Thursday, 30 June 2011

Raspberry Vodka

After a deliciously long weekend in the country, it was hard not to feel slightly deflated driving back to a drizzly, grizzly city.  But instead of moaning, I am taking pleasure in what we brought back... a small collection of thrifted charity shop treasures and a big batch of raspberries freshly picked this morning.

~ Raspberry Vodka ~

approx 350g fresh raspberries
75-150g golden caster sugar (depending on how sweet you like it - I like mine a little tart)
70cl Vodka (some say the cheaper the better)
an air-tight jar, very clean

Place the raspberries in the jar, add the sugar and pour over the vodka.  Close the jar and give it a really good and vigorous shake.  For the first month, you need to shake it up as often as you remember - every day if possible.  For the following couple of months just give it a shake every week or other week.  Keep it at room temperature and away from direct sunlight; I keep mine in plain view on the kitchen counter so I don't forget to shake it!  Leave your vodka to infuse for at least two months, three if you can wait.  When the time comes, you will need a clean bottle, a funnel and a sieve (or clean muslin cloth) to separate the liquid from the berries.  Your raspberry vodka is now ready to drink.  But don't throw away the boozy berries - they are delicious slightly warmed and eaten with ice cream for example, or baked in a cake, or punch...  I'm looking forward to Autumn already.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Calm in the Country

"Imagine a calm, serene mother, who accepts whatever life presents her with.  Unexpected or unwanted events don't rattle her.  She never overreacts.  She's aware of the times when she lacks wisdom or compassion but she doesn't waste days feeling guilty, she might do better next time.  She's self-aware, but because she has fostered self-love, she is not self-conscious or self-absorbed when she talks to others.  Her friends say she is gentle and kind in a genuine way.  Her brothers and sisters add that she is clear in her thinking and good at making decisions.  She seems to make others feel comfortable, special even, and there's no shortage of people who love her.  Her children delight in her company for she makes them feel important and understood.  She's creative, spontaneous and quick to laugh because no matter what she's doing, life is play, not work."

I am by no means the woman described in this passage, or even a practicing Buddhist for that matter, but when I read this book when I was pregnant, this paragraph stuck.  I had thought plenty about the kind of mother I wanted to be, and it was this idea of mindful mothering that felt natural and right for me.  Whenever I am experiencing all those motherly highs and lows I seem to have this passage in my mind, either reminding me to take a minute to re-approach a situation calmly and mindfully, or allowing me to feel proud, not only of my boy (because obviously I am overflowing with pride for him at all times!), but proud of myself and the mother I am growing up to be.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sweet Little Things

Kids really get it good, clothes-wise.  With free reign to express their emerging identities, and no social norms to adapt to, the experimental business of dressing oneself has no limits in the life of a child.  PJ's, superhero/dino/princess costumes, blinding clashes of print and colour, wacky outfit combos like army shorts+leggings+moonboots+hand socks (in the case of my son!); all of these are perfectly acceptable, and completely adorable, daily attire for those under the age of 10.  And so how wonderful to be able to make the mini outfits that capture and feed their imaginations, becoming a whole lot more than just clothes but instead tools to express their developing personalities.  One woman, Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S, and her captivating book, Little Things To Sew, has created a collection of clothes and accessories for kids that encourage their need for imagination and expression on a daily basis, and with her step-by-step clarity, these are projects that are approachable for even a novice sewer.  And I must confess, there are a few projects in there that I might just have to make in grown-up size... 

This little skirt I made this morning for my neighbour's little girl who turns three on Monday.  Inspired by Liesl's book, I used a leftover strip of Liberty fabric, two layers of cherry pink netting and elasticated the waistband to make a pretty tutu in under half an hour.

The Explorer Vest was the first thing I made from Little Things To Sew - it seemed like the perfect possible accessory to the daily adventures of a little boy.  All those collected stones, pens, wiggly worms have to go somewhere, and the Explorer Vest has a pocket for everything.  I ended up making it way to big to fit my almost three-year-old, so here it is on my eleven year-old brother instead.  But I recently found some great army fabric in a bargain bin at a local fabric shop for another, smaller, Explorer Vest.  Especially to match his army shorts+leggings+moonboots+hand socks combo.

"Explorer Vest" from Little Things to Sew

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Prom Dress - Final Fitting

Jess in her Dress

I was actually quite nervous as I waited for Jess to try on her Prom Dress this morning.  This is the first time I've been asked, or commissioned I guess, to make something, for someone, for a special occasion.  Prom, no less.

