Category Archives: Deer and Doe

Safran jeans

Deer and Doe Safran 2

Allo! I’ve been on the jeansmaking train again – it’s never too long between denim sessions chez Katie. This time it was external forces guiding me, because Deer and Doe sent over a pre-release of their new Safran jeans and pants sewing pattern to road-test and review. I’ve tried a lot of skinny jeans patterns by this point – Burdas, Style Arcs, Closet Case Files – so how do Safran stack up?

Deer and Doe Safran 4

The main difference is that the Safrans are lower on traditional jeans-style details and instead tread the line towards more classic skinny trousers. Depending on fabric type you could make quite smart minimal cigarette pants in, say, a black sateen, or go ahead with denim and add plenty of topstitching for more of a jeans look. I went down the middle, using a crisp mid-blue denim but without much extra detailing.


The pattern comes with two views – A has belt loops, back pockets, a full length leg and instructions for topstitch detailing; B leaves off those details and has a just-above-ankle length. I used mostly view A with the length of view B, however I left the hems raw and staggered them slightly so the back is a bit longer. It’s a look I’ve seen in RTW that I like a lot – and hey, no hemming – bonus!

Deer and Doe Safran 11

A few things of note while I sewed up the pattern:

Deer and Doe Safran 1

Fabric: You’ll definitely want to heed the fabric recommendations and look for something with 20%+ stretch, because there’s plenty of negative ease factored into the hip measurement. I made a toile in lower stretch denim and while I could just about zip them up, I couldn’t move very far! My final denim is medium weight with about 20% stretch, from Woolcrest Textiles.

Deer and Doe Safran 3

Sizing: I’m a 38/40 in D&D dresses and cut 40 at the waist, 42 at the hip and 38 in the lower leg. The seam allowances are a generous 5/8″ so you have some fitting wiggle room; I always baste jeans up and try them on before before final sewing as each different denim means the fit will vary a little. I could also probably take a look at a few adjustments around the crotch and knees to fix some of those wrinkles. But I really like them proportionally – the rise length is great and there’s a nice curvy waistband that stays put on the low natural waist and doesn’t gape, despite there being no back yoke or darts.

Deer and Doe Safran 9

Pockets: The welted slash pockets are a nice detail that are interesting/challenging to sew and actually functionally easier to use than traditional curved jeans pockets. I’d recommend using a pocket lining fabric either with a similar stretch factor to your main fabric, or cutting your pocket lining pieces on the bias so they have some natural give. Using nonstretch cotton for lining can sometimes lead to weird distortion and drag marks, especially if you’re generous of hip like me.

Deer and Doe Safran 10

Fly: The included fly instructions are different to those I’ve seen before. I tried to follow them on my toile and didn’t like the result much – the zip was only just covered by the overlap – so I deferred back to my favourite Sandra Betzina method. Overall the instructions are clear and detailed but not too hand-holdy, which works for me.

Deer and Doe Safran 5

There’s lots more details and other tester versions of the Safran pattern on the Deer & Doe blog and they’re planning a series of tutorials and tips. From my point of view, if you like the adaptability of the style go to from jeans to pants, it’s a really nice versatile pattern. Just be sure to get streeeetchy fabric!

Une chemise très française

Deer & Doe Melilot shirt

Since making the By Hand Sarah and discovering that button-down shirts do in fact have a place in my wardrobe, I’ve bought up a couple more shirt patterns for a bit of variety. This here is the Deer and Doe Melilot, from their latest collection, Botany.


I wanted to try this one in particular because it’s kimono-sleeved which I find more comfortable and casual than set-in sleeves, and it’s got a traditional stand collar which means it can be worn fully buttoned or at half-mast.

Deer & Doe Melilot shirt

I made View B but with the collar from View A. From looking at the final garment measurements, I cut a size 44 because I like my shirts on the oversized side and it’s designed to be more fitted. I also added an inch more flare at the hemline on both front and back to make extra sure it’d fit my hips. The fit is nice and comfortable but next time I think I will bring it in at the bust as there’s a bit of excess fabric bunching under the arms.

Deer & Doe Melilot shirt

I love the exaggerated dipped-hem look of the pattern but it stuck out in a weird flappy fashion over my bum, so I took up the hemline by about an inch on the front and 2 inches on the back. In doing this I also smoothed off the curviness of the hemline, making it easier to sew. You’d definitely struggle to do a turned hem, even a narrow one as suggested in the instructions, so next time I will probably use bias binding to finish the hem instead. Otherwise the instructions are good and it’s all finished with French seams and clean finishes, with no overlocking in sight.

Deer & Doe Melilot shirt

It’s a double French blouse because as well as using the D&D pattern, the fabric is from Atelier Brunette and bought on my recent trip to Paris. It’s a very lightweight cotton voile called Lili, which was a mixed bag to work with – it pressed well but was shifty and slippy. One of those makes where the pattern and dark colour hide a bit of less than perfect stitchery, ha (although I promise the pockets ARE straight and aligned, it just droops a lot on the hanger!). As you can see the fabric creases a bit with wear, but as it’s a causal shirt I’m OK with it and it’s very soft and comfortable.

