Deer & Doe Bleuet

I present, my first make from Deer & Doe patterns: the Bleuet dress.


I had been eyeing up this pattern for a while. Although, I’m sad to say, I’m not a big fan of many of the versions I’ve seen, I still loved the style and details (Jo asked me why I decided to make it when I haven’t seen any versions I love. My answer was “I figured I could make it better). Weirdly, I’ve loved almost every version of the Belladone, but actually dislike the pattern itself.


After making it up, I’m not sure how I feel about this dress.


  • Cute as hell
  • Look at that bow in the princess seam!
  • Details that I love: sleeves and collar (with a stand)
  • I like linen! And it was only $3/m, crazy talk.
  • My first collar stand went pretty well.


  • The fit is not great. I awesomely didn’t make a muslin, and so the waist sits too high (about 2″) and the hips are too flared (I measured the pieces and determined I needed more). Consequently it’s not as flattering as I’d like, because it’s missing the narrowest part of my waist.
  • The construction.. ugh. When I tried it on half-way through, it was going to be too small over the bust – so instead of folding the placket over twice, I folded once – leaving an overlocked edge exposed (inside). If I left it at that, it would be too big above the chest, so I took more of a wedge there…. messy.
  • The pattern instructions are sparce. Whether that’s how they started off (I think so) or because they’re translated I’m not sure. They’re fine, and you could easily get away with not using them at all, but one of my favourite things about indie patterns (particularly Sewaholic and Papercut patterns) is the attention to detail in the instructions, ensuring a nice inside to the garment.
  • Despite being careful to put a button over the breast point, it still gapes a bit, so I’ll always have to wear a slip (I need to make one – currently I just have op-shop polyester numbers) and even then it’s a bit dodgy.
  • I did horizontal buttonholes because I figured that way they wouldn’t have any chance of popping open. It’s true, but the placket wasn’t wide enough so the buttonholes go off the edge of the interfacing…


You can see the dodgily tapered button placket on the left.

Despite the issues, it is wearable and looks quite nice on, so I will continue to wear it (can you tell I’m in a negative mood as I write this? Goodness knows why, just one of those days). I’m just not sure I’ll make this pattern up again.

ImageThis is in response to Mr. Guy telling me to straighten my posture. Mega-gape.


Pattern: Bleuet (blueberry) by Deer & Doe Patterns

Fabric: navy textured linen, $3/m from The Fabric Warehouse pop-up sale, $6

Notions: 15 buttons, $1.20 each. Thread and interfacing, stash. Total = $18

Total: $24


My question to you: why do you choose to sew with indie patterns (if at all)? Is it because of the designs, the instructions, certain fits (like those drafted to pear shapes), supporting small businesses, or a sense of loyalty to the sewing community and mistrust of The Big Four?

PS what the hang is with wordpress’s spellcheck? It doesn’t know the words “waist”, “sew”, and “pear”. Wut


It’s a zoo out there!

Late last year Juliet had an idea for the January Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) meet up: zoo at the zoo. The idea was to make clothes with animal fabric/animal themed, and visit the zoo to celebrate. Apparently it’s also Jungle January, although I’m not so sure what that even is.


January worked out well because there was two-for-one tickets at Wellington Zoo, and the day worked well because my sister-in-law was working and I was able to watch her try to excite kids in games about Australian animals (it was Australian day… Jo was not impressed with all the pro-Australian greetings from staff!)


My skirt is, of course, Gertie’s high-waisted skirt, made in a bottom-weight Zebra-printed cotton from The Fabric Store. I bought it on another WSBN outing (the Craft Crawl run by The Dreamstress) – Zara grabbed the bolt from a part of the store I rarely look at, and I immediately rushed over and nabbed some for myself. This type of fabric is one of my favourites – it’s not obviously crazy patterned from far away but when you get close you see how awesome it is.


(I hate this Glassons t-shirt; the seams twists like crazy which is uncomfortable and not nice aesthetically, but the slouchy yet fitted shape is exactly what I want to wear with skirts.)

