Category Archives: Deer and Doe

Autumn uniform ii: Mountain-Plantain

Plantain + Cardigan

Like my Coco-Sandra, this outfit is another one I’ll be wearing all autumn. I wasn’t going to blog the dress since it’s pretty darn basic, but I snapped some photos of this outfit in the morning when I wore it because I happened to have made the cardigan too. I love a 100% me-made day!

Plantain dress

The dress is a Deer & Doe Plantain tee ‘hack’, which you can find Anna’s tutorial for here. It’s made from one of Leah Duncan’s newest collection for Art Gallery, which I got from M is for Make (though it’s nearly sold out – Finch Sewing Studio have it for a good price too). I was interested to see what the quality is like of the Art Gallery knits, and overall I’m pretty happy with it. I’d call it a light-medium weight, but it’s stable and easy to stitch. It’s got plenty of 4-way stretch and good recovery. Ideal for a tee or babydoll dress really, and I reckon it’d make some pretty comfy leggings too. I’ve washed it a few times already and it seems to be holding up well.

Plantain dress

This was a no-brainer sew – all overlocked and the hem straight stitched since it doesn’t need to stretch. I should really have tried harder with lining up the print because the waistline is a bit skewiff and the mountains are upside down on the skirt and sleeves, ooops. It’s kind of a secret pyjama dress – sooo comfortable – which is why it’s shot to the top of my most-worn list despite the wobbly bits. Must make more!

Cardigan

I made the cardigan pattern myself by tracing off a very beloved Madewell knit that I bought last winter. It was really simple to trace and sew – I made the entire thing from pattern to finishing in an evening. The fabric is a cable textured double-layered knit from Minerva. It’s only £3.99/m and is really snuggly since there are actually two layers of knit bonded together.

Cardigan

It’s got a raglan sleeve construction with the hem and neck bands sewn on afterwards. I topstitched down the overlocking around the neckband to encourage it to stay flipped outwards. I put buttons on for that genuine knitted cardigan effect but didn’t bother with buttonholes since I’ll never wear it closed, ha.

Plantain + Cardigan

Unfortunately it turned out just a little bit too small all over, mostly because I didn’t allow for the fabric I chose having much less stretch than the original cardigan. Next time I’ll just add an inch or so all over and perhaps choose a looser fabric. It’s finally actually starting to feel cold here in London so I think Project Coat will be my next big project.

September Blue Centaurée

Centauree dress

I snuck in another super-sunshiney Centaurée while we’re having a last hurrah of summer here in London! This version uses quilting cotton from the September Blue range by Dashwood Studio, available at M is For Make. David of Dashwood (who incidentally is a client of mine in the day job – I designed the Dashwood logo and website) kindly sent me the fabric to introduce this new range, which excitingly for dressmakers also includes two designs in lighter dress-weight cotton lawn. I like to think this was partly my doing as I’ve been nudging him to go into dress fabrics! I used the regular quilting weight for this dress as I knew Centaurée worked in a heavier fabric and I fancied this mustard yellow ditsy print.

Centauree dress

This time I decided to try piping the upper bodice seams. I only had rather thick cording to hand so it looks a bit too chunky and I didn’t quite get the middle lined up perfectly, but I like the effect anyway. I used the same grey bias for the edging and straps, which I think makes the bright yellow a bit more graphic and wearable.

Centauree dress

Weirdly I have a some diagonal wrinkling across the lower torso on this version, almost like it’s too baggy round the ribs. It could be that I didn’t line up the bodice and lining quite perfectly so it’s tugging a bit. I fully lined the bodice in the regular way this time, by making a copy of the exterior in a lightweight cotton and basting them RS together. I gathered the skirt like I usually do, with thin elastic which then stays in the dress and acts as a kind of waist stay.

Centauree dress

Finally, the instructions have you sew the binding right over the top of the zip, connecting the front and back at the top, but for this version I stopped and restarted the binding as I find it a bit tricky to get in and out of my other Centaurée!

I guess this will get tucked away for the cold weather soon, but I’ve just booked a holiday to Mexico next month so it may well see an outing then. I’m dead keen to try drafting a Centaurée-style panelled bodice but with sleeves too… watch this space.

Fabric for this make supplied by Dashwood Studio.

Crazy diamonds Centaurée

Deer & Doe Centaurée

You know when you make a quick toile from whatever nutty fabric you have lying around and end up loving it just as it is? I think this is one of my favourite makes EVER and it was just meant to be a practice!

