The final instalment of the Deer and Doe Sureau Trilogy (and a Miette Cardie)

After making my last two wearable muslins of the Sureau I finally felt brave enough to cut into the liberty Mitsi fabric (the pattern and fabric was a Christmas present so I really didn’t want to mess it up!)

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For this final version I:

  • Cut a 44 in the shoulders and 46 for the bust and waist (no FBA)
  • Shortened the side zip
  • Added side seam pockets
  • Moved the gathers down a bit so they were in line with my bust apex
  • Curved the waist darts
  • Added a little cuff to the sleeve

It came together really quickly but not without sacrifice, while attaching the skirt to the bodice I was concentrating so much on keeping the gathers straight that I sewed straight through my finger!

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I didn’t hem it as short as last time and ended it just around my knee, I figured I can get away with a shorter skirt if I am wearing tights but exposing my bare saggy legs is not a good look (especially with how white and pasty they are after the winter!) I spent ages looking for the right buttons and eventually settled on the mother of pearl flower ones.

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I have been taking a good objective look at which things I actually wear in my wardrobe, particularly knit wise. My most worn RTW cardigans are Navy (one plain, one polka dot) and grey (again one plain and one polka dot!) I usually pick yarn purely on whichever colour takes my fancy at the time which has led to some lovely cardigans but with fairly limited ‘wearability’. I decided to fill an obvious gap by knitting a Navy Miette. I have knitted the Miette twice before and for me it is the perfect cardigan; fitted and simple with a little bit of lace to add interest. Another plus is the raglan sleeves, I’m quite broad in the shoulders and I’ve found that set in sleeves can look quite boxy on me, (I slightly resemble a rugby player!)

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I cast on a size 42 and used Cascade 220 in Navy 854 bought from laughing hens. The only modification I made was adding 4 inches to the length (another 20 rows) I blocked it in my usual fashion by putting it through a wool wash in the machine. I used ten mother of pearl buttons, 2 more than the pattern to account for the extra length.

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I finished both in time to wear for the Easter weekend. I love the whole outfit and have worn the cardigan almost constantly since it was finished (I’ve since cast on another Miette in Silver Grey!) I like the style of the Sureau and now I’ve added the pockets it’s earned a place as a TNT pattern in my collection (pockets are a serious deal breaker for me!)

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The Liberty Tana Lawn is lovely to sew with. I’ve got some Liberty Cotton Poplin to try which is possibly going to become a Chardon.

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I also took the plunge and bought two and a half metres of their Summer Tana Lawn which I’ve been lusting at for over a year (No idea why they named it Summer, it’s the least summery fabric they have) I’m thinking of a simple dress with possibly a pleated skirt, not decided on a pattern yet though so I might try using the Emery bodice and drafting my own skirt (I’ll definitely be making a wearable muslin first)

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I was hoping to have enough of the Mitsi left over to make some matching knickers but I’m afraid it wasn’t to be. It has reignited my longing for more Liberty knickers though, I’ve found a couple of remnants that are big enough so I think I’ll have to start the production line again soon!

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A Liberty Christmas Cambie!

OK, so it’s taken a little over six months, but I have finally finished making up one of my Christmas presents!  As you may recall in my previous post about Cambie number one my Mother in law kindly got me the Sewaholic Cabbie Dress pattern for Christmas, along with three metres of Liberty fabric of my choosing.  I spent hours pouring over fabrics online, I think it was about two weeks before I finally made a decision.  In the end I went with my head rather than my heart and plumped for something which would go with the Green Miette cardigan I had started knitting and so:

Ta dah!

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I now have a complete outfit!

The fabric is Ellie Ruth Liberty Tana Lawn in dark green from really posh fabric shop Joel and Sons, I think it cost around £21 a metre so this is by far the most expensive fabric I have ever worked with (I’m used to my bargain basement Economy Fabrics!).  It’s described as a ‘smart retro floral with toothpaste stripes’, I liked the combination of green and orange flowers:

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I made the dress exactly as I had done my first Cambie, I shortened the bodice by 1 inch and took an inch out of the centre back.  I self lined the bodice and used some more of my buttery white cotton to line the skirt.  For the skirt lining you just use the skirt pattern pieces so there is a lot of fabric!  There’s also more fabric in the back than there is in the front which makes for a very gathered derriere!  The only difference I made was to use the main fabric to make the pockets (I used my white lining fabric last time, as per the instructions, but it noticeably peeks out when you put your hand in the pocket!)

I used an invisible zipper and this time I took my time with it!  I added two strips of interfacing down the centre back and used my regular zipper foot to baste it in.  Only when I had matched up the waistband and basted the second side did I feel confident enough to switch to my invisible zipper foot and stitch it down properly!  I think I have learned not to sew when I’m tired or to try and rush things as I make silly mistakes and then spend ages unpicking them!

I did have a bit of a devil when it came to the final bodice fitting.  On my previous Cambie I had used a Rayon fabric which had a bit of give and seemed to mould around me.  The Tana Lawn, although a dream to sew with, didn’t want to mould!  I think I must have tried the dress on a dozen times while I was tweaking it, sewing in my undies in between!  It’s so difficult to fit when you are on your own, especially when you can’t see what your back is doing!  My main problem was that the neckline gaped a bit and I had pull marks about three inches above my waistline.  I ended up lowering the neckline by about an inch and a half before resorting to interfacing it!  (I have since tried on my first Cambie which also has a bit of a gape but as the fabric flops against my chest I didn’t notice). I also took nearly an inch off the side seams before I decided to stop as I was in danger of ‘over-fitting’ and buggering the whole thing up!

Anyway here’s the finished result:

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On Doris

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The insides

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On me!

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Twirlling..

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more twirling!

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The back…

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and from the side!

I think I have to be honest with myself and admit that the pulling at the back and the gaping front are there because I really need to do a full bust adjustment!  I have avoided doing a FBA since I tried it once with the Colette Rooibos dress and made a real mess of it (probably not the best pattern for a first try seeing as there are SIX waist darts!). A FBA also adds length to the bodice and seeing as I am short and usually have to take an inch of the length I can’t figure out just how much I would have to take off.  I think if I want things to really fit well I’m just going to have to get past my fear and have a go, I did put it down as one of my New year sewaloutions so I’ve got another five and a half months to crack it!

Overall I really like how vintagey this dress looks, the sleeves, full skirt and the nipped in waist are very evocative of the pattern envelopes from the fifties (only twice the size!). I am quite surprised with how light and yellowy the fabric looks as I thought it would come out darker with the flowers and black stripes.  I have spent the past three weeks working on both Cambies and to be honest I feel all dressed out and was just pleased to get it done and out of the way!  It’s a great pattern and I will definitely make more but I think I need to do some quick fix sewing with some instant gratification to resurrect my sewing mojo.  I’ve got my outfit along dress to make but the deadline is not until the end of July so I think I can safely put it on the back burner for a couple of weeks.  I toted up my list of ‘to sew’ projects the other day and realised I had twenty things in the queue which I’ve got the pattern and fabric for!  Now I’ve just got to decide which to start first!

Do you ever experience sewing fatigue?  And just to be nosey, how long is your sewing queue?!