Posts Tagged Deer and Doe
With apologies to James Bond for nicking the title of one of his films, regular readers will know there are certain things I have vowed never to do. In the sewing arena this included never bothering to make a pair of jeans. I don’t have any problems getting ready to wear jeans to fit me properly so I couldn’t see the point and, anyway, what a faff!
In the end though, I couldn’t resist the challenge – I wanted to prove to myself I could do it so I bought some grey marl denim and some ‘only just’ contrast thread – not brave enough yet to do so much very visible top stitching – bought Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans pattern, measured the pieces against an existing pair of jeans that fit me well and off I went.
Curved front pockets – no problem (I’ve even lined them in a blue ditsy Liberty fabric just for fun).
Fly front complete with bar tacks- a doddle.
Back pockets – just a question of where to put them to enhance my ‘only just there’ bum. This isn’t ideal placing but I had started to realise by now that these jeans were never going to be worn and I just wanted to get them attached and move on to the next bit.
I thought I might as well carry on until the bitter end and call them a muslin/toile/practice run – anything other than a complete waste of time.
So, I added the waistband, complete with fancy facing, put on the belt loops and a proper jeans button.
All in all I have convinced myself I’m perfectly capable of making a pair of jeans with all the necessary bells and whistles.
If only they fitted me.
Totally my fault – the ‘denim’ fabric I chose has got hardly any stretch in it at all. So, even though, when I hold them up to my favourite pair of shop bought jeans, they are exactly the same size, the lack of stretch means I can hardly bend my knees…..
….and sitting down for any length of time, if I could even manage it, might crush my internal organs.
I realised about mid-way, they were going to be too tight but it was good practice. So, if you’re about to make jeans – they’re really not too difficult but just make sure you have the right fabric and practice your top stitching.
I think I’ll give them another go once I’ve got over the trauma and, when I do, I will be extremely picky about the denim I use. Apparently, too much stretch is not good either so it’s a bit tricky and I’d suggest finding somebody who has made a successful pair (i.e. not me) and copy their choice of denim if possible. If you’re in the U.S., this will not be a problem at all – in rural France it’s more difficult.
Just to be a bit more upbeat, the top I’m wearing with them is another Sewaholic Renfrew top – is there anybody out there who hasn’t got this pattern and swears by it? I made this one using the cotton jersey I bought which had ‘Kid’s Collection’ or something similar printed down the selvedge. Ask me if I care.
So that’s the jeans off my ‘never say never’ sewing list.
Next up is the coat.
My sewing friend Sandra and I are making this together (the unbelted version) – or rather, we’re making one each but at the same time. The cutting out of the interfacing was the worst bit so far. I have a feeling those welt pockets are going to be nightmarish too and that is the point I’ve reached as of yesterday when we had our weekly sewing session. Yes ‘weekly’ – and we spend the first hour yakking – so it might be some time before the finished article emerges.
So, that’s two sewing ‘never say nevers’ ticked off but, even though I did give in and buy a sparkly top over the festive season, I am still adamant that I am never, ever going on a sea cruise .
Have you ever said ‘never, ever’ to something – either in crafting or life in general – and then changed your mind?
My Wednesday sewing buddy was having a clear out of her fabric cupboard and unearthed some fairly thin stripy jersey fabric which I commandeered to make pull on pyjama pants (or slob around pants as they are known in our house) for me and one of my Madamoiselles. There was still loads left so I thought it might make a light and easy to wear (not to mention free) summer dress and remembered the pattern by Deer and Doe – ‘Reglisse’ – which I have made before and is a versatile and comfy dress although it uses a lot of fabric as it is cut on the bias and the neckline and hem are finished with more than 4 metres of bias tape.
My tips for how not to make a dress are these:
1. Use totally different fabric from that recommended so that the instructions don’t match what you are having to do in real life.
2. Use stripy fabric in order to make life more difficult
3. When cutting out and trying to match stripes completely forget that the dress has darts and that these must be taken into consideration
4. Use thin jersey fabric with edges that roll so that the overlocker does all sorts of weird things with the seams
5. Don’t bother to match the stripes that will be visible across the front and back bodices. After all the tie will hide the front mismatch and nobody looks at your back anyway and, if they do, you won’t see them sniggering.
6. If you notice a tiny hole in the fabric, ignore it. Perhaps a tiny fairy seamstress will appear during the night and fix it for you.
7. Get the right and wrong sides of the fabric confused and have to redo one sleeve.
However, even having followed all these tips and more, by some miracle, I did actually produce a wearable dress.
Some good things I did: –
By using a jersey fabric I avoided having to cut the dress on the bias and so didn’t need so much fabric. I cut the back and front bodice pieces on the fold instead of in two pieces each which avoided the seam down the centre and the matching difficulties. As this is a stretch fabric I remembered to stabilise the shoulder seams with clear elastic tape. I fixed the tiny pinhole in the fabric by ironing a small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing on the wrong side to prevent it getting any bigger. I decided, on several occasions, against throwing the whole thing in the bin.
Concentrating on my jaunty rear view pose, surely only the mean spirited among you would notice the fact that the waistband is plain at the front and has a stripe through it at the back. Not to mention the stripes on the sleeves don’t match.
and, Oh look! One side of the bodice doesn’t match (although the other does – honest!) and the armscye is too deep (though that is a bit of a ‘thing’ with this particular pattern).
Having just bought a 25m roll of Liberty Lookalike bias tape, the fact that it has red in it was a good enough reason to use it to finish the neckline rather than going out and buying some plain white or red – by this stage I was past caring. However, I drew the line at using it for the hem and finished that with a double needle stitch instead.
