Desideratum Deer & Doe Datura Disaster

About halfway through making my Cotton Candy Culottes I realised that I didn’t have a top to wear with them! So I hatched a plan to make up something quick that would suit them but that could also fit in with my normal wardrobe.

I consulted with Fashionable Younger Sister who was in the middle of cutting out her own culottes. We talked about styles and colours and I mentioned I was thinking of trying mustard. I’ve never worn mustard before because I’m not sure if it suits my complexion. I thought maybe I could get away with it if I combined it with another colour like white or a lighter yellow or perhaps grey.

FYS sent me some awesome inspiration images:

And I realsied that I had the perfect pattern in my stash, Deer & Doe’s Datura:

Fast forward to a sneaky lunchtime fabric shop trip with my trusty accomplice, Nikki.

We went to The Fabric Store and I did a couple of laps looking for the perfect fabric. Unfortunately I didn’t find any mustard I liked, everything was too sunshine yellow, but I did spot a pretty lilac and white cotton with a homespun-like weave:

I thought it was nice enough and since it was not very expensive I grabbed some.

Annoyingly the yardage chart on the pattern envelope does not include separate fabric allowances for making this blouse in two tones. I found that a bit strange (and disappointing) given that all the examples on the pattern page are sewn in two colours. I grabbed a meter of each colour even though I knew it would be too much.

I chose to make the view A with the triangle cutouts and they were really easy to construct.

On the cutting layout the bias is laid out and cut in four lengths that you join which I guess saves some fabric but you end up with all those joins. It is neat that they give you a template that you can trace onto card and use to fold your bias.

Since I had extra fabric I was able to cut my bias as one long length. I own 3 different sized Clover bias tape makers that I use to make bias tape. They aren’t that expensive and once you get the hang of them are worth owning.

There didn’t seem to be any mention of joining the bias tape ends together in the instructions. I joined mine at the centre back, unfolding to stitch the ends together, before trimming and refolding…

…like so…

Pretty!

And then my Datura was almost finished. Except that it wasn’t, ahhh, unfortunately my fabric was too stiff for this pattern. I tried to save it with some extra darts but it just didn’t work.

The bust darts are also too high on me so the fabric tents out from my ladies and is quite unflattering over the tum.

All is not lost however because even though this fabric was the wrong choice I do think this pattern has potential. You don’t need a lot of fabric (hello silk off-cuts in my stash!) and it’s a pretty quick make so there will be another version soon.

THE DEETS:

Pattern - Deer & Doe Datura, size 42, version A

Next time I will use a more lightweight drapey fabric, lower the bust darts and probably sew the buttons straight on (no button holes as they are purely decorative)

Fabric – 100% Cotton from The Fabric Warehouse, $8.00/m, Feb 2014

Other notions – 3 x buttons from stash

This photo is of me testing to see if I could reach the buttons. I took in the side seams a little to see if I could improve the fit. I wanted to make sure I could get the top on and off in case my alterations meant the buttons actually had to function.

Electric Blueberry Coppélia

It’s been a while since Kat and I unleashed the Papercut Fangirl Twinsies ;)

So we decided it was time for a pair of Coppélias.

You might notice that our versions look a little different from each other.

When we decide on a twinsies pattern we don’t really discuss how we are each going to interpret it. We might share a sneak peek of our fabric choice but generally we sew them separately to suit our individual tastes and then see what happens when we meet up for photos!

It’s more fun that way.

So you get to see Kat’s striped version with short sleeves and my solid coloured version with lengthened ties and bodice.

The Coppélia stitched up quickly on my 4-threads-of-awesomeness overlocker and I hardly needed to look at the instructions (I mostly just glanced at the diagrams) because this is super easy to make.

Then it sat for a while in the corner because I wasn’t really sure if I liked it.

I just couldn’t get it to sit nice when I tried it on and the back felt really big on me. When I tied it up my side seams came forward and I had a lot of bunching at the back.

After we had some time apart I picked it up out of the naughty corner and added two long vertical darts in the back and that helped a little but the arms were still quite big at the top and very long.

I gave up and decided I would just see what Kat (and photographer Nikki) would have to say.

