Summer Sewing Project #2: The Bleuet Dress

Summer sewing project number two is done! It’s the Bleuet Dress by Deer & Doe, part of my summer sewing plan. (Here is number one if you missed it – a short and sweet A-line miniskirt using fabric I bought on holidays.)

bleuet dress in blue cotton floral-1

I used a stretch cotton poplin from Telio with a tiny floral print. The photo above shows the colours most accurately, as they look different in every photo. I planned a contrast collar in the denim blue above, but then decided against it. No real reason why, it just felt right to stick with all the same fabric.

Halfway through the project, I wondered if this fabric was too cutesy, and debated starting over with something more subdued. Does that ever happen to you partway through a project – you start second-guessing all of your choices?

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Here’s the finished dress. It is rather sweet but I’m happy that I finished it!

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Now I can make it again in something solid, knowing I’m happy with the style and fit. If you start second-guessing yourself during a project, push through to the end. There’s a reason you were attracted to the idea in the first place and it’s nice to see it through!

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It’s less cutesy if you make a serious face. For some reason most of my photos are unsmiling. It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with the dress!

What I Love & Sewing Notes

The fit is great! I didn’t make a muslin but pin-fit the whole thing before sewing the seams. It looked good, so I went ahead and sewed the dress.

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Size made: 36 bust, 38 waist, 40 hip. I tapered the lines in between the bust and waist, waist and hip to blend between sizes.

If you do what I did, blending several different size lines, pay attention to which size you’ll need for the smaller pieces. For example, I cut a 36 collar to match the 36 upper body. I cut a 38 bow to match the 38 waist, and I cut a 40 hem facing to match the size 40 from hip to hem. If you make changes to the princess seams, you’ll have to adjust the hem facing to match.

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Like the Anemone skirt, the hem is fairly straight from panel to panel, which means you could use a scalloped edge lace or border print. (Perhaps the designer at Deer and Doe loves border prints as much as I do!)

Bike friendly? You bet! I finished it at work one evening and switched into it to cycle home. Here’s a bike photo for proof:

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The collar is Big and Low. It looks way better done up than open. When it’s open it doesn’t sit as nicely, it really wants to be closed.

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I wouldn’t call this pattern advanced. I’d save that category for a blazer or lined jacket, though that depends on where ‘advanced’ falls on the spectrum of skill level. It’s all subjective and I think if you’re patient and adventurous, nothing is too hard.

The bow ‘knot’ is left loose and can slide across the bow. I tacked mine by hand to the back of the bow. It’s something you might never see yourself since it’s behind you, but I want to know my bow knot is secure and in the right place at all times. (I like control, even over parts of my clothing.)

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I understitched the hem facing. The hem facing is nice, and finishes off the curved hem beautifully.

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I interfaced only the undercollar and inner collar stand. The pattern calls for interfacing on both pieces but I felt my fabric was crisp enough. I also omitted the interfacing on the button band for the same reason.

I sewed the collar like the Granville Shirt method – collar first, collar stand with an opening for the collar, then inserted the collar into the stand.

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I skipped the sleeves and sewed bias binding to the armholes instead. If you want to do the same, here’s a post that shows sewing binding to armholes, one with the same method but neck binding and another example here!

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I think the suggested button size is too big for the button band. I went with 12mm buttons instead and think they look less chunky than the 5/8″ size. (The top white one is the larger, the cream ones are smaller.)

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Fabric requirements are given as the same amount of fabric for all sizes, so you may be able to use less.

Originally I thought the number of buttons was excessive – 15! But now that it’s done it feels right. There’s no gaping, and the skirt is short enough that it makes sense to have buttons all the way down to the hem.

There’s no reference to staystitching the neckline so you may want to do that at the beginning, to keep the neck from stretching out as you work with the pieces.

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I topstitched the hem by machine, which looked nice and blends into the print, but does mean that the last buttonhole is on top of the hem stitching. Next time I’d stop my hem topstitching just before the button band.

More Things to Note

  • You can’t tell which parts of the garment are designed to be contrast from looking at the line drawing. I guessed the contrast would be the hem facing, since that’s the part you can’t see on the cover, but it’s actually the collar and sleeve cuff.
  • In general the line drawing is not totally accurate, you can’t see the collar stand through the back neck, the topstitching isn’t shown and there are straight solid lines where there would be stitching lines, for example along the front button band.
  • The sleeve piece is shown off-grain in the cutting layout.

All of these are rather small things but I’m noting them for my own reference later, as well as yours if you sew this dress!

For Next Time

I might skip the bow, because it would be nice to be able to wear a belt. I may lengthen it ever so slightly.