Construction wise, the skirt has no surprises. I used my already-altered pattern (and have realised that I need to take about 2cm out of the front panel, as it’s a touch loose and the side seams sit a touch further back than they should). Everything is sewn then overlocked, with an enclosed waistband using my stich-in-the-ditch foot (I love this thing!). The zip is lapped and I used the last black button from my stash (my red Gertie skirt is still lacking a button and I have to safety pin it up).


I got clothing tags! The quality is so-so (they’re polyester and unravel so bad at the sides that I have to burn each edge) but it’s really cool having labels in my hand-made clothes – seems so much more professional. I’ve been adding them to newly made stuff but should go back and add them to clothes I made a while ago.


I only bought 0.8m of it (the PERFECT amount for the skirt – I usually end up rounding up how much I need but end up having annoying 20cm scraps left over, so luckily Leimomi convinced me I didn’t need more than 80cm). I therefore didn’t bother pattern matching (too busy to need it, I figure) but I did end up with a lovely two-headed zebra over the zip (the magic of fusible stay tape. I would also like to point out how nice my darts are sitting – a combination of using my tailors ham and starting the dark from the top and sewing off the edge (of the point) means they don’t bubble.


My husband tells me this is not what Zebra’s do.


Pattern: Gertie’s high-waisted skirt (from her book), used for the 6th time

Fabric: 0.8m or heavy cotton from The Fabric Store, I-don’t-remember-how-much, approx $16. Black fabric (for waistband) is leftover from another skirt.

Notions: zip, thread and button, stash

Total: about $16. Frick yes! This is why we sew, ladies and gents.


And, a WSBN group photo:

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/e54c7-dsc05336.jpgClockwise from top-left: Jo, Juliet, Joy, Zara, Gemma, Sandra, Kat and Myself.


Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network

Elisabeth – The Sewphist and Hand Make Me Over

Emma – The Takahe Bites

Gemma – Sixty Six Stitches

Gillian – Sewing Down Under

Holly – Polucraftual

Jenna – Ruby Dust

Johanna –  Making It Well

Joy – A Charm of Magpies

Juliet – Crazy Gypsy Chronicles

Kat – Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Pieces of Us

Leimomi – The Dreamstress

Maryanne – Made Marion Craft and Sent From My iRon

MaryLouise – Thanks! I Made This Myself! 

Melissa – The Curious Kiwi

Nicola – Piccolo Presents

Nikki – Nikki’s Stitches

Sandra J – Sewist Stitch

Sandra M – Flossie FT

Sophie-Lee – Two Random Words

Teresa – Adventures of a Girl from the Naki

Wendy – Sew Biased

Zara – Off-grid Chic

The January meet up, at the zoo. There’s so many of us it’s hard to get us all in the same place at once!


Reaffirming my love for Sewaholic Hollyburn

You will have to excuse the wrinkles – I wore this skirt two days in a row (!) before taking these photos, and forgot to iron it first.


This pattern…. well. It is, in my opinion, expertly drafted, especially for me. It’s quick to cut and to sew – I cut it out during some down time at work, and it probably took 2.5 hours TOPS to make. The pockets are the perfect size and sit nice and flat. Both this and the other version I still wear (in silk, see here) are cut on the bias so the fullness of is spread evenly around. I’ve also made this a few others times – one was version C and too short for me (so got given to Tough Chick – photos to come), another I made in the wrong fabric and gave it away.


It’s also comfortable and easy to wear – it fits snugly around the waist (good) and flares out over the hips (good). This is version A and is my favourite length for a skirt, just under the knees (good). It’s a perfect work skirt as it’s modest, cute and, well, I could run to an emergency while keeping my dignity if I really needed to.

I made this version out of a sturdy cotton twill from The Fabric Store. After making this up so quick I very, very much wanted to run off and get more but I’m trying desperately to restrain myself – I’m going AWAY damnit, and don’t need more fabric.

Mr. Guy and I went for a drive and took these photos at Island Bay, Wellington. I’m surprised none of the photos show the crazy wind and waves.


Although it took me so little time to sew, I did do it over a few days because I forgot to buy a matching zip at the store. I’m lucky enough to have an excellent friend that owns a craft shop, who will create a parcel of things I need, and leave the door unlocked 15 minutes past closing time so I can run and get it when Mr. Guy forgets to.