Deer & Doe Melilot shirt

The pretty pearly-peach buttons are from my stash, a perfect match for the seed-head pattern on the fabric. I put fake ones on the pockets to help them stand out a bit.

Deer & Doe Melilot shirt

This was fun to sew despite the slightly difficult fabric – a nice bank holiday weekend project. After making a couple of small fitting alterations I’ll definitely make another one in a solid colour, perhaps a grey sandwashed silk.

Simple does it

Plantain + Anima

This me-made outfit sort of represents where both my clothing preferences and sewing style is at the moment. Plain, basic, classic, capsule style stuff. Might seem boring on the surface, but I’m getting a kick out of sewing simple stuff well and adding really useful staple pieces into my wardrobe.

Plantain + Anima

The tee is a Deer & Doe Plantain, with some small modifications. I raised the neckline to crew/jewel style, cuffed the sleeve, and made a baseball-style curved hem. The fabric’s a lovely heathery knit from Abakhan which is sort of brushed on the underside so it’s really soft and cosy. TBH I find myself wearing this until it starts to smell bad then pulling it out of the wash to wear again immediately.

Plantain + Anima

The pants are hacked Papercut Animas. This pattern for me is one of those super-adaptable TNTs – I’ve made four pairs in different fabrics and they all look totally different. This one’s in a dreamy viscose-mix suiting I got from Brighton’s Fabricland and the simple alteration was to straighten out the leg at the knee rather than the tapered fit as patterned.

Plantain + Anima
Plantain + Anima

I was actually hoping for an even more exaggerated flare/culotte style leg, so I might take this hack a step further and slash-and-spread the pattern from the hip for a future pair. Here’s some of the inspo I found while dreaming these up. (Click through to the post if you’re in a reader, to see the Pinterest pins below.)

Plantain + Anima

I love this outfit: I feel really cool and comfortable in it, had fun sewing it, and I know both garments will get worn to death. I’ve been buying up lots of plain fabrics in nice luxe natural fibres lately to take this principle further.

Kaleido-Datura, and tips on machine-sewing buttons


In anticipation of springlike weather, I scooped up the Deer & Doe Datura pattern from Ray Stitch recently. It had been on my to-buy list for a while but seemed an extravagant price for a tank – but I was swayed by how well D&D patterns fit me and the snazzy triangle cutout neckline.


I used 1m of this lovely Liberty lawn from Shaukat, a digital collage print called Matt Maddison: the kaleidoscope triangle pattern seemed just too perfect a pairing with the Datura’s neckline. I toyed with the idea of blocking the yoke in black but decided to just insert a bit of flat piping into the seam instead.


The Datura is labelled as advanced and there are indeed a few techniques in there to make things satisfyingly challenging. The language and diagrams in the instruction book weren’t always super clear either – I got a bit confused when attaching the shoulders, but luckily found this sewalong tutorial which cleared things up. Attaching the bias along the neckline with the correct gaps between the triangles took a bit of trial and error too. Size-wise I cut a 38 at the top blended to 42 at the hip, and cut the hem length of the largest size.


I’m really happy with the fit and wouldn’t change anything, but something is still making me feel a bit unsure about the finished garment. I think it’s perhaps a bit too fussy in design for my day to day wear, and I also don’t find the shape very flattering on me – it seems to enhance pear proportions. We’ll see if it grows on me or languishes unworn once spring comes along.

Sew on buttons by machine

But how about a buttony bonus? I thought I would share how I sew on buttons by machine, in case anyone is doing this tedious chore by hand and wondering how I can sew so many without going crazy. You’ll need a button foot (I have this cheap generic one for my Janome) and some clear sticky tape. If you don’t have a button foot, you can remove the presser foot entirely and just use the ‘stump’ to hold the button in place, though it’s trickier.

Attaching buttons

1. Mark your button positions per the buttonholes.

Attaching buttons

2. Place the buttons and tape them down. You can tape each separately or use one long bit of tape.

Attaching buttons

3. Measure the distance between the holes of your button. Mine’s about 3mm here. (For four hole buttons you can either measure and sew the holes in pairs parallel to each other, or diagonally across from each other. Or a jaunty arrow!)

Attaching buttons

4. Set up your machine: go for a zig-zag stitch with the width set to the distance you measured between the holes and the length at the shortest your machine will go (mine’s 0.2mm). And best to set your machine’s speed to the slowest it will go, to negate needle-slamming-into-button situations (heed the voice of experience).

Attaching buttons

5. Fit the button foot to your machine. As you can see, it’s like a little clamp with a gap in the middle, which holds the button nicely in place for you.

Attaching buttons

6. Slide the button under, aligning centrally under the foot and making sure the holes are horizontally parallel. At this point I usually lower the needle manually to check it’s going to hit the left-hand hole in the right place, then go ahead and run the machine on slow speed. I go for about 5 or 6 passes of the zigzag between the holes. For 4-hole buttons you’ll then need to re-align to the second pair of holes. My machine has an auto locking stitch which anchors my stitches at the start and end, but if yours doesn’t you will probably want to leave a tail and secure by hand.

