Garments and gifts: little girl’s shirred summer dress

This is a really easy and gorgeous summer dress that is available as a free pattern from

Note: the instructions didn’t come with any measurements but by reading the comments section of the website you will be directed to the sizing guide below:

Girls twirl dress measurements birth to 4 yrs Girls twirl dress 5 to 10 yrs IMG_5158 IMG_5159

I chose a fresh pink polka dot print for my eight year old niece. I took her measurements beforehand and cut out the fabric according to the online instructions and the sizing guide.

The dress is made up of six oblong fabric pieces: two straps; top and bottom front panels; top and bottom back panels. The two top pieces require shirring which is relatively straight forward so long as you wind the shirring elastic nice and tight around the bobbin (but not too tight!).The dress is secured at the back through a ribbon loop and a tied bow.

If you would like to make the dress yourself in a fun and inspiring workshop we will be covering it in our Garments and Gifts workshops at Le Manoir Saint Gervais. SCH.

Here is the finished garment – it took around a day to complete. SCH.

IMG_5296 IMG_5294 IMG_5295 IMG_5297

Elderflower cordial – it must be summer!

During the May half term, with the help of some little hands, it was time to make elderflower cordial. The recipe was from a 2010 article by Tom Parker Bowles.

We picked 30 elderflower heads and placed them in a clean bucket with almost a kilo of granulated sugar, boiling water, six lemons and a packet of citric acid. Over the next 24 hours, every time the children passed the bucket they would stir it. Once the sugar had dissolved we strained it through fresh muslin into sterilised Kilner glass bottles with flip top lids. With the addition of citric acid these should now last for a year.

For a tasty, refreshing drink I recommend mixing the cordial with ice cold sparkling water. It’s simply summer in a bottle. SCH.