorwalls replaced, so guess what I'm doing? Clean up and curtains.

  11. Bunny,
    thanks for answering my question! The dress is adorable as are the bleading hearts! A pleater may be in my future.

  12. What a darling little smocked dress! I love it and you did a beautiful job! The bleeding hearts are gorgeous!

  13. Very interesting outcome to that tiny binding dilemma, Bunny. "Necessity being the mother of invention" sort of!
    I enlarged both photos to see just how you caught the raw edge on the back side.

    I just HATE it when I break a pleater needle! I have AJ 36 needle one & those little things can add up quickly. I think they were over $1.50 last time I bought any & there was purported to have been a shortage.
    I've never tried to pleat two layers of fabric at once...I'm scared to try, even!

    The little doll dress turned out very cute!
    Love the pretty flowers in your shade garden, too. We have very little shade except beneath the gazebo & that is all rocks & stones. :-(

    Have a GREATful Memorial Day, Hon!


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