Attaching buttons

8. Pull off the tape and cut your thread tails (if you need to secure your ends, thread the tails onto a needle, bring to the wrong side and knot to secure.). Voila, fast and secure buttons – I’ve never had one fall off yet. Hope it was helpful!



Here’s the fruits of one sewist who’s VERY happy to have her working overlocker back. Going Konmari on my wardrobe left me with a very clear idea of what I needed to make immediately to fill some gaps, and luckily I had all the fabrics I needed to fulfil a lot of my needs. Not the most exciting garments to share, but definitely what I wear 90% of the time both for work and weekends. In fact these photos were taken each morning this week as I started wearing my new garments right away.

First up two of Grainline Studio’s free Hemlock, made in wintry sweater knits. The lurvely lofty rust-melange knit is from Tissu Fabrics and the navy slinky knit was a freebie from a studio sale in Shoreditch. Two new sweaters for £6.99 total, score!


The rust one is a very loose/lacy knit so I was worried about it unravelling at the seams. I sewed it all with a zigzag on my normal machine then trimmed and finished the edges with the overlocker afterwards, which seemed more secure than using just the overlocker for construction. The hems are folded up once then stitched right over the raw edge with a zig zag. There’s clear elastic in the shoulder seams to reinforce them too, so I hope all those things will make it last a while.


The navy one was much easier to deal with, just overlocked all over and I added cuff bands to make the sleeves full length (though still nearly always wear them rolled up). One thing about the Hemlock is I can’t seem to get the fit at the top quite right- it tends to slip off my shoulders and pull backwards a little. I tried reducing the width of the front and back neckline/shoulder on the rust one but it didn’t really seem to help. I’m thinking next time I’ll bring the shoulder forward slightly and also try adding a curve along the shoulder seam to try and anchor it in place. No worry though, I’m still going to wear the hell out of both of these.


This is a Deer & Doe Plantain (another freebie!) made from some lush tissue-weight knit from Cloth House. I didn’t notice the sparkle running through it until I got it home – it’s subtle in real life. The fit is right off the pattern, except I raised the neckline a bit and cut a mid-upper-arm length sleeve edged with a wide band. The perfect tee pattern in my books.

Zippy top

Ah, my other go-to tee, the Zippy top, for when I can’t even be bothered to set in a sleeve. I especially like it with an added slouchy pocket in a drapey knit, like this lovely rust-coloured crepe jersey I got from Goldhawk Road. Obsessed with this colour right now, though I need to wear a different coat to avoid being orange all over, ha.

Up next, replenishing the lower half side of my wardrobe, which basically means more Gingers. If I can tear myself away from the overlocker for a bit…

Weird Winter Centaurée

Winter Centaurée

This was a funny little experiment in pattern hacking/self-drafting. I’m not sure how I feel about the result – it’s a bit odd! Basically it’s a cold-weather-appropriate spin on the Deer & Doe Centaurée dress. I knew I wanted to try this hack as that bodice is simply too nice to only wear in summer (previous versions here & here). Fact fans: Centaurée is the much less pretty-sounding ‘knapweed’ in English – all D&D’s patterns are named after plants and flowers. I think this dress is definitely more knapweed, ha ha.

Winter Centaurée

It was a pretty straightforward hack to convert it from sundress to smock-ish dress. I traced off the Centaurée front bodice pieces and removed the seam allowances, then overlaid these onto my bodice block to see what kind of modifications I needed to make. I realised that the bodice’s top seams are basically a horizontal princess seam, with the darts rotated to the centre and side instead of up and down. Here’s briefly how I altered my block:


1. Rotate darts to the lower armsyce and centre front, using the Centauree pieces as a guide.
2. Snip through the rotation apex.
3. Round off the sharp corners.
4. Cut the bottom into a separate piece, using the Centaurée pieces as a guide. At the last minute I also cut the top piece diagonally to reflect the original neckline – 8 piece bodice, yo.
Then just re-add seam allowances and sew per the Centaurée. The back and sleeves are straight off my block.

Winter Centaurée

So I’m not sure what is making the dress feel a bit weird. I think it’s partly the fabric, which is a double-faced lightweight corduroy I bought from Miss Matatabi. It’s lovely fabric – I originally bought it for pants but changed my mind – but something about it with this dress is giving me a gothy/grungy vibe which isn’t very me. It was great to sew with though and I love that the dress looks lined thanks to the stripy backing, which I’ve also turned back on the cuffs.

Winter Centaurée

It also fits well, it’s nicely made and comfortable, so it’s not those things. Perhaps it’s the design itself and the Centaurée really doesn’t want to be a sleeved dress? Anyway it was fun to kind of reverse-engineer the pattern and figure out how to draft something like this, so I’m pleased I made it, and I have worn it despite my reservations. I may well have a go at a v2 sometime – I’m thinking a cheerier floral or chambray would be nice. What do you think – odd or cool?