Before we can smock up some baby-dress cuteness, we need, of course, a pattern. Fortunately a yoke-style pattern is easy-peasy to draft up. So let's.
We'll begin with the basic bodice pattern and puffed sleeve pattern. Both are available on the basic patterns page, or you could alter a yoke dress pattern you have lying around. We'll be using the 3-6 month size.
There we are, all printed out.
First we'll make the neckline a little wider. I want to remove 1/2" here, but then put back in 1/4" for a seam allowance:
Now, here's the trick with a smocked yoke dress. We're only going to smock on the front of the skirt just below the yoke on these. But smocking controls the fullness of the skirt for a certain depth (the depth of the smocking). If the yoke seam were at the same height at front and back, and then there were rows of fullness-controlling smocking below that, it would cause the skirt to hang a little funny.
So what we do instead is determine how deep the smocking is going to go on the front, and make the yoke seam lower by that depth on the back.
There's a lot going on in this photo, so we'll take it slow here.
The pink line shows where we want the yoke seam to be on the front. I've drawn a line all the way across the bodice front and back.
Then I've determined that 1 1/2" of smocking (or four rows on my pleater) ought to be plenty for a baby dress, and drawn a line 1 1/2" below the pink line on the back to show where we'll cut the back yoke seam. This line is green.
The blue lines are seam allowance lines for front and back.
And now all that's left is to cut the pattern pieces apart and add any remaining seam allowances. We'll need to keep the bottom of the bodice front, because we'll need to cut that little bit of the armhole curve out of the top corners of the skirt front. The skirt back will just be a rectangle. We will need to remember to cut the skirt front 1 1/2" longer than the skirt back. The width of the skirt will be 3 times the finished yoke seam. I believe that's the rule of thumb for pleating and smocking, yes.
Here are the pattern pieces, then:
The puffed sleeve comes with a 3/8" seam allowance already, so I didn't add one. I did, however, add 1/2" at the center back for a button closure there.
And that's it. We've got our pattern and we're ready to go to the fabric-and-scissors stage!
(Oh, I love that stage...)
Questions, as always, are most welcome. You? There in the back?