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.)
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?
Here’s the finished dress. It is rather sweet but I’m happy that I finished it!
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.)
I understitched the hem facing. The hem facing is nice, and finishes off the curved hem beautifully.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
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.
The only question now is: which fabric to use for the next Bleuet?
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!
(bonus photo with someone else’s old car, just for fun…)