I did a lapped zipper and this time could actually get my head around doing one when the zip hits the top of the waistband (you just… fold it). I loved lapped zips, I never really did a nice centered zip that didn’t gape, so I’m glad I found this technique (as mentioned before, I use Scruffy Badger’s mothers technique).

My favourite bit is the hemline – I decided to use bias binding as a hem tape, because the skirt is quite full. Mrs C chose the bias binding based on my description of the colour as “grey-navy” and it is perfect. I just wish I could show it off to strangers more.


Even now my folding and stitching isn’t, erm, the straightest. If you’re looking at the binding side is looks a bit wonky, but I sewed it with right-side-up keeping an even distance from the edge, so it’s straight where it counts.



Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt

Fabric: Cotton twill from The Fabric Store, $18/m with 40% off VIP sale, $21.60

Notions: Zip ~$4 and bias binding $7

Total: $32.60

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/p10506891.jpgI would also like to mention how amazing it is that someone found my blog yesterday by googling “erotica better than my husband”. It obviously directed them to this post but what were they really looking for?


Tough chick dressed by Sophie: Part One

Meet Tough Chick, my soon-to-be-sister-in-law (the wedding is one week away!!). She doesn’t like shopping, but does love receiving the clothes I’ve made and for whatever reason don’t want any more. There are more that I’ve given her that she ended up taking to the op-shop because they didn’t fit her style either (and plenty more that I’ve made and gotten rid of other ways).

Please note: most of these items were made a while ago (>9m ago) and I feel, thankfully, that my sewing skill has improved dramatically since then.

This will be a rather photo-heavy post because I don’t have much to say about the clothes! I’m really just presenting my awesome SIL to the blogging world AKA the blogosphere (that’s for my husbands benefit, as he HATES that word. Blogosphere, hehe)

ImageThis dress is made from a pattern I have since got rid of, because the style didn’t suit me at all. So, can’t even remember the name or brand.

ImageThe fabric was a steal at $5/m at the Spotlight in Nelson (my home town). It’s beautiful but really not my colour! This dress was made early 2012 and was the first thing given to Tough Chick. She was excited but didn’t know there was so much more to come.

ImageThe next lovely number modelled by Tough Chick also features Jane The Dog:

ImageIt’s made in a really really nice cotton sateen in pale blue with almost-Sakura like flowers (from Nelson Spotlight. I loved this but too short and the skirt was a bit too small, I think. This was also made in Nelson in early 2012 and was first worn taking my grandma out to High Tee. She was very impressed at my sewing prowess!

ImageI thought this was made from New Look 6824 – but I remember the pattern came with the bow belt, so it can’t be. I have obviously got rid of this pattern too.ImageThe next is a cotton-drill skirt made in Christchurch in late 2012. Note, all the tops in these posts were also given to her by me but were RTW. I’m now wondering why I gave this navy wool one away…

ImageLucky for you, Tough Chick is a great dancer:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageThis skirt is just too dang small for me 😦 But check out the completely-accidental-sort-of-pattern matching on the zip and waistband!

ImageOkay, as well as being a photo heavy post, it’s not very intellectually stimulating. Probably because I haven’t had nearly enough sleep this week and agreed to do an extra half-shift tomorrow (only 7 hours rather than the usual 15 – do you know I work about 50-60 hours a week?), and I’m sitting here freezing my butt off because Wellington doesn’t know that it’s SUMMER.

Tomorrow will be dealt with by lots of coffee, and by dreaming of all the fabric and I can buy with the extra money…


Birdy dress – Anna with gathered skirt

A summer dress to present to you all.


The bodice is made from By Hand London’s Anna and the skirt is a plain gathered “dirndl” style skirt (just two rectangles gathered and attached to the bodice).


