Deer & Doe Bleuet Shirt Dress

Deer and Doe Bleuet shirt dressThis 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 theΒ entireΒ 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?

deer and doe bleuet dress

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.

deer and doe bleuet shirt dress 2

bleuet bowMy 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?!


33 thoughts on “Deer & Doe Bleuet Shirt Dress

  1. Unpicking French seams!! Arghhhhh yes I do get why you left it for so many months! But I’m really glad you plucked up the courage to finish it because it looks wonderful and I love the little bow in Liberty print!
    I’ve never attempted a Deer & Doe pattern before – in fact I just downloaded the free top the other day and now I’m worried to start it haha. Although I doubt it’s as complicated as a multi-panel shirt dress!


    • haha! this comment made me laugh! I think the instructions caused me such trouble just because there are a lot of pattern pieces… hopefully for your top there are quite a lot less! Do let me know how it goes though πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is gorgeous, and was definately worth all the work. I gasped at the bit about unpicking the french seams though. I have this pattern, but haven’t made it yet, totally agree with you about the instructions on Deer and Doe patterns; they really are brief, and frankly, not very good. I had terrible trouble with the bias tape facing instructions on the Belladone dress.


    • haha don’t let the unpicking put you off too much! It was such a pain (and quite heartbreaking) but definitely worth it in the end – it’s a very flattering pattern and really feels like you’ve accomplished something when you get to the end. I wonder how (and why) Deer and Doe decided on their instructions method though? Thanks for your comment!


  3. Beautiful dress, ticks all the right boxes. Totally impressed on your stamina with this, not do sure I have that level of commitment! The lawn contrast really does add that bit of icing. 😊


  4. I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve made! Well done on returning to it, I’ve got two dress WIP’s that I just can’t face going back to – yet..! Love your emails popping into my inbox, please keep them coming.


  5. Congratulations for this gorgeous Bleuet dress, I love the fabric you used!
    Also thank you for giving your input on the instructions. In France we seem to be used to extremely sparse instructions and Deer&Doe is known to be very detailed compared to other french patterns, but I realised it is not the case for international customers: I am working on this, and the new patterns include even more detailed instructions, but don’t hesitate to write to us if you have suggestions on how the booklet can be improved πŸ™‚


    • Hi Eleonore – thank you! My primary suggestion is to include more pictures (as other USA/UK pattern companies do) so you can see what each instruction is supposed to look like. I love the dress though!


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