Deer & Doe Myosotis – grunge edition

This dress, the Deer & Doe Myositis, has been sewn and seen here, there and everywhere!

Deer & Doe Myosotis - back view

Deer & Doe Myosotis – back view

I admit when it was first released, while the loose fit and shirtwaist style appealed to me, the voluminous ruffles did not.

Myosotis Dress #D0029. Version A

Myosotis Dress #D0029. Version A

The Myosotis is described as: Oversize shirtdress with inseam pockets. Version A has sleeve ruffles and a tiered skirt, version B has plain sleeves and a gathered skirt.

Like many patterns, you might just need to see the right fabric for inspiration to hit.

When I spied this woven viscose at Pitt Trading, I knew I had my Myosotis! It’s more blue/grey in person, and I love the combination of delicate floral and tie dye. It’s understated pretty, you have to look for the detail. I wanted a fabric with plenty of drape so those ruffles swung gently rather than being an overwhelming feature. Interestingly, I sewed my much-loved and worn Deer & Doe Fumeterre skirt in the same fabric in a different colourway!

Jungle trail grey - Pitt Trading. A steal at $5 a metre!

Jungle trail grey – Pitt Trading. A steal at $5 a metre!

I embraced my inner ruffle beast and opted to sew Version A with the tiered skirt and sleeve ruffles. If you are going to do it – go all the way I say!

I cut the smallest size as I was mid way between size 34 – size 36 for my bust and waist. Given the ease, I choose the smaller size.

Deer & Doe Myosotis - back view

Deer & Doe Myosotis – back view

I added an inch to the skirt piece length and was very glad I did! For reference I am 5 foot 4 and it still finishes above my knee. I decided not to add length to the ruffle as I felt it might be too ‘long’ for a ruffle and left it as it was drafted.

I almost left the sleeve ruffles off but in this fabric and print, I actually like them!

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in a woven viscose.

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress in a woven viscose. Sorry I didn’t notice my necklace was hanging out over my dress.

Gathering

Oh my goodness. There is a lot of gathering to do! If you loathe gathering, this may not be the dress pattern for you.

I decided to hem my ruffles before I gathered them and attached them to the skirt and the sleeves.

I also used three rows of gathering stitches as I find this provides the best results for even gathers and ease of sewing.

I use leftover bobbins and spools of thread for my gathering. I always remove my gathering stitcvhes and I find it is a good way to use up those small amounts of cotton that are insufficient for a larger project.

I use leftover bobbins and spools of thread for my gathering. I always remove my gathering stitches and I find it is a good way to use up those small amounts of cotton that are insufficient for a larger project.

I did experiment with gathering with fishing line (zig-zag stitch over fine fishing line as I do for tutu netting) but I don’t recommend it for lighter fabrics such as rayon and viscose. It makes the gathering much messier and harder to control. Never again!

Thoughts

There is a slight dragline from the neckline down towards my bust. I need to consult my fitting books and figure out if I need a forward shoulder adjustment, rounded back or some neckline fix or something else… it’s not terribly obvious but it is there if I look for it and Measure Twice, Cut Once found the same issue with her Myosotis.

I don’t think I have particularly large shoulders however to get this off, I pull it up over my bust and then wiggle it off over my shoulders, even with all the buttons undone. I’d be tempted to put a small zip in the side waist if I make another one to make it a little easier to get in and out of. It doesn’t seem to be a much discussed issue with the pattern, however perhaps my shoulders are proportionally larger than my bust/waist as I have found some RTW dresses difficult to take off for a similar reason.

There is no direction to sew ease stitches to put the sleeves in… so I didn’t and I found they went in first go with no puckers. Winning!

I was concerned this would be a little short and a little too ‘young’ in style for me. However I’m pleasantly surprised by how this has turned out.

I thought it might have a little too much ease and be unflattering… but it turns out I don’t mind how it looks after all.

I think this will be a favourite in my summer wardrobe. Casual, loose, cool to wear and in my favourite colour – what’s not to love!?

And if you are wondering… yes my hair is naturally curly.

Pattern: Deer & Doe Myosotis, size 34
Fabric: Jungle Trail Grey, Pitt Trading. Tempted by buy more…

See more: Instagram

Bonus Crazy Banjo shot!

