Other People’s Patterns

Mostly I’ve focused my blogging efforts on the things I’ve been designing myself, but I still use ‘real’ patterns. Deer and Doe is my favorite pattern house, followed by Papercut Patterns. They both produce flattering patterns and their drafting is usually great. I don’t have to make too many adjustments, either, just a broad shoulder adjustment if the pattern is for woven fabrics.

I’ve made 3 garments from Deer & Doe patterns this Spring. Here they are! (I bought a couple of the new Papercut Patterns line, can’t wait to start on them!)

First up the D&D Bleuet in a heavy-ish linen. I made the puff sleeves but ultimately removed them. My shoulders are big enough without accentuating them with poofs!


Sticking with dresses, this one’s an Arum dress. No changes to the pattern were made here. I used a Liberty Tana Lawn that I got on sale. It’s very soft, crisp, and light but creases easily.arum dress

Last up is the Goji Skirt. I didn’t think I was going to buy this pattern initially but I realized it would be perfect for filling the “casual skirt gap” in my wardrobe. I chose this light, South-West inspired blue and white cotton. Despite worrying excessively (or perhaps because of worrying excessively), I got the horizontal stripes to match up on all the seams (I didn’t try to match the repeat within those stripes). And I cut the pockets on the bias.

This is a fun pattern. I really like the paper-bag waistband. I want to make another using a border print in my stash.


Pants Magic Pants

​In which there is much celebratory cursing.

You were warned.

Holyfukkenshityouguys!! I made some pants! And they fit!!! Fuck yea!

I’m sure to the more experienced sewists out there – big deal, its pants, whatever. But I thought I’d never-ever-never make pants. They seemed too daunting of a commitment to tackle.

Feeling like a boss in my Safran pants!
Feeling like a boss in my Safran pants!

I should have known better before making such a statement and letting it take up residence in my brain – because Deer and Doe released a pants pattern.

The Safran pants are high-waisted skinny jeans. I’ve been wanting such a pair of pants for a while now and recently discovered my fave RTW skinny jeans are no longer for sale. Enter Safran.

Making these pants seemed predestined by the Fates and so, being the mortal that I am,  I obeyed.

It’s a fairly easy pattern to sew but it does take some time to do properly. I highly suggest creating a test pair first to get the fit right. Deer and Doe is dedicating September to Safran on their blog with pertinent details, so I’m not getting into picking the right materials and supplies, just chronicling my own Safran journey.

For my test pair, I chose this super soft denim jersey knit. Initially I was afraid it would be too thin of a fabric, but it’s just dreamy – a very soft, drapey, stretchy knit with just enough body to make me feel like I don’t have to cover my butt. (leggings aren’t pants, sorry/not sorry)
I cut everything at a size 38. The pockets are easier to make than regular welts and the zipper was so much easier than I feared (except for when my zipper pull came off at the very end of installation, which I could NOT get back on, and my much calmer husband had to step in to fix it).
There were a few minor fit issues for me. Most glaringly, the pants were 2.5″ too long and bagged at the knees. I resolved this by cutting the bottoms short and tapering the pants from the knees down. While this worked fine, next time I will preemptively shorten the pants at one of the designated lengthen/shorten lines. This should also fix the baggy knees.
I made the changes before top stitching the outer leg and crotch seams. Once the pants fit to my liking, I went back and top stitched with the requisite amount of patience.
The waistband is also about 1″ too big, which might fix itself when I make the pants shorter, but I intend to grade the pattern down a size from the hip up to the waistband. The only thing I’m unsure of is the overall rise – I think it’s too high on me but I need to wear my test pair around some more before determining that.
Oh, and I didn’t use any fusible knit interfacing for this, just another piece of the self fabric sandwiched between the inner and outer waistband. DON’T DO THIS. Buy the damn interfacing. I mean, it worked, but my seams are bulky and they gave Eugenia one helluva time when it came to top stitching.
Overall, its a great pattern and I had a blast making it. I already have fabric for the next/ “real” pair.

Help me Tyra! I dont know what I’m doing!
Lodger pose…



Pants No.2 are finished! I took in the waist per D&D’s blog instructions on reducing swayback, which turned out great! I shortened the legs by 2.5″ using the lower lengthen/shorten line. It didn’t really fix the baggy knees, but rather moved the location of the bagginess up a bit, so I still had to take them in.