When she came out of my studio to show me, I was horrified.  For a long moment I couldn't figure out why the bodice seemed to fit so badly despite having tailored it so specifically to her figure...  Then... phew!  She had put it on back-to-front!!

Having put it on the right way round, and hemmed the skirt, she and I are both thrilled with the result.  And now, as with all projects I've completely enjoyed making, I'm sad it's over.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Prom Dress Update

A few weeks back I mentioned how thrilled I am to have been asked to make my neighbour Jess' Prom Dress.  After browsing through all my patterns, she was undecided between the 50's classic Walkaway Dress and a 60's full skirted dress (see post here).  We took both patterns with us fabric shopping last week, and the moment we got to Liberty's 3rd floor, the fabrics chose the dress...

Similar to the dress I made for myself from this same pattern, Jess liked the idea of different prints making up the four skirt panels, and a plainer bodice.  So she went for the blue and red roses and the poppies for the skirt, with a soft off-white cotton for the bodice.

After a fitting yesterday, it's all looking lovely (I want to keep it!) and this morning will see me blissfully hand stitching the neck-line interfacing, shoulder lining seams, and gathering the skirt, ready to be put together and zippered for one last fitting tonight to determine the length for hemming.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Baby Snuggle Wrap - knitting pattern

Baby things are always such a pleasure to knit.  I find myself taking the rhythmical meditation that comes with rhythmical stitching to new levels... with every stitch I imagine I'm infusing my handknit with love and hope and endearment, to envelop and protect the tiny baby who wears it (so much so, that I can't knit for a baby if I'm in a bad mood).  This Snuggle Wrap was not actually knitted with anybaby in mind (wishful knitting, possiblement?)... just an idea I had and it seemed like the perfect project for the Misti Alpaca yarn that had been calling out to me from my stash basket.  A delicious yarn to knit with, and a deliciously satisfying project, and even dreamier to knit if you have a little one on the way...

Size: newborn - 6 months
Gauge: 3.5 stitches per inch


k - knit
p - purl
st(s) - stitch(es)
rep - repeat
cont - continue
CO - cast on
BO - bind off
RS - right side
WS - wrong side


  • 3 x 100g Misti Alpaca Chunky (100% baby Alpaca)
  • 7mm needles
  • 5mm crochet hook
  • yarn needle to sew in tails
  • little scissors
alternative folding technique


CO 97 sts.
rows 1 - 6: work in Moss st (k1, *p1, k1 rep from * to end of row).
row 7 (RS): (k1, p1) 3 times, knit to last 6 sts, (p1, k1) to end.
row 8 (WS): (k1, p1) 3 times, purl to last 6 sts, (p1, k1) to end.
rep rows 7 & 8 until piece measures approx 20in/50cm in length.

next row (RS): (k1, p1) 15 times, k37, (p1, k1) 15 times.
next row (WS): k1, (p1, k1) 15 times, p35, (k1, p1) 15 times, k1.
rep these last 2 rows 2 more times (6 rows total of the Moss st shoulders).

next row (RS): BO 26 sts, (k1, p1) twice, k37, (p1, k1) 3 times, BO last 25 sts.
At this point you can either break off yarn and rejoin it, or using a crochet needle slip stitch over to your 46 live stitches.

cont in the same pattern of the 6 st moss st border at each end of row, stockinette st in between, until hood panel measures approx 8.5in/21cm.
You now want to slip 23 sts onto another needle (preferably a double-pointed needle, otherwise you'll have to slip them all a second time in order to get your needle points matching up when you fold the panel to close the hood seam).
Close hood seam with either a 3 needle bind-off or the kitchener stitch.
Sew in loose tails.

Using a crochet hook, join your yarn at a shoulder corner, chain 10, rejoin with a slip stitch at the same point you started to create a loop.  Break off yarn and sew in tails.
Using the photo as a guide, join yarn at a point on the opposite shoulder, chain 40, break off yarn leaving a few inches of yarn to spare.
Make a mini pom-pom with a scrap of a contrasting yarn, or the same yarn, and attach it securely to the long chain (I like a simple reef-knot).  Now you can feed the chain through the loop and fasten it however loosely or tightly you want.

