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…


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.


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.

I am most definitely here

Thank you to all my lovely curious readers who contacted me about my blog being deactivated.

If you think that was a bit strange check out the message I got on my dashboard:

Red text alert! What?! No, no no! I don’t do any of that!

It popped up right after my last post so I clicked through to tell them they had made a mistake and finally we are back up. The internet pixies have been severely reprimanded and Support were apologetic and quick to me get back up and running, I even got a compliment on my header image and background, aww nice 🙂

Thanks for coming back, please feel free to scroll down to yesterdays post if you haven’t had a chance read it and I’ll be back soon (hopefully) with more 1930s dress progress for you.

Until then happy sewing (and blogging)


Gok Coat: The Verdict

There hasn’t been much sewing going on in my room lately. Part of the problem has been lack of space and plenty of mess. I don’t mean to sound like a spoiled brat since but basically my new room is too small and I recently purchased a few extra items to go into it and despite knowing full well I really didn’t have the space I stubbornly assembled them anyway.

So on Saturday I had a big clean up and I disassembled and put those items away in their boxes until I do have room for them. Then I managed to finish of my second Esther (photos this weekend), which I cut out last month. I stitched 80% of it before putting it down but I think if I added up the actual sewing time I probably made this one even quicker than the last. It’s really nice and warm too, much warmer than the first since it is actually made of wool. After a quick runway show in the hallway for husband I re-threaded my machines ready for the new JJ blouse.

Here is my thread selection, I had the absolute exact shade sewing thread to match my fabric and then I spent about 5 micro seconds deciding the overlocker thread, the options were light-blue and light-blue-that-is-ever-so-slightly-green, and I chose the ever-so-slightly-green 🙂

Nerdy Husband entered the room then and announced that he needed to use my computer to back up files while his computer did other computery things and promptly banned me from using the overlocker lest I upset the portable hard drive’s spinning thingy with the vibration*.

So I resigned myself to pattern tracing for the rest of the day which wasn’t such a bad thing since it helped me nail down my next immediate projects. If you are interested I have listed them on the My Wardrobe page, but I warn you that it is an ever evolving list and that any item appearing on this page is not actually guaranteed to come into existence.

Right, now let’s get on with why we are really here: The Gok Coat…and the jury is still out.

I finished this coat quite a while ago after my amazing vintage button haul from eBay arrived.

So many buttons!

Which ones?

I used #119 from Burda 03/2009 and I originally cut my usual size 42 but after a bit of basting on Scarlett and a closer look at the model photo I cut it down another 2 sizes.

#119 Burda 03/2009

I only kind of like it… sigh…clearly my effort at photos reveals this, care factor: minimal, and I admit I have not yet worn it out in public. The gabardine is actually a bit more plum in real life, this colour is really hard to photograph! My inspiration was from a David Jones Catalogue I got in the mail for winter 2010 and I do love the buttons and buckles and the alterations I made to the gun flaps (cut them more pointy like the coat below).

Unfortunately it makes me feel huge, especially in the shoulders and despite cutting it down to a 38 it still feels way too big for me, even layered over my thickest winter items. I really should have considered the model image more before I chose this pattern as my final choice.

There is another problem too, just before I finished it I was out for lunch in the city and I saw a girl wearing a mac coat of the exact same shade but in a much more fitted a-line style and I knew straight away I had picked the wrong pattern. I mean, this coat is still maybe salvageable, but I think it is well beyond being transformed into that silhouette.

Karen Millen Coat

So right now, looking at these photos again, I am leaning towards saving it by nipping in the waist more and refitting the shoulders and bust but this will require a huge amount of unpicking of my very neat top stitching, so perhaps next winter?

So what do you chickies think? Scrap it, save it, make another even better coat, put it in the ufo pile until next winter? Leave me your thoughts below.

Ohh, let’s do one of those poll thingees!

*You might be wondering how Nerdy Husband got away with an overlocker ban so easily, well the “backing-up” included some very important files, files belonging to me, like all my digital sewing patterns…oh and our wedding photos! So there you go 😉

Sub 2-hour cardigan – “Look Mum, no sewing machine!”

Do you like my new cardi?


Please excuse the fact that it was a very bright day and also I have managed to chop my feet off in almost every photo.

On Saturday, after a long (and not entirely abusive) life, my computer finally kacked it (that’s the technical term, trust me). There was much swearing and gnashing of teeth but no tears since I’d just backed up the most important stuff the previous day.

Am I psychic? Possibly.

I was thinking about throwing the thing out the window when Husband came in to see what all the fuss was about and promptly left again. Lucky for me (or perhaps more for the computer) he returned, just as I was picking it up, with a set of small screw drivers and other computery thingees (more technical terms, I’m on a role here). After a ridiculously short amount of time plugging, button pushing and screw drivering he had coaxed it back from the brink long enough for me to save the rest of the hard drive. Nerdy husbands are so useful.


So on Sunday I got taken computer shopping because while we could probably scrape together enough items from his nerdy room it really is time I bit the bullet and shouted myself a new computer. Well I said shopping but it was really just browsing and investigating and the purchase will take place next week. After we finished telling sales people to leave us alone for about an hour I got dropped back home and then Husband left to give his sister H a long ago promised driving lesson.

With my room still strewn with previously mentioned computery bits and a PC I dare not turn on without help close at hand I decided I needed a quick sewing pick me up.

After Knitting and I had a few words and decided that just right now we are not getting along I cut the BurdaStyle Esther pattern out of a black and silver/grey striped knit that I got from the Joveeba relocation sale in Perth. I picked up this piece, 152cm wide and 2.20m long, for AUD$16.00. I cut a size 40 but my fabric wasn’t quite long enough for the pattern, however since I had extra width I was able to add a join in the collar piece which ends up at the back of my neck. I chose to do this on a black stripe with the hope of it being less obvious.

Then I decided to try a little experiment: I re-threaded all 4 threads of my overlocker in black and challenged myself to make the whole thing without my sewing machine and started the timer. Give or take I finished the whole thing in about 1 hour 40 minutes and that includes pressing, adjusting the tension on the Bernina, getting a little distracted with making a cup of tea and sending a couple of text messages.

4 spools of goodness

Ok, I admit I did use the Elna just to baste the open edges of the crazy super loooong collar together but as you can see my concession did not include re-threading it to black (the white got chopped off by the overlocker knife anyway!).

No quick thread changes here!

But then baby got put back in the corner to keep the side of my PC case company.

Baby in the corner

So I am quite pleased with my effort and it certainly put a smile on my face when I went to open the door for Husband wearing my new cardi.


The Esther pattern used to be free back in ancient BurdaStyle history but for $2.50 it’s still a steal of a pattern. I will say however that the instructions are rubbish, don’t even bother to read the words, they make no sense whatsoever, just follow the pictures. As a pattern however it simple, quick (even if you do use a sewing machine) and an easy fit. It lends itself to knits and even jersey for a more light weight look, you could mix up the colours on the collar, sleeves and cuffs for a bit of fun, why don’t you go check it out all the other versions online?