They both agreed that the problem was quite simple, I cut it too big…and once said out aloud everything clicked! It was even more obvious when tried on Kat’s XS (I cut an S) and it fitted perfectly…after Kat helped me dress…haven’t quite gotten the knack of it yet.

So, all is good and I will make another, soon, because it was so quick and didn’t need much fabric…plus I love speeding on my overlocker, it makes NH nervous ;)

Also this happened:

Photobombed!

These photos were taken in front of the Executive Wing of New Zealand Parliament Building…or Beehive to the locals. It’s a beautiful spot on a sunny day to have lunch and take long overdue sewing photos.

There are also lots of huge Pohutukawa trees…so we did some tree climbing, in heels, because, yeah… :)

Check out Kat’s Strawberry Shortcake Coppélia here.

THE DEETS:

Pattern - Papercut Coppélia, size S, lengthened 10cms, lengthened ties.

Next time I will cut an XS, lengthen another 5cms (15cm in total) and possibly shorten the sleeves.

Fabric – 1.30m of 154cm wide mystery electric blue stretchy fabric from Arthur Toye, purchased November 2013 for $24.95/m – 50% discount.

Big thank you to Nikki for being our lunchtime photographer.

PS: If you feel like it, I’d love you pop over the Pattern Review a vote for my Megan Nielson Cotton Candy Culottes in the New To Me Pattern Co. Contest.

Cotton Candy Culottes

Question: What’s better than Quadruplets?

Answer: Quintuplets!

Nikki, Emma, Kat, me & Jenna

Quintuplets Megan Nielson Tania Culottes!

Technically I can claim we were sextuplets because I also made Fashionable Younger Sister sew some Tania Culottes. FYS does not live in Wellington so she participated by Distance Sewing.

Why did I force Fashionable Younger Sister to make Tania Culottes?

Because her name is Tania.

Tania wearing Tania’s!

Last Sunday the WSBN went to the Newtown Fair with visions of culottes group selfies involving candy apples and cotton candy.

We didn’t quite manage to get the candy floss photos but we did eat roti and fudge and hot dogs and spent far too much money on pretties like these:

We did remember to take a few photos of each other ;)

With Nikki

Kat and Jenna

Emma and Kat (with bonus Phoebe and Drake peaking around the corner)

I made my culottes from some super floaty rayon I bought at Arthur Toye in Palmerston North. I got 1.5m but forgot I wanted to lengthen the hem. To the size L I originally added 10cms but wasn’t able to fit them on my fabric. Luckily I found a 0.7m remnant in the Wellington store but I still had to reduce my added length to just 5cm.

Consequently they are shorter than I would have liked but I actually don’t mind the length that much. They are perfect for hot summer days at the beach or other informal setting…not particularity appropriate for work although I did consider putting on my steel cap boots and taking a photo for you all ;)

The main issue is the floaty rayon, which feels so nice to wear, sewed beautifully and drapes amazingly…but is far too light for Wellington’s breezy reputation. I think before I wear this particular pair again I will make up some cropped leggings to wear underneath to prevent any accidental flashing…there may have been a bit of that last Sunday but thankfully no photographic evidence ;)

Hemming these took forever. I think I was at it about an hour, maybe longer, because it’s like hemming TWO circle skirts. As much as I enjoyed sewing with this fabric it didn’t like pins very much. Every time I tried them on pins would rain down everywhere which didn’t help!

Fashionable Younger Sister’s culottes are also made from rayon, she cut size S but cut the hem at the XS size line. She admits they are a little too short as well but she does have the legs for them!

Here is a close up of her fabric btw, I have some in my stash too so don’t be surprised if you see this again soon:

I really enjoyed making these, they sew up really quickly (only four pattern pieces!) and the pleat at the front is a really simple but super clever detail that gives the illusion of a circle skirt.

I’m used to fabric allowances being a bit more generous so I had to buy that extra bit to get my lengthened pattern pieces all on. I suspect that even the recommended 1.5m for the un-lengthened larger sizes is cutting it fine. If you are not lengthening (but I strongly suggest you do!) I suggest you get an extra 10 or 20cm just in case, especially if you have a crazy pattern that needs some matching.