I’m interested in the feelings I have about this dress. I think a lot of us who sew are a lot more judgemental about our own items, as compared to the RTW (ready to wear) clothes that we buy – it seems that I have always been rather accepting of all the fitting issues of RTW, so long as it mainly fits (perhaps that’s largely due to the fact that I’ve always been overweight, so clothing fitting/zipping up has always been a bonus. With my own clothes, however, I get caught up on quite minor issues that no one would ever notice.
I think it’s helpful to reflect on this in order to be happier with our craft. I don’t really go clothes shopping any more (RTW-free for 8 months so far) but I have gone into a couple of shops and tried things on and.. well, let’s just say it gives you a good perspective! The fabrics are not very nice, and the fit tends to be terrible.
Take this dress, that I bought from MAC several years ago to wear to Mr. Guy’s brothers wedding:
ImageIf you excuse the fact that I was a bit heavier, and the photo is blurry… this dress fits me terribly! Too short, too low, the waist is crazy high (it’s a gathered skirt on an empire line dress for goodness sake), it’s 100% polyester, and the pattern placement on the bodice leaves something to be desired. And yet, I loved this dress, put it on lay by and paid it off over several weeks. I think I only wore it that once.
In terms of my bird dress today, I feel like the waist is too high (by ~1″ rather than 3″ on the RTW version), the darts are definitely in the wrong place (as with all FOUR of my Anna dresses!) the shoulders sit a bit far back/the whole dress wants to slide back a bit (balance is off), and it’s perhaps a touch too long. The bias binding neckline didn’t work so well (I’ve decided I dislike these even more than facings, which I thought I disliked the most). That’s it, but I’m still so critical of it.

ImageIt can be so off-putting sewing something up only to be unhappy with the result, that I would encourage you (especially beginners), to not be so hard on yourselves! This dress cost me very little for the fabric quality, fits me well, is going to be really comfortable when Wellington decided to be summery (although I’m a bit worried about the skirt in this wind!)

ImageI constantly have to remind myself that whatever fitting issues I have, my clothes are still better than RTW. There may be construction issues, yet – but that’s okay, I’m still learning and my main problem is actually impatience.

ImageAnyway, I guess I should say a bit more about the dress itself. This is a simple dress made from a birdy rayon from Arthur Toye. The bodice is made from By Hand London’s Anna and the skirt is a plain gathered “dirndl” style skirt (just two rectangles gathered and attached to the bodice).

The dress is sewn in the flat and all seams finished with the overlocker. I hemmed it using the narrow hem feature on my overlocker (I LOVE this). In making the skirt, I just made it as long as I could and forgot to leave some fabric to make a facing from. I decided to do a bias binding neckline, which ended up looking like crap so the dress hung in my wardrobe for a month or so before I unpicked it and did it again – instead of sewing all the way around, I’ve just tacked it down at about 6 different spots. Seems to have worked alright, and saved me a lot of hand sewing.

ImageThis dress is going to be especially good for Camp A Low Hum, the best music festival in the world, that we’re going to in early February. Hopefully it’s super sunny like the last time I went (3 years ago) and this super-light weight rayon will be a life-saver. I also have another rayon that’s waiting to be made up into a ground-length Anna (hopefully after I’ve sorted out the bust pleats) for the same festival.


Let me cuddle you!


Pattern: By Hand London’s Anna bodice with a gathered skirt

Fabric: 100% rayon from Arthur Toye sale, originally $25/m, 2m = $25

Notions: cream zip, stash (for some reason) and thread, stash.

Total: $25

ImageI don’t know what I’m doing here but I look pretty fab.


Giveaway winners

Alright! Thanks to everyone for participating: we had 67 entries/comments in total, and I had a HUGE amount of people start following the blog (leading to increased strutting at work). Thanks to Jo and Thread Theory for spreading the word.

My dear husband put all the numbers into a random number generator, and the winners are:

  • Number 65, Cammie, has won the hardcopy – looks like your dad is going to get an awesome cardigan!!
  • Number 29, Fenna, has one the PDF copy  – your husband is also going to get his cardigan 😀

I bet this is you two right now:https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/wowab1.gif

Thanks to all those that entered! And thanks so much to Sarah, Morgan and Matt for providing the patterns. For those who didn’t win, Sew Squirrel will have the paper versions in stock soon to order (I’d like to buy all three, even though I own all the PDF versions already).

And sorry there’s no finished garment today – there could have been, I even finished a dress today in sunlight hours ready to be photographed; but I left my camera at my SIL’s house. Dang.