I’m going to reduce a bit of the width at the hips, taking in each princess seam and side seam a little bit. It’s a bit too flared from cutting a larger size at the hips. You can see how much extra fullness there is here, when I hold it behind me.

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The only question now is: which fabric to use for the next Bleuet?

bleuet dress what fabric to choose next

I have this beautiful pale pink linen that doesn’t look as beautiful in photos as it does in real life. It’s a lovely pale pink that’s going to be wonderful in summer heat. The other choice is a Nani Iro double gauze. The print is more interesting to look at, but the solid would make a great basic dress!

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(bonus photo with someone else’s old car, just for fun…)

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33 Responses to Summer Sewing Project #2: The Bleuet Dress

  1. justine July 20, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    What a thorough and helpful review! very concise, especially since you know the things to watch out for since you design patterns. It’s beautiful. I do like the version you pulled back at the hips a little as it looks better that way. I like the linen fabric, too.

    • Tasia July 20, 2015 at 7:44 am #

      Thanks! I know, I’m quite a detailed person and it shows in my blog posts. Especially since I’ve started keeping a notepad by my sewing area so I can jot things down, and not have to stop.
      I agree, I think it’s just a bit too voluminous at the hips and it makes me look wider since the fabric is so crisp. Next time I’ll taper it just a little so it fits, but isn’t too bell-shaped.

  2. Emerald Erin July 20, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    Very pretty! And a great detailed review- I agree about taking the skirt in a little, it looks better with less fullness. And the collar does look better done up- but that is quite trendy now anyways- it would also look cute if you did a peter pan style collar with a bit of lace- it would change the whole feel. Super cute! and thanks again for the review!

    • Tasia July 20, 2015 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks for the vote on taking it in a little! I agree, it’s cute but it’ll be a little more sleek and streamlined without so much ease. Sometimes with A-line skirts there’s enough ease built in for wide hips, no need to grade between sizes. It would be easy to modify the collar, for sure! I actually really like the look of the collar done up all the way and I’m glad it doesn’t feel too restrictive worn like that. Just wanted to point it out in case people wanted to wear it open, it wants to spring back into place.

      • Sarah July 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

        Agree on the hemline but this is probably my favourite version I’ve seen Tasia – it’s truly lovely in a print and sleeveless.

    • Jo July 22, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

      A peter pan style collar with lace is exactly what I did on a dress I made recently. It’s soooo similar to yours Tasia, it’s a little spooky! Yours looks absolutely lovely

      • Jo July 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

        Also I vote nani iro double gauze for next time! :D

      • Tasia July 23, 2015 at 10:30 am #

        Your dress is so cute! I love the collar detail.

  3. Heather July 20, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    Thanks for the review! I think your dress looks fabulous and I love the print!

    • Tasia July 20, 2015 at 8:11 am #

      Thanks! :)

  4. Thewallinna July 20, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    Pink linen! Pink linen! Two reasons: the dress would look great in a solid fabric and linen is such a cool fabric to sew with!

    • Tasia July 20, 2015 at 9:23 am #

      Thanks for the vote! Linen is also more seasonal, if I don’t make it now then it’ll have to wait till next summer. :)

  5. Denise July 20, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Thanks for a great review. I made the dress last year, but made the collar stand in white fabric. Every time I wore it, it ended up being covered in makeup. It’s such a great little pattern, and I’ll make it again for sure.

    • Tasia July 20, 2015 at 10:15 am #

      Ah, good point! I didn’t think about that. A darker contrast fabric then would be a better choice than white! (Which makes me wonder, why are many shirts sewn with white contrast collars and cuffs. Aren’t those the two most likely places to get dirty?)

      • Francesca July 22, 2015 at 3:12 am #

        LOL probably to make sure they get washed every time they’re worn!

        Re the off-grain, I’ve noticed many many French patterns do that – fit in pieces by cutting them on the cross instead of the straight grain. Its canny – French are into being canny and not wasting.
        I vote for pink linen. I think double gauze might be a bit floppy for that skirt and not quite right with a tailored collar….. plus that pink is divine and you will look lovely in it.

        • Tasia July 22, 2015 at 10:14 am #

          That’s really interesting. I didn’t know French patterns did that, turned pattern pieces on the cross grain to save fabric. It makes a lot of sense now that you say that, since only the 45″ layout had the turned sleeve piece. Thanks so much for the explanation!
          Most people are voting for the pale pink linen, that’s the one I’ll do next!

  6. Shannon July 20, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    So pretty! I’ve wanted to try this pattern for ages. I love the fabric that you used, and I actually like the skirt a little more flared! But I always like skirts a little more flared so that’s just me. I also love the double gauze, but a solid linen version would be such a great summer staple!

  7. Begum Sen July 20, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s lovely! The fabric and the pattern are in a nice harmony.

