Wow … it’s taken me some time to put this post together; I made my first Melilot just before Christmas and the second sometime early in the New Year! But sometimes I get caught in a sewing stint I don’t want to break … or life happens … and then we launched #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 so this post kind of got put on a back burner. But, excuses aside, we’re here now so let’s dive straight in shall we!?
The Melilot is my first foray into the Deer & Doe collection and it’s fair to say it was something of a revelation. Longer term readers of this blog may well know that one of my biggest (literally!) fitting issues is my chest. I’m a D cup and if put on a few lbs that’s the first place the weight goes. Not on my backside which is where I’d like it, thank you very much. I usually have two big issues (ahem) which are that I want the correct fit at the chest but also I generally dislike garments that hang boxily from the apex of my chest down to the hemline. From a sideways vantage, this just adds masses of unwanted visual width, so that I look like an ice cream cone. Especially given that I’m smaller in the hip. There, that’s my residual self-image in a nutshell!
In terms of looking for a shirt/blouse pattern then, I’m also looking for darts and a curved waistline. The D&D Melilot has that shaping plus a lovely curved high-low hemline which rises at the side seam, which all helps to balance out the proportions. Once I’d finally cottoned onto the fact that Deer & Doe draft for a C/D cup I jumped for joy. (I didn’t literally jump for joy, you understand, as that would have been an unnecessary bout of exertion, haha … I’m sooooo lazy!)
The fact that the Melilot also has drop shoulders meant I didn’t worry about taking them in; I may be larger in the chest but my frame is still relatively petite.
Anyhoo, Pattern duly purchased. I opted for a mix of both Views, deciding on the longer sleeve and collar of View A and the exposed button placket of View B. Worth noting that the right and left side of both Views are all cut from the same one pattern piece; if you opt for View A (the hidden button placket) you’ll need to trim your left piece down to its marked line. For View B both left and right pieces are the same, narrower, width – just double check the pattern pieces before you trace/cut).
I decided not to bother toiling it, deciding that this time I could live with a win or fail scenario and so cut straight into my fabric, a lovely soft and drapey viscose / rayon from JoAnns; its slightly sheer but I figured the lined breast pockets would be enough to preserve my modesty! (But then I go ahead and wear a black bra in these photos haha!) I cut according to my bust measurement without making any alterations to the pattern apart from reducing the length of the sleeve by an 1”. I always have to shorten sleeves so figured it was a relatively safe bet. Yeah, well, I was wrong because…
…whilst it generally fit straight out of the envelope my shortened sleeves are, well, too short! The length looks ok until I raise my arms out straight in front of me, wherein they start to ride up my forearm a bit. I duly added 0.5” back in to the pattern for my second version. Nope, still not long enough. For my third, I’ll cut the original sleeve length. *rolls eyes*
So what about construction? I found Deer & Does’ instructions concise. Any by ‘concise’ I mean there’s no hand holding. You are instructed to ‘do’ without much further elaboration. For the most part this was welcome. I took pause at the sleeve placket though as this was my first time putting a full one together so I went straight to YouTube to see if I could find anything helpful. I did..this one from Laurie Kurutz:
This really helped me visualise what the instructions were telling me to do and I soon, gleefully, had it sewn up. (Admittedly, being true to my nerd-like self I did go all out and practice it on a scrap piece of fabric first!) And, because I was working with such a floaty fabric I opted to stabilise the area and placket piece with Sullivan’s Fabric Stabiliser (which I buy in bulk whenever I can from the States) but which you could probably get away with using a spray starch? I love Sullivan’s though as it doesn’t gunk up the needle and washes out really well.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s talk about the hem! This is done quite early on. It’s quite a dramatic curve so I sewed in a line of basting stitches just at the curve within the seam allowance that I used to slightly gather the curve into place, making it easier to flip into position.
As for the collar, I completely ignored the instructions altogether. I will only ever sew collars on according to this method. Again, it worked a treat.
Once made, I dove in pretty quickly with my second. I decided to make it in a cotton lawn rather than a rayon this time, to see if it would translate into making it more of a shirt than a blouse. I chose this ‘Spring Serenade’ fabric from Dragonfly Fabrics. When it arrived it was slightly more of a muted mauve than the pink I was expecting but as it is, it’s probably more ‘me’ than a pink anyway! (I found it hard to photograph true…the collar pic is probably closest) It’s such a lovely print and whilst not usually something I would pick out, I couldn’t resist.
I had a little bit of a think about pattern placement and decided it would be rather cute to have a birdy perched on the pocket.
I went all out with this one and opted for self-covered buttons.. that I didn’t actually cover myself! I sent a sizeable off-cut of fabric to my local Button Covering Service and asked for size 15mm squishy canvas backed buttons. This means the buttons can be sewn on to lay completely flat. I really dislike buttons with too long a shank as they can droop like sad apologetic things. In hindsight I think they’re a little too big and I will order a size smaller next time. Other than that they are perfect and a million times better than buttons I’ve covered myself.
All in all though, in terms of comfort of wear, I prefer the viscose one. The lawn one feels very shirt like, which was intended, but it also feels quite formal. And by the time I got around to taking these pics I’d put on a little bit of weight (right where I really don’t need it!) and it’s pulling slightly whereas the viscose takes the strain! Looking at these pics, I wonder if that’s why the pockets seem to be sitting higher too..oh Boobs!!! I’ve taken up swimming so they’ll both fit properly again soon! But there’s no doubt about it, the viscose one skims and drapes whereas the lawn one I prefer tucked in…just got to make the perfect trousers to go with it now! And there’s no denying I love that bird perched on my pocket.
So, yeah, all in all, this is a great pattern which I will reach for again and again I’m sure. I’m certainly keen to try some of Deer & Does other patterns.
Which of the two do you prefer? What’s your favourite Deer & Doe pattern?
Until next time, thanks for reading!
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