Bum two


In which two blouses become one.

It’s ALIIIIIVE!!! Ahem – I mean, I finally got around to making a Bleuet blouse.

I bought this soft chambray at Loom Morningside to make a Zinnia skirt. After cutting the skirt, I had a tantalizing yard-ish of fabric left.

Sometimes I get an idea in my head and become obsessed with seeing if I can make it happen. I wanted a blouse from these scraps. Real bad.

I surveyed this scant yard with a steely gaze. Could I eek out a blouse from this? Fervently, I raided my patterns, laying out bodice pieces and sleeves to no avail but for one: the Bleuet.

Its princess seamed bodice pieces were skinny enough to finagle into fitting onto the scrap. I had barely enough for the sleeves and 1 of the 2 requisite collar pieces. I cut the underside collar from gray voile scraps but decided to leave out the collar stand.

It’s worth noting that I graded the pattern from a size 38 to a 42 from the armscye and up, to make room for my football player shoulders.

I breezed through the bodice construction and sewed up the gathered sleeves, French seams and all.

The sleeves were terrible. The gathers stood tall and high, like those of a starchy pilgrim on a Sunday afternoon . They had to go.

Bad nasty bad gathers
Bad nasty bad gathers


**seam ripping montage**

I don’t much like gathered sleeves to begin with and resolved to make regular sleeves from the salvaged pieces. This is where Aierelle came in.

I used the short version of the Aierelle sleeve to replace the Bleuet’s poofy ones. The new sleeve fit well over the curved parts of the armscye, but the ends need to be lengthened by about 1/4 inch each to fit properly.

Next I attached the collar to the neckline. It worked, but it really needs the collar stand. I used a French seam to attach it and top stitched under the collar to secure it. To create the placket, I folded the placket first to the wrong side, then to the right side and stitched across the top, making sure to cover the raw edge of the collar’s French seam.

Aah that’s better!

Buttons and hems and a monster is born. It’s a little bit wonky, I admit, but for a fevered experiment, it came out alright. I love wearing it and will definitely make another. However, I would make it longer and use the proper collar stand next time around.
Rippers up!

The Embarrassing Blouse

In which a blouse unearths some internal misogyny.

I was excitedly impatient to make a new blouse, so I pulled out a light-weight voile with bright little flowers over a blue-gray background, that was originally purchased to make a camisole. A camisole nobody would see. 

The pattern, Aierelle, is from one of my favorite designers – Deer and Doe. Their patterns have a marvelous touch of whimsy and fit me really well. Recently, they added a “hack” to create short sleeves to the Airelle blouse and I knew I had to make it! So I pulled out the flowery voile and some solid pink voile I used to make my Mother a nightdress. Together, I had enough to craft a blouse that had a contrasting pink yoke with the brunt of the blouse being flowery.

Airelle is a relatively easy blouse to sew – the hardest part is gathering the sleeves to fit within the sleeve cuffs. I had a relaxing time of it and expected to be thoroughly pleased with the final product. And I was.

Until I tried it on.

Looking in the mirror at my flower-and-pink blouse with it’s little Peter Pan collar and gathered sleeves, I suddenly got really embarrassed. All I could think was, “it’s so…girly. How will anyone take me seriously in this?”. So I pulled it off, hung it in the closet and sulked to bed.

Just because something is generally deemed feminine or girly doesn’t mean it’s embarrassing. It’s such a crucial tenant of feminism – that being a woman, being femme, is OK.

Even knowing that, believing that, I felt self-conscious.

It’s strange how certain ideas creep so deeply into our minds, subverting what we believe, cutting the legs out from under independent thought.

So I wore it to work the next day. And guess what? I didn’t feel embarrassed at all. Once the blouse was on my body, once I started moving though my day, once I had filled it with my energy, I didn’t care that it was girly. I didn’t care that I’m NOT girly. I became one with the shirt. The shirt became one with me.

It’s difficult to shake the deeply seated notion that girly things are shameful. In the end, you have to wear what you like (and isn’t that what sewing is all about?). You have to assert your true being. For me, that’s a mix of the masculine and feminine. It’s wearing a pink-and-flowers blouse with confidence and pride. We can conquer our own insecurities -if only one blouse at a time.