Deer & Doe Centaurée

As I’m sure you can tell by that unique bodice, this is the Centaurée, the newest pattern from Deer & Doe. I couldn’t resist it after seeing so many pretty ones popping up after the sewalong. So many opportunities for fun print placement and colour blocking – some things I’ve been really keen to explore more.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

With such an unusual bodice, making a toile is a must. For mine I used some crazy large-scale jewel-printed fabric that I’ve had hanging around for ages. It was from Ikea many moons ago but I couldn’t convince Josh to let me use it for curtains (can’t imagine why). Its home-decor weight and rough canvas texture means it’s definitely not a dressmaking fabric, but you know what: I really love the effect of it on the Centaurée! The fractured print across the seams looks really cool and I think the stiffer fabric gives it some nice structure. I used ‘proper’ construction and finishing techniques rather than just basting it all together, so it’s definitely a wearable toile.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

Plus I was surprised to find that the toile fitted me nearly perfectly straight off the bat! D&D apparently design for my exact body shape and bust size which is good to know. It was just a bit too big all round so I sewed the side seams with a larger seam allowance and shaved about 1.5cm off the bodice back. Next time I may just size one down all over as I still have a little bit of wrinkling at the sides.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

I decided to criss-cross my straps over in the back to complement the front seams, and I’ve stitched down across the intersections to make them stay in place. Love how this turned out.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

The construction is fascinating and clever, with the upper diagonal seams curved to give the bust some space rather like a princess seam (the sewalong has some tips on how to adjust for a bigger or smaller bust). Yet it’s very quick to make up and not difficult – you just want to take a bit of time to make sure the star-shaped front seams all match up nicely and to stitch the bias binding trim accurately.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

Talking of binding, the instructions have a brilliant foolproof technique for getting a nice mitred point at the centre front – if this sloppy sewist can get it that neat, anyone can! I love how the straps are a continuation of the binding, so very easy to sew and adjust the length to suit.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

Lining is not included as part of the instructions, but I lined my bodice with my favourite stretch mesh. The stretch means I didn’t bother piecing it: I just pinned the constructed outer bodice directly onto my mesh and cut around it. If I was using a woven for the lining I’d make a direct copy of the outer and baste them together. I think I would always line the bodice because the seams wouldn’t feel that nice against the skin.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

It closes with a side zip – not my neatest, and i only had a regular zip to hand instead of the recommended invisible, but it does the job.

Deer & Doe Centaurée

Gratuitous cat cuddle photo, dawww. Now that I know the Centaurée fit is a winner, I can see me churning out a good few of these for summer. The next one will definitely use my Graham Coxon Liberty print, probably with a contrast panel or two of matching grey crepe so it’s not pale all over. I’ve been photoshopping to get an idea of how I could block it and can’t decide which I like best – what do you think?

centauree

TFL Tatty Devine
TFL Tatty Devine
TFL Tatty Devine

I had a lovely day in my Centauree in sunny London today. First I took a necklace making workshop with Tatty Devine on board a vintage London bus. As you do! I think my necklace colours were subliminally inspired by my dress. It will look great with a grey tee, as well. (Thanks to fellow attendee Karen for this photo.)

TFL Tatty Devine

The whole of Regent Street was taken over with vintage and new buses to celebrate TFL’s Year of the Bus. There was even a bus stop entirely made of Lego. So cool.

Mexican textiles at the Fashion museum
Mexican textiles at the Fashion museum
Mexican textiles at the Fashion museum

Then I met Kathryn and Julia at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey to look at the current show of Mexican textiles, which focuses on the ‘rebozo’, a traditional Mexican woven shawl. It was great – colourful and inspiring. I hope to visit Mexico later this year so fingers crossed for more international fabric shopping :)

Operation stashbust part 2

I’m still going with my stashbusting mission: here are a few other recent makes using leftovers and stashed fabrics.

Sewing
Sewing

A raglan tee using up the final tiny piece of jersey left from my feather tunic. I wanted to use every last scrap of this fabric as it’s sooo delicious. The print runs the opposite way to my dress, which I think is actually the correct way as the knit ridges run vertically this way. I didn’t have enough left for the whole top so made up the back with part of a dipped-hem knit skirt that I didn’t like any more (I could even re-use the hem, score), so it was a very thrifty project.

Sewing
Sewing

A super basic ballet dress. I started this ages ago and was dithering on finishing it because I thought it would be a pain to hem. In the end it was fine and I’m glad to have it done. The fabric is a semi-sheer crepe knit from myfabrics which I underlined with white jersey so it’s nice and snuggly. In retrospect I think it would have made a nicer top, but it’s still a cute dress.

