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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.)
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.
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 :)