Just as I was drawing up my autumn/winter sewing plans Deer and Doe released the Bruyere shirt pattern. I was really taken with the pictures, loved the longer length and fitted waist and so it was added to my already Deer and Doe heavy list. Fabric for the Bruyere was top of my shopping list when I went to the SewBrum meet up (along with the pattern which I managed to get at Gutherie and Ghani) I originally had a Chambray or Swiss Dot in mind but this blue floral cotton poplin was the first thing that jumped out at me at Barry’s fabrics. I bought two and a half metres after a quick google for the fabric requirements, it was only after that I realised I had misread in my excitement and the two and a half was for 60inch wide whereas my fabric was only 45inch (doh), undeterred I figured I could wing it and if it came to it could use a contrasting fabric for the inner workings.
I never used to wear shirts very often, I think the main problem with ready to wear was the length, particularly the sleeves which were at least four inches too long. Shirts often ended just a few inches above my knees giving the effect of junior school art classes where we brought in our Dad’s old shirts to wear as overalls. The beauty of sewing your own is having sleeves that fit, being able to wear them under a sweater and not having to roll them up all the time.
I knew I would have to shorten the sleeves and also take a fair bit off the ‘skirt’. Somewhere along the way I have got into the (very good) habit of measuring pattern pieces and working out how they compare to my own measurements. I usually have to shorten bodices by at least an inch but after checking the pattern pieces this didn’t seem necessary. I cut a size 42, grading out to a 44 across the bust and then back to a 42 for the waist and hips. I shortened the sleeves by four inches and took four inches off the length of the skirt.
I had to be a little creative with the cutting layout and just managed to fit it all on (part of this was due to me shortening the sleeves and skirt.) I very nearly made a major mistake with the bodice front, as I was cutting it in a single layer and forgot to flip the pattern piece, nearly ending up with two left fronts (I was watching Luther on Netflix at the time, lesson learned!)
The instructions are very succinct but easy to follow, everything is French Seamed to give a really neat finish. The pattern is classed as advanced but I think it is on a par with the Grainline Archer in terms of difficulty and would class it as an intermediate. Unlike the Archer the Bruyere doesn’t have a collar stand which makes things a little easier.
I really like the drafting of the Deer and Doe patterns I’ve tried so far; everything fits together perfectly. With a lot of other patterns I find things that don’t quite meet up; an extra few millimetres at the waistband or darts and pleats that don’t quite match and need a bit of tweaking. I had put this down to my sewing but maybe this could partially be due to drafting and grading problems. It was only after I had attached the bodice and skirt to the waistband that I realised I hadn’t checked if everything did line up, I was completely amazed to find that both front and back darts and pleats matched perfectly. The Bruyere went together so neatly and was a real pleasure to sew. The fit is also spot on, there’s just enough ease to be able to move around comfortably (and accommodate a substantial lunch) I found I was right not to shorten the bodice as the waistband falls just on my natural waist, although if you are taller and have a longer torso it might be as well to check the measurements to see if you need to lengthen it a bit. It is also lovely to have sleeves the right length!
I will definitely be making more Bruyere’s in the future. There is an option for a sleeveless version which would be great for summer. I really want to try lengthening it into a shirtdress though, I think this could work well in a fabric with a bit of drape. As you can probably tell I’m rather smitten with Deer and Doe, I’ve still got the Belladone to sew and have added another four onto my Christmas wishlist. There is the distinct possibility that I may have to add a sub heading to the blog title in which ‘Helen sews Deer and Doe’!