  8. Dale Odberg July 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Mighty fine! Mighty fine!

  9. Jane July 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    That’s just gorgeous Tasia! I have felt that Deer and Doe patterns are designed for more of a pear-shape like yours are, so that makes sense that you didn’t need to grade out more at the hips. I really love this made sleeveless and with the collar done up. I’ve never been drawn so much to this pattern before. Also good to know you can simply leave the bow off. I think that’s a cutesy detail that in my 40s I do not need!
    I like your point about the line drawings not being entirely accurate. I find this a bit in indie patterns… not ideal when there’s no photo on the packet.
    I vote for the pink linen next!

    • Tasia July 22, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      I think you’re right, the Anemone skirt is quite curvy in shape as well and that’s the other Deer&Doe pattern I’ve tried. Nice to find another pattern line that works for my shape without a lot of adjusting!
      I sort of worry the bow is too cutesy for me at 33. Especially when I get mistaken for younger than I am, the bow is not going to help! You can definitely leave it off and it won’t affect the pattern at all. It’s just a detail on top of the back panel.
      On the line drawings – it’s a good reminder for us to check ours carefully for accuracy! In fashion school we were taught to be extremely literal with our line drawings and accurate. When I worked in the apparel industry it was the same thing. If you sent a drawing to the factory with a seamline in a weird place, that’s exactly how it would come back! Even if it didn’t make any sense. Or if you sent a cutting sheet with the swatch upside down – your pants would come back cut with the wrong side out! Perhaps that’s why I am so literal and accurate now. :)

  10. Sewing Princess July 21, 2015 at 12:39 am #

    Thanks for the review Tasia. I have two Deer&Doe patterns in the pipeline..if only it cooled down…I would also need to make a pair of Thurlow shorts…but all I can do is sit in airco doing nothing!
    Anyway…I also agree on removing some flare from the skirt. I would go for Nani Iro for the next dress…but just because I can’t really tell how nice the solid is from the pic ;o) In any case I look forward to seeing your next dress.

  11. Annette July 21, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    Yes, I agree with you, when you pinch out the excess in the skirt, the fit does look better. But I like your dress, and the fabirc looks perfect! And the bow is to die for! It really is, and I thought that was what attracted you in the first place! And I say the Nani Iro for the next dress is a good bet, but the blush linen is very nice too! TFS, Annette

  12. Monica July 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Very beautiful dress! I love your fabric choice, and this dress just has such a great shape!

  13. Carolyn July 22, 2015 at 12:13 am #

    Hi Tasia, i love your dress! I am making a Bleuet myself and also chose sleeveless but as there are no guidelines for this in my pattern, can you tell me if you just bound the edges or did you cut it back before binding? Haven’t adapted a pattern before, so i would appreciate your advice!
    Pink linen would be cool for next time

    • Tasia July 22, 2015 at 10:17 am #

      Thank you! It’s nice as a sleeveless dress isn’t it?
      I used bias binding as a facing, so I turned back the seam allowance towards the inside. I cut 2″ wide strips (if I remember correctly, I’m 95% sure) and then sewed them to the armhole with a 5/8″ seam allowance. I trimmed the seam allowance and turned the entire bias strip to the inside so nothing shows on the right side. Then I edgestitched close to the fold of the binding. You can see it in this demo (near the end of the post) Hope this helps!

      • Tasia July 22, 2015 at 10:31 am #

        One more thing – I cut the strips, then I pressed them in half lengthwise, *then* I pinned them to the armholes with the fold side in and the raw edge side against the raw edges of the armhole. Forgot to mention the folding bit! It’s in the demo I linked to though.

        • Carolyn July 23, 2015 at 12:59 am #

          Hi Tasia, thank you so much for this advice – it will help me a lot. I have bought some bias binding and i will be having a go later today!

          • Tasia July 23, 2015 at 9:51 am #

            Ah! If you are using purchased bias binding you might prefer this tutorial instead: I used self fabric strips for mine but it’s slightly different if using premade bias tape. It’s narrower and so I often apply it differently.

            • Carolyn July 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

              Yes, this one is perfect, many thanks again! If i make another sleeveless dress or shirt ( i have your lovely Granville pattern ) i may make my own bias strips like you did.

  14. Pattern Tracing Paper July 22, 2015 at 1:12 am #

    Wow. It is stunning dress with excellent fabric. I love it and style also attractive. Thanks for share with us nice post with lovely dress.

  15. Susan August 6, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    I told myself I was too busy to read all the blogs that came my way, but I decided to read every one of yours because they bring me so much joy and inspiration. Adorable dress. Love the outdoor shots of my hometown, which I miss xo.

    • Tasia August 7, 2015 at 9:23 am #

      Thanks so much, what a nice thing to say!