A Polka ‘Cheyenne Tunic’ by Hey June Handmade … and a little bit about French Seams

Hello again!

I seem to be on something of a blogging roll!! I finally got around to cutting out this Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June Handmade; I’d been meaning to sew it for weeks only I succumbed to ‘the fever’ that was sewing my Luzerne Trench Coat instead. But now I’ve sewn one Cheyenne, let me just cut to the chase and say I want half a dozen more of them!

This is the third pattern I’ve sewn from the Hey June catalogue (see their Halifax Hoodie and the Kensington dress I made for my daughter) and again I’m really pleased with the attention to detail in their drafting and instructions. This is such a wearable top! In fact Read More

My Deer & Doe ‘Luzerne Trench Coat’ Makers Diary – Part 4 : Collar and Facings

“Mom, I’ve spilt my drink all over the floor”… “Mom, can you make me a sandwich?”… “Mom, there’s a wasp in the lounge!” … Oh the joys of trying to sew when the kids are off school for the summer!

But sew I do. We’ve agreed that Mommy can sew in the morning and we’ll do stuff together in the afternoon. I can’t sew in the evening as a rule, my brain just doesn’t work. In fairness, it doesn’t always fully function in the daytime either but, slurping coffee, it stands somewhat of a better chance!

So back to sewing my Trench Coat!

I left off last time with just needing to Read More

A Makers’ Diary – The Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench Coat : Day 1

Hi!!

I’m starting something a little bit different today…a short series of blog posts covering the one, more involved, make. I’ve come back to my sewing table really craving a longer-term project. I’ve reached the point, I think, whereas to curb getting jaded, I need to push myself out of my safety zone and learn some new techniques. I want to invest the time to sew a garment that I should be able to wear for years; a project to breathe new life into my sewing bones, if you will.

So what did I decide upon? Never mind that the sun has been beating down and ‘cracking the slabs’ these past few weeks, what I want to sew … is a coat. One of my 2018 Make Nine, to be exact, the Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench Coat.

This short series then is about sharing the whole process of making this coat in, more or less, ‘real time’… Read More

Melilot Deer & Doe tutorial

Two Deer & Doe Melilot Shirt : a story of viscose and lawn!

Melilot Deer & Doe tutorial

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!)

Sewing pattern review

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*

Sewing a sleeve placket.jpg

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.

Sewing a curved hem.jpg

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.

Sewing collars tutorial.jpg

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.

Melilot blouse sewing pattern review & Doe.jpg

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.

How to sew a shirt collar.jpg

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.

Self-covered button_s.jpg

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.

Melilot Review Deer & Doe

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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Blogger Book Tour : Wendy Ward’s ‘Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ Book Review and Makes

Hi!

I was delighted to be asked to join the Book Tour, following some of my favourite sewing bloggers, for Wendy Ward’s new tome ‘A Beginners Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabrics’. This was originally scheduled to happen earlier in the year but was delayed whilst the book went to reprint, as the original run sold out within two days!

I made two garments from the book by way of a review, the Monsal Lounge Pants and the Kinder Cardigan – patterns which have both proved very popular!

The book is split into two main parts, ‘Techniques’ and Projects’ and includes paper pieces for six basic pattern blocks which can be hacked and altered in a variety of ways to make many more. It is, as the title implies, a book intended for beginners, however, there is enough here for the more advanced sewist too.

My full book review post, which also details my Makes from it, has been posted as part of the second leg of the Tour schedule over on Minerva Craft’s blog HERE. I’ve summed it up quite succinctly, I think, with the title 😉

‘Don’t Want to Get Dressed But Have To? Then Make Something From This Book!’

Given that it’s been a while since I’ve made both these garments, I can tell you I’ve worn them a ridiculous amount! Secret Pyjamas for the win!!!! If you want a copy of the book there is, wink wink nudge nudge, a whopping 25% discount on the £12.99 cover price at MAKEetc.com until 21st April!

Also, if you haven’t already, you may also want to check out these reviews from the Tour so far :

What’s your favourite secret pjyama patterns?!

Until next time, happy sewing lovely peeps x

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