Bonus crazy Banjo shot! It’s perhaps not the most figure flattering but it’s lovely nevertheless.

I often get asked if I get embarrassed having my photos taken at the beach and if I have to ask people to move out of the way. Actually no… we have lots of beaches where I live and you often have long stretches all to yourself. I’m usually at Nobby’s Beach or Lighthouse with my dogs. I run along the strip between Town Beach and Town Green – and beyond to Settlement Point further up the river. I’m very fortunate – you can see a snapshot of my town and beaches here. Yes, it’s really that pretty.

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FUMETERRE SKIRT Deer & Doe

or The Skirt I Simply Had To Make.

Fumeterre Skirt by Deer & Doe

Fumeterre Skirt by Deer & Doe

I simply love maxi skirts. Adore them.

Someone commented on Instagram that this was ‘very you’ and indeed it is. There isn’t too much to say about this skirt… it had eight gores with a button front, it’s flared and long. It’s simple, a bit retro and I liked it immediately.

I managed to resist a few days before I gave in and ordered it from Deer & Doe. I’m not a ‘fan girl’ as I’ve never made a Deer & Doe pattern before. I do own the Datura & Pavot patterns but not made them up yet – they were purchased in Paris several years ago.

You could probably find a similar design in the Big 4 in a sale… however I love to be swept away when inspiration hits – and I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. Tracking down a Deer & Doe ‘bricks and mortar’ supplier in Australia and then phoning to order it was just too complicated for me. I’m a ‘click and go’ girl so I ordered online. The postage from France isn’t horrific and it arrived within a week.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe: front view

Fumeterre Skirt: front view. While it looks like a floor sweeper, it’s slightly off the ground – I’m barefoot and slightly sinking into the sand here.

THE PATTERN

This is a fairly simple pattern and is described by Deer & Doe as “High-waisted maxi skirt. Version A is buttoned at the front with belt hoops. Version B has a fly front zipper and patch pockets“. I made Version A.

The skirt has eight  gores and there are two pattern pieces for these. The side front and back pieces are the same (the back panels are the same as the front panels, minus the button placket). There two pieces for the waistband (which is straight) as the waistband has seams at the back where the elastic is inserted. There is a small pattern piece for the belt loops and a piece of hem facing) the facing is in four pieces.

The pattern is printed on sturdy bond paper and not overlapped. It comes in a nice large envelope with two instructions booklets, one in French and one in English. There are plenty of diagrams to accompany the instructions. When making garments purely for myself, particularly simple garments, I tend to gloss over every single detail in the instructions. I refer to them for order of construction rather than word-for-word guidance.

I would advise cutting the notches on the skirt pieces to ensure you piece them together correctly.

The instructions are adequate – it’s not a difficult project and you don’t need a huge amount of instruction. While Deer and Doe give it 3 stars out of 5 for difficulty I think it would be a good beginner project (OK the hem gave me a headache but flared hems are often like that!). I often think ‘beginners’ are far more capable than companies, and the beginners themselves, give them credit for.

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

The Fumeterre Skirt appears to be drafted for someone MUCH taller than me. I am 5 foot 4 (about 164cm). I took the skirt pattern pieces up 4 inches below where the buttons finished rather than taking it from the hem. I did this to preserve the flare of the skirt which I think is the lovely graceful feature of the pattern. I re-drew the pattern piece from where the length was removed to the hemline. I cut off approximately another 1/2 inch during the hemming process. It’s turned out the perfect length for wearing with flats – or barefoot.

I’m not a huge fan of how the waistband is attached. You sew it to the inside and then turn it over to the front and top stitch it down. I prefer to sew it to the outside, turn it to the inside, slip stitch it to the inside by hand and then top stitch it. I think it is easier to achieve a neater finish. However that is my personal preference on construction – not necessarily right or wrong.

I only used the belt loop pattern piece for width reference. I cut a much longer strip and then cut it into four pieces – rather than making four individual belt loops which seems excessively fiddly to me.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe: back view

Fumeterre Skirt: back view – it hangs softer than that, I live with a permanent sea breeze it seems.

I did use 25mm (1 inch)  elastic in the back waist as recommended but it was a very neat fit in the casing, so I removed the piece of elastic and put in 20mm wide elastic and I much preferred the finish. I know people are put off elastic in the back of waists – however, in my skirt, the elastic seems to be more about providing a little ease than being gathered.

