Here it is, the work of a day: my first Robe Sureau by Deer & Doe.
I didn't set out to make a dress in a day.
I cut it out late last night and intended to just sew a little before settling down with my knitting in front of a dvd... but then I was swept away by the idea of having a new dress to wear tomorrow.
A dress fit to meet the Queen!
No, actually I'm not kidding...
Pattern: Robe Sureau by Deer & Doe, size 36 with slight adjustments at the waist (see below).
Fabric: 2 metres of a warm cotton / viscose seersucker-ish plaid, from Mandors in Edinburgh at the Crafters' Ceilidh back in January. Cost? About £12 in total, I think.
Buttons: 1940's vintage, rescued from my over-sized Eva Dress trousers.
Lace: (Added to insides of hems of skirt and sleeves) From the depths of the stash, bought at eebaay at least 8 years ago.
Zip: From stash.
OK, can I just say that this fabric was horribly difficult to match up? The check itself was bad enough, but the seersucker-ish texture added to my troubles. It is bouncy!
I can only assume there is some sort of elastication running through the puckered sections of the fabric, which made it wriggle out of alignment, just when I thought I had got my pattern-matching nailed.
The mis-match is at its worst around the junction of the bodice and the skirt.
But that's what belts are for! ; )
Luckily, I managed to get the checks to line up on the bodice front... with a bit of finagling.
But you really want to know about the Deer & Doe pattern, don't you?
Friends? It is FABULOUS!
Seriously, I am SO impressed by the presentation, the drafting, the instructions, the design...
This is everything you want an independent pattern to be.
Rather like Megan Nielsen's patterns, it is printed on sturdy paper, which I chose to trace.
It comes complete with a comprehensive instruction booklet (printed on recycled paper) which is currently only available in French. (But an English version is on its way.)
I will come clean with you: I can read French without much difficulty. It was my second-best subject at school (after Latin!) and I have kept it up through occasional novel-reading and regular blog-reading. I can't speak the language for toffee, and my written French is a bit ropey, but yes, I am a fluent reader.
Are the diagrams enough? Probably not, to be honest.
Unless you understand or Google-translate the words, you will miss the helpful advice on details like finishing the seams. As an experienced sew-ist you would probably do your own thing and make a perfectly wearable garment, but the instructions are good and well worth following.
I was most impressed by the bodice design.
The neckline is pretty low, but I think a girl with a bigger bust would have more to hold it up! It is intended for a C or D cup, and I am neither of those. Nevertheless, I think I get away with it.
The facing is impeccable. I would consider having it on the outside of the dress instead of the inside. Seriously!
It is built to stay in place and was drafted to within a millimetre of perfection.
My weird fabric did not suit double-layering, so I used a simple poly-cotton remnant from the stash.
The only thing I did differently was that I added a strip of bias tape on the underside of the false buttonband, to cover the raw edges of my super-fraying fabric: zigzags were not enough!
In terms of size, I found the given waist measurements to be alarmingly small. I chose to cut the size 36 as it fitted my bust and hip, but was far too tiny for my waist. However, the waist-line darts are really wide, so I simply narrowed them down by 1cm on each leg of each dart, which added a scary but entirely necessary 8cm to the waist measurement.
I am extremely happy with my new dress!
I hope the Queen appreciates the trouble I went to, but I doubt she will notice me.
More about that tomorrow!