This post has been a long time coming! I started this dress in July last year (yes, you read that correctly – JULY). Now that it’s finished, however, I wish I’d gotten it done a lot sooner! It’s a definite gem of a dress pattern. The problem was that I sewed a load of the pieces together wrongly and then life got in the way as it tends to do and, well, it just hung on it’s hanger as a WIP for months on end… anyway, now it’s finished!
The Deer and Doe ‘Bleuet’ is a shirt dress made up of lots of panels, with buttons down the front, little puff sleeves and a collar. Oh and an adorable little bow at the back! I do love it, although I definitely don’t recommend the pattern for a beginner seamstress – the pattern envelope is marked as ‘advanced’ and probably for good reason: there are a lot of parts to it.
The dress body is made up of a back panel, which is stitched to 2 side back panels, then 2 front side panels, then 2 more front panels. I made the mistake of not paying enough attention to the instructions (we’ll come to those in a minute) and got my side back panels mixed up with my side front panels… meaning that I had to unpick the entire dress to be able to rectify my mistake. What’s worse is that I’d French-seamed every single one of them. Can you see why I abandoned it for so long?
My problem is mainly that the instructions that come with the pattern are really not very clear. They’re described on the website as ‘a detailed instruction booklet’ but I honestly do beg to differ here! For a start, there are only about 4 pictures, meaning that the majority of instructions are just big blocks of text along the lines of ‘Now stitch this to that, and that to this, and hem that bit, then finish this bit’. Without a picture to refer to, I frequently had to look at other people’s blogs for help or resort to asking for a hand on Twitter. But I got there in the end. Thank you if you were one of the people who gave me advice!
Once I’d sussed the instructions out the overall construction of the dress turned out to be fairly straightforward – the puff sleeves are just cap-style sleeves with a bit of gathering and a band of contrasting fabric attached around the bottom and the collar is fitted in the same way as every other pattern I’ve come across. I did omit the hem facing though – as many other bloggers seem to have done – because after a lot of thought I decided it was a bit unnecessary and so I just hemmed the dress as normal instead.
My fabric, by the way, is a little out of the ordinary: the denim-look cotton came from a ‘coupons’ shop in Paris and cost me 5 euros for about 5 metres. I’m not even sure how to describe it, it’s kind of a cross between a chambray and a lawn? It doesn’t crease like a chambray but it doesn’t have as much sheen as a lawn, and isn’t as stiff or thin as a polycotton. Whatever it is, it’s really lovely! I used a piece of Liberty fabric (from a big roll of scraps and strips my mum got me as a present) for the bow detail and the sleeve bands. I think it makes an otherwise plain blue dress just a little more interesting.
So, now that it’s finally finished (almost a year later), what do you think? Have you ever made the Bleuet dress or other Deer and Doe pattern? I’m intrigued as to whether any of the other patterns have similarly difficult instructions! Let me know!
PS – isn’t this just the perfect dress for Sunday brunch at Betty’s?!