Sewing
Sewing

Another crossover-front Scout like my silk one (still probably my most worn make) made in a gauzy voile type woven from Goldhawk Road.

Sewing

A Deer & Doe Plantain tee using some stripy jersey from Goldhawk Road. I can see why this free pattern has been such a hit: it’s so quick to put together and the fit is super great. Plus I fitted this 3/4 sleeve version onto just 1m of fabric. (Have you seen the finalists in the Deer & Doe Plantain contest by the way? So much amazing.)

Sewing

I lacked any contrasting fabric so did the elbow patches on the stripes’ cross-grain, sewn on with a zigzag stitch and walking foot after sticking in place with a glue pen.

Sewing

I tried a new technique for finishing the cuffs and bottom hem: a flatlock seam done completely on the overlocker. Props to Meg for the idea to try this, and this video for a walkthrough of the general technique. Basically you reduce the top needle tension to zero and increase both lower loopers to 8, then sew as you would a blind hem – pressed up once then folded back on itself. Then when you gently tug the seam it falls flat and open with the wide, loose stitch visible from the outside and neat overlocking on the inside. My first attempt is a bit wobbly: in retrospect it would have been much easier to do the hems in the flat before seaming and it was tricky to do the slightly curved hem of the Plantain. But it feels like a really hardwearing and fully stretch-proof hemming method so I’ll definitely give it another go sometime. Anything to avoid the hassle of changing machines all the time tbh.

Sewing

Finally, I had enough jersey scraps left to make matching undies! The perfect scrap-busting project since such a tiny amount of fabric is needed. I used Indigo Orchid’s brilliant free pattern/tutorial and some stretch lace trim bought on eBay. The trim is too wide and these actually turned out too small for me, but they were fun to make so I’ll definitely try again. I just need to take another tip from Meg and make some bras and I might have a truly 100% me-made outfit, eh?

I joke, but the brilliant upshot of all these rather boring stashbust/wardrobe-filler projects is it’s a pretty rare day now that I don’t wear something handmade, which is a great feeling. I am craving some meatier projects next, though: I’ve just had a fresh delivery of delicious new fabrics as a reward for my stashbusting efforts, and I think February will be all about jeans and trousers.

Paint by numbers Belladone

Belladone dress

Ah. Yes. It’s another summery print dress. So much for autumn-minded resolutions. But this fabric was calling to me and I was loath to resist!

Belladone dress

Aha, the giveaway back… yes, it’s a Belladone! I thought of this pattern immediately when I clapped eyes on this amazing Moda fabric – both are are a little kitsch and unexpected so I thought they’d be a fun match. Plus using stag print for a Deer & Doe pattern is a delightful coincidence, non? I bought the pattern, fabric and notions at lovely Ray Stitch – thank you Michelle for your help in the all-important fabric, zip, and bias tape selections.

Belladone dress

I suspected I’d be doing a bit of adjustment to make this pattern work for my body, and that was indeed the case. I ditched the waistband, shortened the bodice and skirt by about an inch, and gathered rather than pleated the front skirt. It just felt a bit more ‘me’ this way, and it was the right call as the result is super comfortable to wear.

Belladone dress

The back needed a bit of work too to reduce gaping around the cut-out: I elongated the darts almost to the top and tapered in the centre seam at the top. I could almost wriggle into the dress without the zip (the fabric has more give than other craft cottons), but added it anyway so I didn’t put stress on the seams. I did a machine blind hem instead of facing the bottom hem – first time trying that and it worked well, thanks in part to this tutorial.

Belladone dress
Belladone dress

I took a little more care over my technique than usual. I bought extra fabric and tried to place the pattern thoughtfully, although it was tricky with such a large repeat so there is the odd disembodied stag head floating around. I haven’t done bias bindings since my very first dress so it was good to revisit that skill. I bound the pocket edgings too to bring them out a little more, although they ended up pretty small due to my fit-fiddling. Next time I will probably bind the back openings too for a really polished finish.

Belladone dress
Belladone dress

I found the sewing process really fun. It was nice to sew a woven again after doing a lot with knits recently, and though I was nervous about using a craft cotton for a garment it worked out great in this instance. The Deer & Doe instructions are brilliant with just the right level of detail. My sister has already requested her own Belladone now, so I’m sure I’ll be giving this lovely pattern another whirl soon.