Super Simple Dirndl Skirt - tutorial

Lying awake last night, with that familiar anxious feeling I always get as I'm approaching the end of a project and itching for the next, I very nearly got out of bed to make this Super Simple Dirndl Skirt.  But I didn't.  I made it today instead, taking up only an hour of my son's hour-and-a-half nap.  And I still had enough time left for a coffee.

~Super Simple Dirndl Skirt~

Size: can be easily adapted to fit any size
Time to make: about an hour

  • for the skirt - a length of fabric at least twice the length of your waist measurement and as wide as you want your skirt long (+ an extra couple of inches for hem allowances).  My length of fabric measured 60 x 25 inches.
  • for the waistband - a length of fabric (same as the skirt or contrasting) measuring 6 inches + your waist measurement, and about 6 inches wide.
  • a length of elastic to fit unstretched around your waist.
  • tailors chalk & pins.
  • optional - any applique or trimmings to embellish your skirt.
Step 1
Hem (by pressing only, no need to sew) the 2 short ends of your fabric.

Step 2
Press and hem the top-line of your skirt to ensure a neat, straight edge.  If you have a selvage for your top-line, skip this step.

Step 3
Fold skirt in half (right sides facing each other) to align the waist.  Mark the end of the waist opening, approx 7 inches from top-line.  Mark where your applique trimmings will meet at the seam.

step 3

Pin trimmings to the right side of your skirt, making sure they will match up once the skirt is seamed.

pinning the trimming

Step 4
Beginning at the point you marked as the end of the waist opening, stitch the side seam and press open.  You will now have a closed tube resembling a pretty shapeless - and massive - skirt.

step 4

Step 5
Take your length of elastic and pin the 2 ends to the 2 open ends of the waist line of your skirt.  Now pin the centre point of the elastic to the centre point of the waist line.  You could go on like this, evenly stretching and pinning the elastic along the waist, but I find just pinning those 3 main points to be enough.  Using a zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine, and stretching the elastic towards you to match the length of the fabric, carefully stitch the elastic to the waist line, which will quickly and evenly gather the top-line, giving your skirt that lovely Dirndl shape.

step 5

Step 6
Using the length of fabric for your waistband, sandwich it closed lengthways (right sides facing) and stitch the 2 short ends and 3 inches along each side, leaving [your waist line measurement] open in order to slot in the top of the skirt.  Turn it right side out and press.  Slot in the top-line of your skirt, pin in place, and stitch.

step 6

Step 7
Almost done... But make sure you try your skirt on before hemming to be sure of the length!

And there it is, a perfectly pretty gathered Dirndl Skirt in an hour.  Just think of all the possibilities... colours, fabrics, trims, panelling, layers even... Yum.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

I heart Rainy Days

Especially when spontaneous Rainy Day Projects come out really well...

Excited by his very own new sofa (which is actually quite old, but has been sitting in the attic), my son and I spent the morning making this little cushion using up strips of Liberty's Tana Lawn airplanes cotton, leftover from his quilt, patched with some scraps of muslin, and I embroidered a silly little plane over the empty strip.  

And the evening I spent making this adorable skirt, using up the last of a favourite floral cotton (also seen on this dress) and from a pattern I have been meaning to try out for a while.  I shortened it dramatically, mainly due to a shortage of fabric, but I love how it turned out, and I will most definitely be making many more.

Overall, a very satisfying day.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

this evening...

I am indulging in a little fairisle...

...and getting excited about True Blood Season 4!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Chunky Cabled ~left/right~ Socks - knitting pattern

Second pair of socks officially finished and improvised pattern documented.  Now I'll admit that I can often get ahead of myself and dive in at the deep end when it comes to doing something my way before truly understanding it by having done it the professionals' way enough times... Like the time I decided to get stuck right into my first quilt after barely even flicking through a quilting book, or like the time I first tried ribbing (on Day 1 of teaching myself to knit), without actually having read the part saying that you need to move the yarn to the front of your work before purling...  So naturally, after having followed a pattern for my first pair of socks, I had to wing it for my second pair.  And this time I'm very happy with the result.  So here it is:

Chunky Cabled ~left/right~ Socks Pattern

NB: This pattern is slightly different for the left and right feet so they are a mirror of each other when worn.  Please start with the left foot and make sure to follow the right foot instructions for the second sock!

Size:  Adult - one size fits most - pattern indicates where length of foot can be lengthened or shortened.