The instructions are nice and clear, lots of good diagrams and I only made a couple of changes.

On page 6 you are instructed to stay stitch the edge of the waist band at 1.5cm but I stitched at 1.0cm instead because later on when you attach the waistband using 1.5cm seam allowance you will probably end up seeing your stay stitching on the outside and then you’ll have to so some unpicking. No one likes unpicking ;)

I also didn’t clip along the edge before attaching my waistband. I’m always wary of clipping. If I don’t need to (and I didn’t in this case) then I prefer to not do it. Unnecessary clipping weakens the seam and will make it really tricky to attach the waist band and to enclose this edge later on.

I had no trouble laying my waistband onto the top of my culottes without clipping them.

Lastly I hung my culottes overnight to allow the hem to settle. I was surprised that this wasn’t mentioned in the instructions but when I trimmed my hem after hanging the long strip I cut off went from nothing right up to about 4cm and back again. That’s how much the bias section dropped while resting. If you don’t give your culottes time to relax before hemming you may find that sections drop over time and you’ll have to redo it.

Next time I will buy more fabric and lengthen a total of 10 or maybe even 15cms. I also found the crotch a little high, it’s not uncomfortable but I can tell it’s there which feels …strange because they are so floaty. Oh and I will totally copy Kat’s in-seam pockets idea. I thought about pockets after it was too late and shrugged it off but when I saw Kat’s pockets I was super jealous. At least if I had something in my pockets the added weight might have helped ;)

Hey did you notice my super cute necklace? It was made by Fashionable Younger Sister and is from her newly launched jewellery line, Fortune and Blame.

I have the Diamond Silhouette in Blue Skies and FYS is wearing The Impaler in Black and Gold. She’s adding new stuff to her online store all the time and if you want any custom colours or fills you can just email her at fortuneandblame[at]gmail.com to ask and she will post anywhere in the world :)

If you like her style please go take a look at her online store and follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

Tell me what your favourite piece is and what I should make her sew next ;)

THE DEETS:

Pattern - Megan Nielson Tania culottes, size L, lengthened 5cm

Next time I will lengthen an extra 5 or 10cms (for a total of 10-15cm extra length), drop the crotch about 2cms and add in-seam pockets.

Fabric – 1.50m + 0.7m remnant of 148cm wide Rayon from Arthur Toye, Palmerston North, purchased January 2014 for $12.50/m

Other notions – Invisible zipper

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…oh deer!

The WSBN are great at scheming!

Our most recent collaborative idea was to sew a garment from one pattern brand. Votes were cast and Deer & Doe won…and then the four of us who participated all managed to sew the same pattern, the Bleuet dress!

We have graduated from Twinsies to Quadruplets!

So where do four sewists go for photographs when they are all wearing the same dress by a pattern company called Deer & Doe?

Duh, they go to Staglands of course, because with a name like that there MUST some deer there, right?

RIGHT!

But first we ate, because not only are we excellent at scheming and sewing (and sewing scheming) we are also good at eating!

So we picnicked:

You may notice we also included significant others, both large and small, for this outing.

Wellington put on a beautiful day so after our picnic we wandered, looking at the animals, chatting and photographing as we went.

The Bleuet Quadruplets:

Nikki, Kat, Me and Jenna

Apart from the odd sneak peek this was the first time I’d seen all the dresses complete and together. I really love that we each put our personal style twist to it and while it’s clear we all used the same pattern we all ended up with a unique dress.

Sewing is awesome, yes it is!

Near one of the picnic areas a lady complimented our dresses and was brave enough to ask, “Why are you all wearing the same dress?” so I quickly explained that we were part of a sewing group and that this particular dress was from a pattern company called Deer & Doe so we were hoping to have photos with deer (we hadn’t actually seen any deer at that point).

She seemed very impressed and that was when I realised we are not normal but it made me happy in a weird sort of way :)

Me, Kat, Jenna and Nikki

I saw this check print while on a sneaky fabric shopping mission with Nikki. She picked it up first and I was going to get some cut from it after her but there wasn’t enough left on the bolt. I figured it wasn’t meant to be, then Enabler Nikki texted me one weekend not long after to say she’d seen another bolt of it. I couldn’t get to the shop but put out a cry for help on the WSBN Facebook page and MaryLousie came to my rescue – sewing friends are the best!

