A Snowdrop Deer and Doe Sureau

As the Camas blouse was the last thing I made I thought I’d show you the first this year. The fabric was a Christmas present from my Mother in Law, it’s one of Liberty’s 2015 collection called Hesketh (I can’t find it on the liberty website but it’s available here) This is the black and white colourway, it does come in navy and white (as well as grey) but I am trying really hard to move out of my blue comfort zone.

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I decided not to risk using a new pattern and stick with my TNT Deer and Doe Sureau. I made it up exactly the same as my other ones (tried one of my other ones on to check it still fitted first!) cutting a 42 at the shoulder and grading to a 44 through the bust and waist.   I used a 9 inch zip instead of the 16 inch one suggested on the pattern and added side seam pockets underneath. Again I added a little cuff to finish the sleeves. I also remembered to curve the waist darts which seems to make a big difference to the fit underneath the bust. Instead of the gathers on the front placket I added two tucks.

Once the dress was finished the print was so busy you couldn’t actually see the placket. I thought adding buttons would look odd and after an Instagram poll agreed I left them off.

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It was so good using an old tried and true pattern. Being able to just cut straight out and sew without all the hassle of working out sizing and fitting was a perfect way to start the year.

It’s a lovely (and very seasonally appropriate) dress.  Snowdrops are one of my favourite flowers and I have a snowdrop necklace which goes perfectly. While we are on the subject of Snowdrops mine in the garden have been behaving strangely this year. They are usually the first things to push through in January but they’ve been really late, only coming into flower at the end of February (I’ve even had Daffodils flowering before them) I think they must need a period of sustained cold before they start to grow and the mild winter we have had has confused them somewhat. Anyway, I digress! My other Sureaus have had so much wear, with boots in the cooler weather and sandals when it warms up.  I know this one will get year round wear too.  All in all it’s a lovely little pattern I’m so glad I gave it another outing!

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And then the wind got up….

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If I look rather dishevelled here, you should see the next ones!

 

This was a wonderful Christmas present and one which will last for years to come. I gave her a similar present this year, some beautiful Malabrigo yarn (which I really wanted to keep myself) and the Casu Cowl pattern as a ‘knit your own Christmas present’ thankfully she was pleased, so much nicer than perfume and pyjamas!

Helen x

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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!

My Deer and Doe Sureau ‘wearable muslins!’

I was lucky enough to be given the Deer and Doe Sureau dress pattern for Christmas, along with two metres of Liberty Mitsi Tana Lawn to make it with. With the arrival of Spring and the prospect of warmer weather it seemed like the perfect project.

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I have put a bit of weight on over Christmas (and beyond). I’m not exactly sure how much as I haven’t weighed myself in six months but my clothes are getting a little too snug around the waist. I struggle to get through winter and the prospect of dieting in January is just far too depressing so I have been binge watching Netflix and comfort eating (mainly chocolate) to get me through those last cold dark months.  Now Spring has arrived a switch has been flipped in my brain and I am now craving Olives and Beetroot so hopefully some of the extra padding might start to drop off!

The point is that I’ve been a little bit worried that any new clothes I make will end up being too small. I decided to do the sensible thing and retake all my measurements (honestly and without breathing in!) which I hadn’t actually done for two years!

I wasn’t going to cut straight in to the Liberty without first doing a trial run so I decided to use some drapey wine viscose twill from the stash. I thought I would do things properly this time and cut the bodice based on my high bust which came out at 44.  There was a two inch difference between this and my actual bust measurement so I did a 2 inch Full Bust Adjustment and graded out to a 46 at the waist. I also shortened the bodice by an inch. There are gathers down the front of the bodice which are joined on to a ‘faux’ button placket. I distributed my gathers evenly between the pattern markers. I also added another placket on the inside, sandwiching the raw edges to keep things tidy. The fabric was a bit fiddly to sew as it kept moving around (it was a bit like trying to tame an eel!) and it seemed to stretch out and grow with every seam I sewed. Once I’d sewn the shoulder seams I decided to try it on for size, it was huge, a good two inches either side on front and back. It was then that I realised that maybe I didn’t need a FBA because I hadn’t taken the button placket into account when I measured the bodice pieces! I had also significantly underestimated the amount of ease in the pattern. The unstable fabric choice didn’t help either (on a side note I have some of the same fabric in Aubergine to make an Aubepine just so I could say ‘Aubergine Aubepine!’ I’m having second thoughts now as the chances of getting those pintucks straight are headache inducing!)

I took the side seams in as best I could but had to start recutting the armsyches. I was at this point contemplating throwing it in the bin but decided to see it through to the bitter end. I tried it on once it was assembled and it was ‘wearable’ but looked a bit frumpy (like a charity shop find that was a couple of sizes too big) My solution to this was to chop 3 inches off the bottom (I have been spurred on to shorter lengths after my weekend Doris) which made it a bit better skirt wise. The bodice was still a bit too big and gave the distinct impression of saggy boobs. This was mainly due to the unnecessary FBA but the gathers and the drapey fabric really didn’t help. It’s wearablebut but proved that I have seriously overcompensated my fear of making it too small!

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After my first learning curve I decided to give it another go.  This time I chose a nice stable cotton.   I cut a 44 at the shoulders and graded out to a 46 at the bust and waist (this time I didn’t do a FBA) I also shortened the bodice again by an inch. The cotton was a lot easier to work with and it came together well. Another thing that bothered me about my first dress was the lack of pockets. The pattern has a 16 inch side zipper but I found that I could easily get in and out of my first dress with the zip pulled only 3 inches below the waist. I decided to fit a shorter zip and add side seam pockets below. I added a bit of a curve to the waist darts which has made a lot of difference to the underbust. I also concentrated the gathers higher up. The fit on this version was a lot better, the only mistake I made was forgetting to staystitch the neckline which has stretched out a bit. I also got a bit carried away with the hemming and it is possibly a little too short but it’s fine with tights. The stability of the fabric also highlighted that I don’t really need to shorten the bodice.

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So for the final version I am going to:

  • Cut staraight out of the packet! 44 shoulders and 46 bust and waist.
  • Shorten the side zip
  • Add side seam pockets
  • Move the gathers down a bit so they are in line with my bust apex
  • Curve the waist darts again, I’m amazed at the difference this made and I may start doing this with all waist darts in the future.
  • I want to add a little cuff to the sleeve, I like little cuffs!

I’m starting to realise that a lot of my blog posts seem to be chronicling all the mistakes I make along the way, I may have to change the name or tagline to ‘Helen’s catalogue of sewing errors’!

Hopefully the next post will be a perfect fitting liberty Sureau (fingers crossed!)