This dress! It’s what gave me the courage to dive into sewing, after dipping my toe in. Back when the Bee was just three years old, I came across the Geranium Dress pattern (Made By Rae). It was the first PDF sewing pattern I ever tried, and it turned out to be a good choice. With lovely photographs and clear instructions – and even some friendly advice from Rae herself when I got stuck with the printing – I was eased into the wonderful world of dress-making. For my first ever dress, I went with the faux cap sleeves and pleated skirt options. Not perfectly pattern-matched, but at the time I was delighted that the central white band lined up at all! As the polycotton I’d chosen was a little see-through, I ended up lining the skirt as well as the bodice, but otherwise, I followed the instructions faithfully and was rewarded with the miniature triumph that is making your first dress. And I have been a *huge* fan of this pattern ever since: to date I’ve made five, and I’m just cutting out my sixth… And these buttons! Whimsically random, no? Now add them to a toddler’s nursery dress and POW! Cuteness overload! But let’s backtrack a minute. The photographs above are of the Smidge, who – incredibly – will be going to nursery in September. She honestly can’t wait to get there, and I’m sure she thinks school corridors are paved with gold. It was originally the Bee’s summer uniform, but life was moving too fast at the time and we have very few photos of her in it. For the sake of an authentic record, this is best I have: (Awww – teeny school socks!) The following year she’d grown out of it, so out came a few more buttons for summer uniform dress number two. Umbrellas? Why not! (Uh-oh, check out those lopsided pigtails!) I used the Geranium Dress pattern again, but this time opted for the cut-out neckline and gathered skirt, and added a thin satin ribbon around the waist. Wanting a change but not fancying the frayed-look flutter sleeves, I followed some (now forgotten, sorry!) web instructions on drafting your own cap sleeves. At the last minute, I added an inverted box-pleat to the centre of them, and think the result is rather nice. Unfortunately I made the bodice with very little growing room, and didn’t get round to photographing it until the Bee had pretty much grown out of it. Poor child, it’s not very flattering anymore… Time for another one, perhaps? The things you do for your mother’s blog!