In the nick of time, noon on Christmas Eve, I finished Elizabeth's dress. I had it all ready to hem the night of the 23rd, but when I looked at it, it looked way too long. Thinking it would be down around her ankles, I left it for the morning when I could try it on. Of course, it was perfect - just below her knees. I didn't get any really good pictures of the dress, since it was being modeled by a perpetual motion machine. I felt like I had gone 10 rounds in the ring walking out of Mass, between her and boys with visions of Transformers, not Baby Jesus, dancing in their heads. Here she is after Mass with her brothers.
And here is an OK crop of the dress.
I ended up using my second idea for a smocking design, but in black and white. I was afraid all black would be too heavy, and I think the white showed up well and lightened it up a bit. Definitely not a dainty, frothy heirloom creation like the original shoulder button bishop, but it worked great. There are definitely things I would like to improve upon for next time. I think the cable row at the top should be MUCH more even, and the join between the smocking and placket could be tighter, but all in all, I'm pleased with it. Elizabeth didn't mind it too much, except that the length made it difficult to crawl around under the table and eat things, which we all know is her favorite pastime.