  • set of 4 5.5mm DPNs (Double Pointed Needles)
  • Cable needle (or your 5th DPN)
  • 4x 50g RYC Cashsoft Chunky (sadly has now been discontinued but a good substitute would be Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky)
  • Yarn needle to sew in tails

k - knit
p - purl
st(s) - stitch(es)
rnd - round
rep - repeat
N - needle
sl - slip (purlwise)
cont - continue
psso - pass slipped stitch over knitted stitch
k2tog - knit 2 together
p2tog - purl 2 together
C6F - cable 6 forward: slip 3 stitches purlwise onto cable needle at front of work, knit next 3 stitches from left hand needle, knit 3 stitches from cable needle.
C6B - cable 6 back: slip 3 stitches purlwise onto cable needle at back of work, knit next 3 stitches from left hand needle, knit 3 stitches from cable needle.

Cast on 40 sts.
Arrange on your 3 needles as follows - N1 & N2: 13 sts, N3: 14 sts.
Join to work in the round being careful not to twist your stitches.

rnds 1 - 10: k2, p2 ribbing [right foot: p2, k2 ribbing].
rnds 11 - 14 (laying foundation for cable & rib pattern): (k6, p2, k2, p2) twice, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2 [right foot: p2, (k6, p2, k2, p2) 3 times, k2].
rnd 15: (C6F, p2, k2, p2) twice, k2, p2, C6F, p2, k2, p2 [right foot: p2, (C6B, p2, k2, p2) 3 times, k2.
Continue this pattern, cabling every 6th round, for 25 rounds in total (you will now have 35 rounds altogether, including the 10 rounds of rib).

Heel Flap
Knit across N1 (in pattern), plus 7 sts from N2, so you have 20 sts. Turn.
next row: sl 1, purl to end of the end of the row.
next row: *sl 1, k1 rep from * to end of the row.
Rep these last 2 rows for 20 rows total.  Now you will begin turning the heel.
row 1 (with purl side facing you): p13, p2tog, p1, turn.
row 2: sl 1, k7, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, turn.
row 3: sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn.
row 4: sl 1, k9, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, turn.
row 5: sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.
row 6: sl 1, k11, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, turn.
You will now have 14 sts on your needle.
Going back to work in the round, you now need to pick up the 10 slipped sts on either edge of the heel.
With right side facing you, pick up and knit the 10 slipped sts along heel edge.  Now with your free needle, you will knit the 20 sts that make up the front of the sock that have been waiting while you knit the heel.  You need to resume the cable & rib pattern, eliminating the last set [right foot: first set] of purls along this row by knitting them. This row will go like this:
k2, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k4 [right foot: k4, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k2].
Then (again with frees needle) pick up and knit the other set of 10 slipped sts along heel edge, and a further 7 sts from the next needle.  This brings you back to the beginning of your rounds.

You should now have - N1: 17 sts, N2: 20 sts, N3: 17 sts.  Your cable & rib pattern will be continuing down N2 only.

You will now be decreasing every other round on needles 1 & 3 only to bring you back to your original 40 sts as follows:
rnd 1: N1 - knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.  N2 - cont in pattern.  N3 - k1, sl 1, k1, psso, k to end of N.
rnd 2: N1 - knit.  N2 - cont in pattern.  N3 - knit.
Rep last 2 rnds until 10 sts remain on needles 1 & 3 (40 sts total).

Continue knitting around as normal for a further 25 rounds.  At this point you can make the sock bigger or smaller depending on the finished size desired by knitting more or fewer rounds.  The toe decreases measure just over 2 inches, so be sure to stop knitting when the sock is 2 inches shorter than your foot.

Toe Shaping ~ Left Foot
rnd 1: N1 - k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.  N2 - k1, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k2, p2, C6F (last cable), p2, k1, k2tog, k1. N3 - k1, sl 1, k1, psso, k to end of needle.
rnd 2: N1 - knit.  N2 - k2, p1, k2, p2, k6, p2, k3.  N3 - knit.
rnd 3: N1 - as rnd 1.  N2 - k1, sl 1, k1, psso, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2tog, k1.  N3 - as rnd 1.
rnd 4: N1 - knit.  N2 - k4, p2, k6, p2, k2.  N3 - knit.
rnd 5: N1 - as rnd 1.  N2 - k1 sl 1, k1, psso, k1, p2, k6, p1, k2tog, k1.  N3 - as rnd 1.
rnd 6: N1 - knit.  N2 - k3, p2, k6, p1, k2.  N3 - knit.
rnd 7: N1 - as rnd 1.  N2 - k1, sl 1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.  N3 - as rnd 1.
rnd 8: knit.
rnd 9: N1 - as rnd 1.  N2 - as rnd 7.  N3 - as rnd 1.
rnd 10: knit.
Now you will have 20 sts in total as follows, 5 sts each on needles 1 & 3 and 10 sts on needle 2.  Now knit the 5 sts from N1 onto N3 and close toe seam with the Kitchener Stitch.