I channelled my inner Ladybird and cut the side panels on the bias, then I chopped off the self button placket and cut that on the bias too.

You may have noticed I have an extra panel on the back of my dress, just below the collar.

This is, err…a bonus design feature.

Ok, maybe I had a little boo boo.

While trying this dress on I got my arm stuck one of the arm holes and heard a terrible ripping sound! At first I couldn’t find any damage so I assumed it was just some basting stitches ripping out. I carried on sewing…and then I saw it!

NooOOoooOOOoooo!

I was really mad at myself for about 30 seconds. Then I sat down at my machine and zig zagged the rip together. After staring at it a little longer I realised I had to patch it. I am sure I’ve seen patches on the back of shirts so I drew a semi-circle on the back bodice piece that would cover the rip and cut it on the bias for interest.

I top stitched it in place and it went unnoticed for about half the day until Nikki spotted it ;)

After solving that little problem I needed some stress relief – for the first item ever, and inspired by Kat, I decided to try snap fasteners instead of buttons.

I bought 12 pearl snaps and took out my frustration installing them.

Sewing with a hammer is fun!

We found the deer eventually and I’m glad we remember to buy food at the entrance!

Check out this guys antlers, so soft but also mean looking ;)

The pattern:

This was my first Deer & Doe pattern, but I own 5 of them in total. The pattern comes in a cute envelope and is printed on nice sturdy paper – a dream to work with compared to some of the thin tissue I’ve been tracing from lately.

You get two instruction booklets, one in French, one in English and I was a little disappointed to see that they are mostly text with very few diagrams. This did not stop me getting through the project but for someone who has not made a shirt or shirt dress before it could slow them down.

I felt there were a few gaps in the instructions, I couldn’t find any mention of stitching the shoulder seams and no guidance of which side to top stitch your panels. I also felt the collar is constructed in a very strange way so I decided to sew mine in a more traditional way that I have done before because the Deer & Doe instructions wouldn’t work in my head.

I found the sleeve cuffs a bit strange to construct too. After interfacing you fold them in on themselves so that you end up with 4 layers of fabric plus interfacing that you then have to sandwich onto the gathered bottom of the sleeve. It’s not easy and if you are using a thicker fabric I suggest you cut the sleeve cuff in half and attach it a different way.

This pattern cost me NZD$22.00 so I guess I just expected a little bit more love in the instructions. It is labelled an intermediate pattern but I feel that an advanced beginner could tackle this with a bit more guidance, or while consulting a general sewing book.

The draft is good, all my pieces lined up and it sews up quite quickly. The princess seams give you lots of fitting adjustment and I think the bow at the back adds a cute detail. I also I like how it is constructed.

I was a bit worried the puffy sleeves would be cute overload but after basting them on I decided to leave them. NH thought they looked OK plus I wore this dress to work last week and no one laughed at me ;)

Staglands:

I was pleasantly surprised by Staglands. I am Wellingtonian born and bred so I assumed I must have been there at some point in my life but apparently not. It was completely new to me and I really enjoyed myself!

The park is huge and from Wellington CBD it’s a good hour by car through the amazing Akatarawa Valley road. Leave home early because you really do need an entire day to enjoy the whole park.

Anywhere that has baby bunnies roaming around will get a glowing review from me!

I (and when I say I, I mean Nerdy Husband) took heaps and HEAPS of photos, over 400, a lot of which didn’t come out. This is bad, but also good, because now I am motivated to finally replace my faulty camera lens…and maybe try to get a deal on a macro for detail shots too ;) So I have a few more photos, lots of animals and some funny out-takes, and rather than bombard you with more photos here you can click through to my Flikr album to see the rest :)

THE DEETS:

Pattern - Deer and Doe Bleuet Dress, straight size 42

Fabric – Cotton check from The Fabric Warehouse, Kaiwharawhara, $10/m

Other notions – 12 x pearl snaps