I French seamed the skirt panels and then top stitched them down.

I did attempt the hem facing as per the pattern… however in a soft rayon it was a complete nightmare. I couldn’t see the point in weighing down the hem of a flowing skirt with a rather wide piece of hem facing – perhaps I might have thought differently in a heavier fabric. I took it off and hung it overnight again. The hem dropped all over the place. I hung it on a coathanger and pinned what seemed to be a straight hem line, put it on and got my daughter to check the pins where the same distance off the floor. I trimmed it again and then used some readymade bias tape to turn over a narrow hem.

I used the reverse side of some buttons I found at Lincraft as they seemed to blend better with the fabric. I didn’t want feature buttons as I love the fabric’s shifting tones and colours, I didn’t want distracting buttons.

THE FABRIC

I suspect this may be the sort of fabric that people either like or loathe. It’s not conventionally pretty and I love its swirling tie-dyed tones and the barely-there floral overprint.

I had this fabric in The Fabric Library (aka stash). I purchased it from East Coast Fabrics when shopping with Lizzie in Brisbane in March. It’s a lovely soft rayon, that’s not too light or transparent – it seemed perfect for a maxi skirt. It also doesn’t crush too badly (enjoyed this recent post from SunnyGal Studio Sewing about fabrics and pattern matching – I am definitely a Scruncher). However when it does crease, the tie dye pattern disguises creases beautifully. When you get close to this fabric, it’s got a delicate floral overprint. It reminds me of the grunge fashion period of the 90s… which I loved… and still love.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Zoe

Fumeterre Skirt: I stopped the buttons just above my knee

I think this would photograph much better in vivid sunshine however I couldn’t wait, I haven’t blogged for a few weeks and I wanted to share this – so it didn’t end up in my pile of unblogged things – yes, we all have them! The colour is actually a lovely soft mossy slightly-greyish green… which is not great to photograph on an overcast day (the current weather is forecast to last for at least another week). As an editor I used to advise our commissioned project makers against selecting mauves and colours with grey in them as they were often very difficult to light, photograph and print to capture their true colours. Clearly I don’t listen to myself 🙂 I’m ok with that.

Fumeterre - a nightmare hemming experience. However a better shot of the skirt's true colour.

Fumeterre – a nightmare hemming experience (this is post hem facing removal) – however this is a better shot of the skirt’s true colour.

FUMETERRE

I was curious about the pattern name – so I looked it up while writing this blog post. The Free Dictionary tells me it is a “delicate European herb with greyish leaves and spikes of purplish flowers; formerly used medicinally” and the word originates from the “Middle English fumetere, from Old French fumeterre, from Medieval Latin fūmus terrae : Latin fūmus, smoke + Latin terrae, genitive of terra, dry land, earth;” ‘aka smoky earth’.

It seems like a beautiful twist of coincidence that my swirling tie-dye mossy skirt has a delicate overprint of a flowering plant. Perhaps it is a pattern/fabric match made in heaven.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Fumeterre Skirt is easy to construct, nicely presented and it has two quite different closure options (buttons or fly-front with pockets).

This is a simple skirt pattern. There are plenty of flared and/or maxi skirts on the market across many of the pattern companies, independent and Big 4. I think it comes down to personal preference which pattern has the features you are after. This one immediately appealed to me and I didn’t try to resist it, I like the flare over pleats and gathering. Waiting for a Big 4 pattern sale in Australia for a particular company can be a tedious experience.

I enjoyed making this and will no doubt wear it a lot.

Pattern: Fumeterre Skirt, Deer & Doe
Size: I ummed and ahhed about the sizing and decided to made 38. I didn’t want a super neat fit or any strain on the buttons as I hate it when there is pulling at a button closure, it looks awful.
Also see: Very Kerry Berry | Attack of the Seam Ripper
Location: Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Random useless fact: This skirt makes me want to sing Sweet Child O’ Mine… random but true. I love it when clothes bring back memories, they seem the sweetest garments of all. I loved the grunge fashion period and this skirt feels like a step back in time… or perhaps I never really left this style behind…

“She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky”

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe

My skirt also appears to be also handy for camouflage purposes… plus if you look carefully you can see the bias hem tape. I admit – this fabric was impossible to match with anything, thread, buttons or tape!