Toe Shaping ~ Right Foot
Following the same instructions for needles 1 & 3 as for the left foot, the following instructions are for needle 2 only.
rnd 1: k1, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, p2, C6B (last cable), p2, k2, p1, k2tog, k1.
rnd 2: k3, p2, k6, p2, k2, p1, k2.
rnd 3: k1, sl 1, k1, psso, p2, k6, p2, k2, k2tog, k1.
rnd 4: k2, p2, k6, p2, k4.
rnd 5: k1, sl 1, k1, psso, p1, k6, p2, k1, k2tog, k1.
rnd 6: k2, p1, k6, p2, k3.
rnd 7: k1, sl 1, k1, psso, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
rnd 8: knit.
rnd 9: as rnd 7.
rnd 10: knit.
Knit the 5 sts from N1 onto N3 and close toe seam with the Kitchener Stitch.

Sew in tails with your yarn needle and all done!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Sweet Cherry Pie

My fingers are by no means green.  I can't even keep a pot of basil alive.  But I love my Cherry Tree.  I really love it, and I think that's why it has not only survived since I planted it last Spring, but has really bloomed.

Sweet Cherry Pie ~ dairy free

For the Pastry:
250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
110g dairy free spread
50ml cold water

Combine the flour, sugar and spread until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the water and using a butter knife bring it all together until you get a golden dough.
At this point, I judge by eye whether or not the dough is too sticky and therefore needs a little more flour, or too dry and therefore needs a little more water.
Wrap your dough (not too sticky, not too dry) in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

For the Filling:
275g cherries, cut in half and stoned
2 bananas, chopped
3 tbsp caster sugar
100ml water

Combine all ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil.
Cover with a lid, turn the heat down and simmer for about 15-20 mins, or until the bananas have gone gloopy.
Leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Break off about a third of the pastry and put to one side.
Roll out your 2/3 of pastry and use it to line an ovenproof dish, pricking the bottom a few times with a fork.
Bake for 15 mins.  Meanwhile, roll out the remaining third of pastry - this is the pie's lid, so feel free to decorate as you wish, just be sure to include a few pricks in the decoration to allow air to circulate while it bakes.
Fill the pastry-lined dish with the cherry and banana filling, and carefully put the lid over the top, gently sealing the edges.
Bake for a further 20 mins.
Allow the pie to cool a little before serving with vanilla ice-cream/custard/clotted cream...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Lacy Crochet Tea-Light Jars

Like most people, I keep empty glass jars.  Never really sure what for exactly; I don't make jam (although maybe I should), or chutney, so now I am faced with a big box overflowing with empty glass jars.  At least half without matching lids.  Definitely no use for jam/chutney making.  So instead, I have been crocheting lace covers for these lidless jars, popping a little tea light inside, and the result is quite pretty.  Especially if you make a set in varying heights and hues.

Very easy to make: using cotton DK yarn and a 2.5mm crochet hook, make a flat circle just a little smaller than the base of your jar.  Find a lace pattern you like and adapt it to work in the round, continuing until the jar fits nicely inside.  For the last round, simply chain, joining with a dc (double crochet - single crochet for US stitchers) at regular intervals along the round, and keeping it tighter (ie. fewer stitches) than the main body of the cover so as to grip the neck of the jar.  Break off yarn, sew in tails, ease the jar into the cover and you're done.

Monday, 6 June 2011

this evening...

...I am finally getting around to hanging some embroidery hoops in my studio, inspired by the swatch portraits at Purl Soho in New York.  

I love how personal this project can be; instead of simply hanging a collection of pretty fabrics, all of these have sentimental value to me.  Either embroideries I have done, old family curtains, scraps from past projects.  And most of these fabrics can be found elsewhere throughout my house... on the sofa, in my wardrobe, on my son's bed, even on the walls.  There's more in the waiting, just need to find some more hoops!

