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?


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!


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 😉


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 🙂


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

20 thoughts on “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…oh deer!

  1. Although it was the same pattern, each dress looked distinctly different. What a great save with the wee tear on the back neckline, I don’t think anyone would ever know that it isn’t really meant to be there. I love that the strips go in all different directions.

  2. This is such a great post! Gutted I couldn’t make it, the place looks great!

    And so does your dress! I love the bias in places and your fixit looks like its meant to be there! I love love love the colours too. Just gorgeous all round.

  3. I love all the photos of the group together. This dress is great and flattering n all of you. I originally thought it was too girly, but I can see that it is just the right amount.
    Thanks for sharing all the construction details. I bookmarked your post because I know one day I will need the quick design fix on the back.

  4. How cute are you all in your matching dresses, it’s also nice to see how you have all made them look quite different. I have this pattern in my queue, I really must get to it soon.

  5. The Bleuet is such a cute pattern and you 4 girls look super cute in your versions. I really love how all dresses are so unique and different from each other. The neck design detail looks pretty awesome!

  6. Heeee, I’ve seen talk of this round already and can’t stand how cute you all look! I really like the idea of using the same pattern, but leaving it up to the individual to sew it as they please. This is an excellent entry for April Monthly Stitch Twinsies! And, Oh Noes to the ripping! Hope it fixed up allright. I love snaps, no need for buttonholes and no fear of buttons slipping out of said hole while you are wearing it. I have the Deer and Doe Belladone and feel the same way about the instructions. Like pieces were missing. And, also some of the steps seemed backwards so that I had no idea of what to do with raw edges, since they weren’t caught up in the seams. Stuff like that. Thanks for your honest review of this pattern. Although I have since learned that Deer and Doe draft for a C cup. D’oh!!! That would explain millions as to why I was having such fit problems with the Belladone bodice. Oh, and finally, BUNNYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

  7. I think you guys are awesome, I can imagine how much fun you would have messing with other people when dressed the same (we’re part of a cult! or we’re polygamous wives and our husband likes us dressing the same!)

  8. I love the idea of sewing the same pattern as a group! I have a couple friends that are currently learning how to sew and I would love to do something similar once they’ve worked through a few more projects.
    I love your dress (and all of them, actually!), and the design in general. I haven’t made any Deer and Doe patterns yet (they’re on my list) so that’s good to know about the instructions. I still love their designs, though!

  9. I own Belladone and had the same feeling as you – the instructions were a bit lacking. Lost in translation perhaps? I had to recut my entire bodice because I’d decided to use bias tape as a facing rather than have it showing – and the instructions had neglected to inform that the seam allowance at the arm and neckholes was not 5/8″/1.5cm. In fact, it explicitly said that all seam allowances were 1.5cm. I guess it was intended to have exposed bias tape, but it would have been great if it had been clear that there was no seam allowance there.

    So I merrily sewed on the bias tape at a 1.5cm seam allowance and trimmed the seam allowances back…and realised there wasn’t room to sew the bias tape down. There was the merest sliver of fabric left. My husband reckoned that the alternate instruction for making a bias tape facing was an afterthought and not properly tested…so, to all of you out there thinking of making a Belladone with a bias tape facing – sew the tape straight to the armhole and use 12mm/1/2″ bias tape topstitched at 1cm, NOT 3/4″ tape topstitched at 1.5cm like the instructions say. It won’t work.

    Also, muslin that back for all you’re worth and get a helper to make sure it sits right. I had to recut the upper back as well because it wouldn’t sit flat. Thank dog I got an extra 1/2m of fabric. This was the project that almost made me put my sewing machine and entire stash on Trade Me.

    • I’ve made Belladone twice now – it’s not the translation, because I used the French instructions instead of the English ones. Some of them I read and then just went ahead and stitched how I thought it should go.

  10. That’s great that you have a group to sew with. The dresses are great. All with their own styles and personality. I’ve got to say I think your ‘design feature’ at the back of the neck should be a permanent change in the future. It’s perfect on that check.

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