As it happens, my younger Madamoiselle has her eye on this dress and I did actually make it in her size but she won’t model for me unless I engage in strong arm tactics and/or bribery – and even then only from the shoulders down – so you got me again.
This blue and white version was the first Reglisse I made when I didn’t ‘go maverick’ and I probably get more compliments on this than anything else I’ve made. The fabric was one euro a metre in the local market and I daresay it has never seen a shred of natural fibre nor an ethical workplace in its life. I’m sorry about that – I stumbled and fell but am only human.
Next time I will make it in my size and pay for some decent fabric – although 3 metres is a lot. It’s probably worth it though to save having to faff with buttons and zips and such. I am getting very lazy in that regard.
Have you ever felt like ditching a project halfway through? Or even after you’ve finished it? It can’t just be me can it?
Not that sort of affair – as if I’d tell – but one where I have made a dress from a French indie designer and will be wearing it – weather permitting – to the biggest flea market in the whole of France this weekend and eating copious amounts of moules frites.
Lille was only known to me before as a train station where one would change trains if travelling to Disneyland Paris from the U.K. on the Eurostar but it is also host, on the first weekend of September every year, to a huge, ginormous flea market which usually sees between 2 and 3 million visitors thronging the streets in search of interesting antiques, retro home decor, vintage clothing and everything in between. The streets are closed to traffic and there are all sorts of vendors there from people clearing out their houses to big antique dealers. It is the largest in France and there will be around 10,000 stalls – should keep us busy.
I’ve fancied going there since I heard about it a few years ago and now I have a willing accomplice who is coming with me. We are actually flying up as we are in the south of France and have already started panicking about the luggage allowance – 2kg in the hold and a 55x40x20cm cabin bag allowance – how will we manage when we just know we are going to want to bring back much more? The alternative would have been to drive up but that would take around 10 hours and add another day on to either side of our trip so we abandoned that idea. The hotels fill up really quickly but we found an apartment to stay in which is right in the centre of the activity – – the owner is fleeing the place for the duration!
Apparently moules frites must be eaten and the restaurants have a competition to see who can build the biggest mussel shell mountain outside of their establishment.
We will arrive on the Friday and settle in ready for the onslaught on Saturday. Apparently, making use of the streets being closed to traffic, a half marathon is run through the city on the Saturday morning – we won’t be participating in this needless to say as I haven’t got any room in my case for unnecessary things like running shoes and lycra shorts. Shame, but there you are. The market goes through the night and all through Sunday and I expect to be thoroughly exhausted by the time we arrive back on Monday afternoon not least because my friend who is coming with me is French and takes no prisoners with the speed of her speech so I will be suffering from French Language Overload a condition none the less real just because I’ve made it up.
Thinking ahead about treading the streets of a city shoulder to shoulder with a couple of million other people, I have chosen my armoury.
Comfy shoes – 3 pairs
I have heard much about these Swedish cloggy things and understand that they are very comfortable and made for people who are on their feet all day. We will see. I hope it is true as I’ve bought two pairs – the other pair has higher heels and a completely wooden sole. They are not my ‘go to’ style of choice if I’m honest but, on the day, comfort will be paramount. I will also put my beat up pair of Birkenstocks in as they are very light and I can carry them around in case I need to change halfway through the day.
Bag on Wheels
Oh look it matches the shoes. I hope this isn’t too far down the road towards an old lady bag in tartan with a rigid handle but it’s a cabin bag that I can also use as a flea market shopping bag. It was designed specially to fit Ryanair’s cabin bag size restrictions and, although I’m not flying with them, it suits the other economy carriers too. I like the way the manufacturers have printed the dimensions on the front of the bag as if to say ‘so there!’ to the check-in staff. The plan is to carry it around the market over my shoulder until I can bear the weight no longer and then wheel it.
which brings me to
Portable Weighing Scales
To weigh any prospective purchase if it looks like it might take up too much of my allowance, and to ensure my suitcase, which will be stuffed to the gills, doesn’t go over 20 kilos.
Bum Bag (or Fanny Bag *snigger, snigger* for those of you across the pond)
To keep the thieving buggers, who are bound to be there preying on the crowds, out of my cash. This, after my mother had her shoulder bag split open from behind and her purse stolen whilst alone in a Spanish market – she’s 82, have they no shame? (Just a mini rant there, sorry).
To save space in my case on the way out (it will be packed with bubble wrap), I will wear jeans and just take a couple of tops. However, if we venture out for our banquet of Moules Frites in the evening, and it is warm, I will wear my new dress that I finished yesterday.
This is the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress. Deer and Doe are a French indie design company so it was good to be able to buy ‘local’ and get free postage -a rare thing in France unless you first spend gazillions of euros.
As you know, I will do anything to avoid buttons, zips and other fiddling about but, in order to do so, I generally have to cut on the bias and buy multi metres of fabric – this dress takes around 3 metres – but I love the resulting swishy skirt. I made the dress according to the pattern without any alterations. I’d already made a blouse from the pattern using a hack from another blogger so I knew what size to make. However, the pattern calls for cotton chambray or similar and I thought it would look good in a drapier fabric so, instead of putting bias binding round the hem I did a rolled hem on the overlocker to avoid it looking too ‘weighted down’. Apart from that, no changes.
I think this is a dress I will get a lot of wear out of. It’s comfortable and can be dressed up or down (usually down in my case!) and I think it will be ideal for taking this weekend as my one and only ‘frock’ as, if the sun doesn’t shine, it will look fine with a thin jacket or cardi over the top.
A bientôt .