...and having a major Elvis revival

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Socks, Sandwiches & Scandinavia

1st pair of socks! great starting point pattern here

Being a shoe designer, I naturally have a keen interest in socks.  And tights.  And stockings.  I am Tabio's Number 1 Fan.  But I have always been slightly put off by the idea of hand knitted socks.  And I've never understood why so many millions of knitters become so obsessed with knitting socks.  Why socks more than anything else?  Why not mittens?  Or hot-water-bottle covers?  Willy-warmers even?  It's always seemed like it would be so tedious to knit two identical things on such tiny needles, and in that "self-striping" yarn, which, if I'm honest, to me looks naff and messy.  However.  Regardless of this snobbery I seem to have against knitted socks, I've kind of always wanted to give it a go...

As soon as I cast on for my first pair, it all began to make sense.  Socks... of course... Small and satisfying to make... Can be worn all year round... Can be elaborated with infinite combinations of cables and fairisle designs...Very high on the list of most thoughtful gifts... And actually I'm finding it to be a very humbling experience as I think about all the women who would knit socks for their family year in year out, keeping them warm throughout harsh winters.

For now, I'm sticking to chunky socks.  And I'm getting quite a clear 70s Scandinavian vibe too.  Crisp Norwegian summers in floaty, floral dresses, chunky off-white socks and wooden clog-esque sandals (like these Swedish Hasbeens I'm coveting right now); pulling on a pair of oversized nautical cabled socks as it starts getting chilly on the Fjord; cosy log cabin evenings warming fairisled feet by the fire.

detail of my 2nd pair of socks, this time an improvised cabled design. 
getting inspired by this wonderful book.
inspiration for 3rd pair of socks

This is just the beginning.  I feel like I'm onto a new obsession-within-an-obsession here.  More socks to make, more patterns to come.  But one thing is for sure: no self-striping sock yarn in colours like "olive" or "mustard" for me!

A quick word about Sandwiches
I don't bake bread as often as I would like, but today I had a major craving.  Without realising the connection with my Scandinavian Socks, I made a loaf of Rye Bread from this recipe from The Guardian online (the only changes I made were halving the quantities to make a smaller loaf, and using wholemeal as opposed to white flour).  Now I'm wishing I had some salt beef... But left-over roast chicken, mayonnaise and sliced tomatoes will do nicely.

sneaky little fingers

Friday, 3 June 2011

Walkaway Dress vs. 60s Full Skirt Dress

Having gone a bit sock mad this week - more about that later - and at a temporary standstill due to lack of yarn for my Cavalier, I decided to spend this beautiful day working with something a little more summery than chunky woolly yarn.  So I pulled out my box of vintage patterns, had a little rummage, and settled on Butterick's 1956 Walkaway Dress.  

The perfect project for a day like today, this dress is so quick and simple to make that you can really get through it leisurely, stopping for coffee breaks in the garden... marvelling at the first crop of cherries on the little tree... planning other projects... and still have a great dress to show for it in less than a day.  I wanted to show off this beautiful ribbon trim I've been saving for a few years so I used a very simple off-white muslin for the main body of the dress.  I also reduced the volume of the skirt making it less flouncy, and I hemmed the edges as opposed to bias binding (bias binding gets on my nerves...).  

This isn't the first time I've made the Walkaway Dress, and I am always amazed at how different the same dress can be just by changing the fabric - see Walkaway Dress version 1 below, which I made for my 25th birthday using a pale pink Shantung silk, with a very subtle arabesque print and bound with a black scalloped trim.

Walkaway Dress version 1.

Being such a lovely day, I asked my lovely neighbour-model-babysitter Jess to come over so I could photograph a couple of my dresses on her, which brings me nicely to something I'm very excited about...

When I was at school (not even 10 years ago), Proms were the stuff of American high-school movies.  No such fun for us Brit-teens.  We all felt very deprived.  But now, it seems, (10 years too late - spoken through teeth gritted with envy), the Brit Prom has caught on.  Obviously the best part about Prom is the finding of the perfect dress, so you can imagine how excited and flattered I am that Jess has asked me to make her Prom Dress!!!  After discussing what she wanted and looking through my patterns, she was torn between the Walkaway Dress and the 60s dress I made last Monday, but after trying on versions of the two dresses I've already made, we're almost decided... Fabric shopping on Friday!

Up to the minute Prom Dress (PD) updates to continue throughout June...

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