Deer & Doe is a pattern company that I’ve admired from afar for a while. When they first started the patterns were entirely in French, which wouldn’t have stopped me but it would have slowed me down, but I am sometimes trigger shy when it comes to buying online. I’m much more likely to pick things up in an actual store. Last year when visiting Pedro in Denver, we visited a craft and sewing store called Fancy Tiger Crafts (really awesome place if you’re in the area) and I picked up my first Deer & Doe pattern the Datura Blouse.
The word datura wasn’t familiar to me so I looked it up. The interwebs say it’s a stocky, flowering herb with spiney seed pods and trumpet shaped white or purple flowers. Not sure if that’s what the pattern is actually named for but it’s interesting to know, and now I’ll probably always associate the pattern with spikey seed pods and trumpet flowers.
Pattern: Datura Blouse by Deer & Doe
Fabric: Both fabrics are remnants from my stash, and probably previously from my mom’s stash. These are probably both rayon-type blends based on the way they handle and press, the white might be more of a viscose. This is a great pattern for small amount of fabric, so even though my fabrics were from the depths of stashdom, they’ll be going back into the stashdom because I didn’t use them up completely (can’t waste it right?).
Design Likes/Dislikes: I like the style a lot, but it’s not very innovative in this first version I’ve made (plain neckline, no collar). I bought the pattern because I loved the cut out triangles (which I will be making next time). I don’t understand the point of the back buttons though, wouldn’t they hurt when you’re leaning against a hard surface? And they don’t go all the way up the back (to where the top is more fitted) so they’re obviously not needed to get into the top (hence why I left them off). The construction of this top is really awesome and I’m going to try to remember to use it when lining other sleeveless things.
Sizing and Fit: I think I traced a size 36, I didn’t write it down anywhere so I don’t know for sure. But that’s the size I usually use in european patterns, and it fits very well – mostly fitted on top and very swingy and loose on bottom. The neckline gaps just a little but I think that’s more due to the upper fabric not being stable and possibly stretching out.
Changes: Datura has a lot of design options, so it isn’t really a change, but I made the version with a plain neckline and no collar. I omitted the back buttons by just cutting the back piece smaller, it probably would have looked nicer if I’d also cut it on the fold, but oh well.
For Next Time: Triangle cut outs, definitely.
I got to be a pattern tester for Sewaholic’s latest pattern the Gabriola (GABE-ree-ola) skirt! I didn’t really have enough time, but I’m never going to have more time so I’m happy I did it. Having a deadline that actually mattered to someone else gave me more motivation. This is a super cool skirt anyways, I have never owned a maxi skirt (beyond a couple formal dresses) and I’m still not sure if the style is me (I can’t exactly wear a sweeping rayon maxi skirt with 2-3 feet of standing snow on the ground), but I can always cut it off (I actually never hemmed it for that reason…).
Pattern: Sewaholic 1401 Gabriola Skirt
Fabric: Black rayon. I was heavily influenced by one of the sample photos Tasia sent the other pattern testers and I, she just looked so sleek in the black version I couldn’t resist. I personally think this skirt shines in solid colors.
Design Likes/Dislikes: Since I was a pattern tester, the version of the pattern I have wasn’t a final product so I hope a few things have changed since then because I had a hell of a time getting all the panels to fit into a neat point in the front – they just didn’t fit! The waistband instructions were lacking too, I ripped my waist band completely off and redid it.
That said, I still think this is a super awesome skirt. The panels hug my hips and the flair of the skirt is dramatic in motion. At knee length I could see owning 5 more of these skirts in every color. And the panels could be in different colors or have a trim between them to make the lines pop.
Sizing and Fit: I made a size 4 and I think the fit is pretty good. The skirt sits at my natural waist and the side panels fit very well, no fiddling with the side seams at all. I cut a couple inches off the bottom.
For Next Time: Piping or a bright color like blue or green.
Two projects I started a while ago:
Not difficult, I just got tired of them along the way I guess. But I really wanted to get them out of my “in progress” queue (I really hate having unfinished projects taking up valuable queue space). First, the pillow case came out of the desire to embroider something more useful than just cowtows. Only problem is the embroidery only took me a couple hours, cutting out and sewing (with a long intermission) took significantly longer. Of course I didn’t make it easy and decided I needed a border… Oh and the squirrel pattern came from the book Little Stitches.
The walrus came from a pattern in the book Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals. Stuffed animals are so cute, but they take more work that I’m willing to put into them most of the time. I took some short cuts with the walrus too. First, he isn’t all fleece, his face is felt because that’s what I had on hand (tiny stash bust) and I colored his eyes with sharpy. His tusks are muslin and not stuffed. And finally most of his body is stuffed with fabric scraps, with some polyfill added in to make him not too lumpy. He’s goofy looking, but still cute.
Long time, no see! I’ve been slowly working on this project for about a month now, and taking it slow really payed off I think.
This style is a bit of an experiment for me. But I love the fabric, and I even have a ton more to make something else with.
Pattern: BurdaStyle Peplum Top 08/2012 #113
Fabric: Mystery, it’s really awesome fabric but I got it from my Mom (who might have also gotten it from my Grandma) so I don’t know what it really is, probably a blend. It’s got a decent weight but is very drapey, with a kindof twill weave I think. And great color and print of course, I probably have 3-4 yards of this still (Grandma seemed to have a habit of buying in bulk when she liked something but didn’t have a plan) so you might see this again some day.
Design Likes/Dislikes: Like I said above, the peplum is an experiment. I’ve made a peplum top before, but this peplum is an attention hog. It’s almost tunic length and so far I think it only looks good paired with my straight, black skirt. But I like the way it looks, it probably just won’t be in high rotation (no rotation right now because it’s so damn cold outside).
