Info on What you need to Make a Smocked Bishop Dress

After numerous requests we have gathered together all the supplies you need for making a bishop dress, history and a short version on how to make a bishop dress.  (Please bear with us as we are working on developing this page.  Check back soon for more information.)

A smocked bishop dress, as the heirloom sewing world refers to it, has evolved from the past as a comfortable garment to wear.

Supplies needed:

A Bishop Pattern in the size range you need - we carry several different companies with various size ranges.
Here is one example of a popular pattern:

CCP#3 Bishop
Girls: 6mos - 7yr

The Bishop dress is smocked all the way around the neck. Short, long and ruffle sleeves are included. Dress may be buttoned in back or front. Long gown pattern is included. Pattern has smocking design and instructions.

Price $12.00
Quantity requested    

All the Bishop Patterns We Carry
Neckline Shaping Guide - Very important.

Bishop, Yoke & Collar Guide is a versatile aid to use from the start to finishing of the smocked garment, but it Bishop or Yoke, Collar or Insert.  Neckline sizings are from an 18" doll sized neck, Preemie/Newborn up to Adult.  Actual size is 14" x 14".

Also included is a Scallop Guide for Hems and Collars  for scallop sizes 1", 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2", 3", 3 1/2" & 4".

Ellen McCarn's Smock & Block Guide

Price $6.00
Quantity requested    

Patterns that include a neckline guide are Pat Garretson and Ellen McCarn. All other bishop patterns require a separate neckline blocking guide .


The bishop style can be made in several ways besides the primary dress.

Here are the many variations of a bishop dress available with the Chery William's Bishop


CW#102 Bishop - Girls: 2-6 or 6-12 years

The bishop dress is one of the staple designs in the smocking world. You really can't go wrong in making one for your little girl. There are so many variations possible depending upon the fabric you use from fancy to a regular dress. For older girls the waisted and dropwaist bodice styles are especially flattering as well as the smocked bishop blouse.

Your style choices are:

  • Sleeveless overlay collar dress
  • Angel sleeve dress
  • Short sleeve dress
  • Long sleeve dress
  • Short sleeve Blouse/Dropwaist Bodice
  • Long sleeve Blouse/Dropwaist Bodice
  • Button-down the front or back or placket closure.
CW Bishop $14.00
Two Size Ranges: 2-6 years; 6-12 years

Price $14.00
Quantity requested    

Maggies Classics


MC#301 Bishop Dress
Four Size Ranges: Girls 6mo-12mos; 18mos-3; 4-6yrs; 8-14yrs

Price $12.00
Quantity requested      


Two designs from Ellen McCarn - $3.50 each

EM Laura Mae

Price $3.50
Quantity requested    

EM Rosann

Price $3.50
Quantity requested    

Two lovely designs created for the smocked collar, a variation of the round smocked bishop dress/blouse.

A smocked collar appeared as a variation in the Chery Williams pattern for adding a special touch on a smocked dress. It was the fashion in the south to make smocked collars but it was always taught by 'rote' rather than in a pattern, so it was very convenient to have it in pattern form. There are two ways to do a smocked collar upon a bishop dress.  The first is to make it detachable to make a dress more fancy for special occasions.  Add a beautiful lace edging to the bottom of the collar piece makes for a lovely mantle effect, perfect in church settings. Or if you prefer you can pleat the collar along with the dress.  This is bit of an advanced technique in pleating as the layers may shift unless you have totally basted the collar to the dress.  Chery did an excellent job in instructing you on the proper technique.  Her instructions can be found in her bishop pattern (shown above)  The detachable bishop collar can be used on any style under dress, wether it be a basic square yoke, a-line or basque waistline.  (show images of all of these).  You can also consider a detachable collar as an investment in patience when the gravy spills on the dress because you were able to take it off before dinner.  My daughter's favourite dress was one that I found in of all places a chance trip to the Salvation Army.  It was a Liberty of London fabric, tiny floral print in shades of French Blue and Grey with tiny peachy salmon flowers.  At the neckline was an attached smocked collar, attached to the neckline of a drop-waisted dress with a ribbon and bow just at the hipline, the skirt flaired out.  It fell just below the knee of my tall daughter.

More Smocking Design plates we carry, click here.


What is the difference between a Basic Square Yoke Dress and a Bishop?
How did each of these styles evolve?

The bishop dress evolved from the bishop neckline worn as nightwear or undergarments. The neckline was easily controlled by a string, bias tape or ribbon. Today we can use a combination of elastic or simple bias band, if the neckline is secured or fastened by a button or ribbon.

One of the main differences between the bishop dress and the Basic Square Yoke Dress is how the sleeves are set into the garment and that it is partially constructed by sewing the sleeves to the backs and front before pleating.

Here is a basic raglan sleeved garment (Folkwears #103 Roumanian Blouse - smocked).  See how the sleeves are attached to the back and front on an angle? When stretched out this becomes a long rectangle of two varying depths of the front/back and the two sleeves.

This long piece is sewn together with very tiny french seams, tiny because you need them small in order to send them through the pleater with ease.  Bulky seams are the enemy of your pleater needles.

The bishop style, by the way, gives a nice flowing shape to the wearer ... such as young girls with tummies or when you want room to move

Folkwear #103 Roumanian Blouse

Price $16.95
Quantity requested    

Here is an example of the Basic Square Yoke (Pattern shown is Chery William's Basic Square Yoke Dress).  Note how the sleeves are set into the yoke, the smocking is then attached to the yoke on the front (and/or back) after it is smocked, not before.  While the skirt flows from the smocking the yoke is form fitting. Also shown is the full bodice style where the smocking flows from the shoulder seams.

 

Chery Williams Basic Square Yoke Dress


CW127 Basic Square Yoke - Girls: 2-6 or 6-12 years

Price $14.00
Quantity requested    

For ladies we also have bishop blouse patterns available.
Please click here to see our offerings Ladies Patterns We Carry.

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