When I first saw Deer&Doe‘s gorgeous patterns, I swooned. I loved all of them! And I’ll admit, I even thought about ordering the patterns in French, I was that impatient to get my hands on them. Except, well, I never learned French in school, and I was a little hesitant to leave the fate of my future beautiful dress in the hands of Google Translate. So I patiently waited until they were translated to English, and then pounced. I was restrained, though – I bought just one to start, the Robe Bleuet – which Google tells me means Blueberry dress, which I felt was rather fitting.
This dress. Oh my. I love it, but I’m not going to sugar-coat it – this was not an easy pattern to work with. A good chunk of this was my fault – I may have overestimated my sewing abilities a tad. The dress pattern is marked as advanced, and I feel now that is an adequate assessment of the difficulty. This dress marked my first collar, and my first real set of buttonholes. Yikes.
The pattern booklet is very sparse on pictures, so if you have trouble visualising how things go together, like me, it certainly presents a challenge. I ended up having to scour the internet for a collar tutorial I could understand, but I got there in the end. I also sewed the princess seams together the wrong way (how embarrassing) because I had a brain fart and suddenly became unable to match curves. I don’t even know.
I promise, the bow isn’t crooked! I just don’t know how to pose for photos. And although the dress looks a bit snug here, I’m actually super duper pleased with the fit. I made the largest size, and I’m glad I did. I didn’t make any changes at all to the way it fits – no adding or subtracting length or width anywhere. So lucky, that never happens!
I did make some changes, however. You may notice that my sleeves aren’t gathered at the cuff, and that my cuff isn’t as wide as it should be. This is because I was blessed *cough* with bountifully plump upper arms, and the original cuff would have squeezed my arms like poorly made sausages. Ugh. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more of my sheet left to cut new, larger cuffs, so I resorted to double-fold wide bias tape which I managed to find in a similar colour. I like the way they turned out – it might be the first sleeved dress I own that doesn’t pinch my bingo wings!
I added an extra button to the base of the collar – maybe it was my newbish collar-making skills, but I didn’t like the way it sat without it, it looked all wonky and flappy. I also think, next time (for there will be a next time), I will add less interfacing to the collar, as I felt it was a bit stiff with interfacing on every piece.
Now, confession time: This dress actually has a serious flaw. Several of them, in fact. You know how I said it was my first attempt at doing multiple buttonholes? Yeah, that didn’t turn out so well for me. I managed to rip not 1, not 2, but 3 of the damn things by the time I was through. I was horrified. I didn’t know whether to cry or scream. Instead I did neither, took a deep breath, set my sewing machine to a dense zig zag, and sewed over the rips. To my surprise, it’s virtually unnoticeable in photos, and even in person you really have to be looking for it to see the mending. But I know it’s there, and it’s the one thing that saddens me about this otherwise amazing dress.
Fabric: Navy cotton broadcloth, bought from Discount Fabrics, and an old blue bedsheet from Goodwill.
Notions: 15 pale blue chalk buttons from Etsy, lightweight fusible interfacing.
Cost: All up, probably $50. The exchange rate between the Euro and USD isn’t great, and accounted for over half the cost, with shipping. Fabric was around $16 all up.
And the most important, pressing question – would I make it again?