Sizing and Fit: I made a size 36 and I think the fit is pretty amazing, like the front is spot on with no adjustments. The back is a little big, but if it wasn’t I don’t think it would be comfortable. I tried to be careful but the back pieces may have stretched out some because the whole back looks longer than the technical drawing (I guess it looks like the model photo though). This is most noticeable at the back waist seam because it doesn’t match up.
OH and do you see my zipper? No? That’s ’cause it’s INVISIBLE. Seriously, this is my first invisible zipper EVER. Bia gave me an invisible zipper foot for my Bernina for christmas and I just followed this tutorial on the Coletterie. Perfection. So much so that when I pulled it up closed for the first time and saw how far off the waist seam was, I decided not to redo it. You can’t really see the misalignment anyways because of the print. I can only attribute it too fabric creep anyways, this stuff is wiggly.
The sleeves are not great, they fit perfectly when my arms are down, but pull up strangely with movement. It’s not too much of a problem because the fabric lets them get back in place just fine.
Changes: Only the order of construction. I left the side seams last for fit checking and to make inserting the sleeves easier. Sooo much easier this way. I also bound most of the seams, or pinked them, because the fabric frays like there’s no tomorrow.
For Next Time: Long sleeves, and maybe a longer skirt to make it a dress (basically just #115 from the same issue). It’s been crazy cold up here in the “north country” for more than a month so anything long sleeved is on my mind.
I enjoyed reading everyone else’s year end reviews, but decided pretty quickly I didn’t care enough to calculate my own. I’m way too analytical with my reviews and it ends up not even being that much fun for me. On top of that, I just don’t care. I make things as I feel like it because I enjoy the process and the end result. I enjoy writing about what I make and sharing it here, but I don’t like challenges, sew-a-longs, or quotas because sewing/crafting is my me time. It’s supposed to be fun and nothing else (see blog header above).
I will tell you about my sewing related activities and christmas haul from the end of last year though!
I’ve never inserted an invisible zipper because everyone always complains it’s so hard with out a special foot. That may or may not be true but now I have a special foot so it doesn’t matter! Next I’d like to get a rolled hem foot.
I didn’t do much sewing at all because after going home for a visit, Mr. Husband and I had some house guests sleeping in my sewing cave (yay to see a friend we don’t see often, boo no sewing room or personal space). But while I was home Bia and I dyed a ton of fabric brown. Why you ask? (you didn’t ask? too bad I’m going to tell you) Because my Da decided last year that he no longer wants to dress for Halloween as a Civil War Union infantry man c. 1862, as he has for the last 20 some years (my Da is a history buff, often going to civil war reenactments, and is something of an expert on military history. I’ve been trying for quite a while to get him to write a blog post up about civil war era clothing, but no luck so far). Instead, he now wants to be a medieval, sword wielding monk, and I’m supposed to make the monk robe for him (there wasn’t so much asking involved more like involuntary volunteering by Da. At least he’s learned that there’s no way Bia would agree to making it?). Apparently he’s been thinking about this for quite a while and had a replica sword all picked out so we could get if for him for christmas. I’ll go into more detail on the whole thing (it was a big deal deciding what kind of fabric to buy) later when I’ve actually done something with it (I’ve even got some new historic clothing books, see above photo). Right now I just have a heavy pile of ~8 yards of brown handwoven cotton sitting in the sewing cave (Spot enjoys sitting on it).
Once the cave is put back in order I’ll probably just do some alterations so I have more pants to wear to work (it’s so freaking cold here for the last month it’s ridiculous. It seriously felt amazing the two days that got above freezing a couple weeks ago, I could have walked around without a coat it felt so nice), nothing exciting.
Pedro returned recently from her semester abroad in Vladivostok, Russia and brought home not one, but two dolls for me! The first is a porcelain Anna Karenina doll that I’ve posted more about on the Toy Box. The second is a Pedro-made “bell doll.” The entire doll is tied together, no sewing on it at all. Bell dolls are apparently good luck charms of sorts, they’re given to children for birthdays and holidays. Pedro tells me the reason they have no face is because they have no soul, and therefore cannot be infiltrated by evil spirits like people can.
I’ll be using mine as a christmas ornament mostly because it was my christmas present. Pedro found a tutorial online for making these dolls that looks pretty straight forward, maybe by next christmas I’ll get around to making my own version! If you don’t read Russian (like me), you’ll probably need to use a translator to read anything on this site, but the photos are actually very good and easy enough to follow along with out understanding the language.
I make ornament’s every year, it’s good fun. This year I just painted some simple pre-made paper mache ornaments from the craft store for my cousins and nephew. But then I was feeling like my ornament game had been slipping in recent years and I wanted to do something a little more traditional. Enter Kelli of True Bia and her second annual Ornament Exchange, this year expanded to include more than just bloggers that she personally selected.
I had actually started making these doves before I read about the Ornament Exchange, I was thinking about making a wreath out of them (hence why I made 13 instead of just 6, the number I needed for the exchange), but change is continuous. The pattern is from an old Christmas craft book that was in my Grandma’s collection called Christmas Stitchery by Sandra Lounsbury Foose, published in 1986. The instructions call for felt and hand stitching, which I didn’t like, so I used pinking shears to cut the pieces out and sewed everything wrong sides together with my machine. I think they look better this way too.
Why blue? Because that is the only color of quilting cotton I had on hand (I’m semi planing to make a quilt with all of it someday), but Bia recently sent me a whole box stuffed with red, green, and white fabric scraps! I am obviously the favorite child.
I’ll probably save some of these for next year to give to the kids in my family, unless I make something else along the way. It’s pretty fun getting ornaments from other people in the mail, can’t wait to see what everyone else did on Kelli’s blog. Here are links to the ornaments I made in 2012 and 2011.