I don't do sweet, and I don't do cute. For decades I've been cultivating a personal style that aspires to be straight-forward, simple, clear, unfrilled. At least, this is what I'd like to think. But reluctantly, I've had to recognise that there are significant exceptions to this personal style rule. Something overcomes me when confronted with little girls - particularly those who are too young to assert their own choices.
When my now adult daughter was very small, I made clothes for her - frequently they were yoked pinafores or dresses made from combinations of Liberty or Laura Ashley prints that were worn over t-shirts or jumpers as the weather dictated. I was so captivated by these Victorian-influenced images of little girls that I did this despite my intense dislike for sewing.
Thirty years later, I seem to be caught up again by the same fantasy. This is what I've made for the dotee (my grand-daughter) for Christmas.
A yoke, frills and tiny floral print fabric. A realisation of all the elements of the Victorian fantasy.
It's the Jane Austen dress from Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's latest book, Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. It's knitted from Heirloom 4ply cotton, and the fabric is a Liberty Tana lawn.
I'm also making the little shrug that the Mason-Dixon women have designed to accompany this dress. It's in a deeper hyacinth blue. More on that soon.
Maybe grand-mothers can be excused their obsession with Victorian images, yokes and frills? Even though I don't usually do sweet, I've decided I'm just going to indulge myself until the dotee is old enough to object - I know from experience that this will happen only too soon.