Category Archives: Deer & Doe

Holding Onto His Words, But Baby

I saw an angel become the devil

Still they look pretty good, hand in hand

Well, baby, I don’t need any of them
Heaven nor hell

I don’t know when it was, but sometime between 2010 and 2015, I’m not sure of the date, I heard the song Heaven Nor Hell with Volbeat on the radio. As I do like rock, the song appealed to me, but the lyrics really spoke to me. As an atheist I don’t need heaven nor hell, I’m trying to be a good person here and now, without the threats of hell or rewards of heaven.

I saw an angel become the devil

Anyway, after many long years living as Volbeat fans, we were able to score tickets to see them in Copenhagen. As it is their home ground, the tickets sold out quickly. My husband, by listening to them a lot on Spotify, were in the second priority group, the first were fan club members, and it was pretty slim pickings for our turn. I think everything was sold out by the time they were released to the general public. Last week we went, the arena was packed. Now, while I haven’t seen the before, from what I could tell lead singer/guitarist Michael Poulsen looked very happy to be playing in Denmark.  He looked relaxed, made jokes and maybe that is how he normally is on stage, but he did look genuinely happy. And I managed to follow along with most of the chit chat between the songs, not all of it. While I understand some Danish, it is easier in a conversation and not in a fully packed arena where the sound is designed for music. Volbeat is a great band and the concert was awesome! For anyone counting it was arena #2 for 2022 and 3rd proper band (6th if including supporting acts).

Still they look pretty good, hand in hand

About a year ago, I set my personal style philosophy as “office nerd connects with inner rocker” and I’ve been trying to update my wardrobe accordingly. I don’t know how successful I am in creating clothes I actually wear to concerts, but adding some rocker vibes to my everyday wardrobe is moving forward. Note, that I am still very much a nerd so YMMV on what is considered rockier clothes.

Well baby, I don’t need any of them

This blouse is an idea I’ve had for a while, it’s Deer & Doe’s Airelle, but I’ve made it a buttonfront as well as removed the collar. It wasn’t really difficult, I added a seam allowance and overlap allowance down the front, and made the facing bit accordingly. The fabric is a viscose/cupro blend, a fabric I really loved when I saw it, it connects with my personal style and it worked very well for the pattern.

Heaven Nor Hell

The skirt is from Burda and has been hanging in my sewing room for half a year. I made it up in a stretch twill which, albeit a bit tight worked because of the stretch (I made a pair of trousers in Burda 42, too big, then this skirt in Burda40, a bit too tight. Annoying!), but when I added the very rigid lining I could barely move in the skirt. Forget taking steps over half a metre long. While pondering my options (take out lining, add a wedge) the skirt hung in my sewing room. It didn’t help that spring was approaching and a lined black skirt wasn’t really what I needed.

The look of these together is a little more black than I normally go for, but I really like the look and I think at least the blouse is going to get a lot of mileage.

Patterns: Deer & Doe Airelle; Burda 110-2019-11

Fabric: Viscose/cupro Tyg.se (Out of stock); stretch twill Ohlssons

Notions: Buttons (blouse), D-rings, invisible zipper (skirt), interfacing (both)

Soundtrack: Volbeat Heaven Nor Hell

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Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

In 2020 I bought myself a racing bicycle and since then we’ve spent many, many kilometres together. I bought it with the intention of eventually cycling to work, but with 2020 and 2021, you can all guess how well that went. Not much point in riding a bike down the stairs from my bedroom to my makeshift home office just below. But we’ve ridden much together without a specific goal.

I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

Since even longer, my husband has been a cycling fan and when Le Tour de France is on for three weeks on end every summer, you get drawn into it. Especially with the superb commentator team of Vacchi/Adamson, whom we can enjoy in Sweden. Also, because I happen to love France, one day our vacation will be to France during the Tour so we can see some world class cycling at one of the famous climbs.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike

This year however, the Grand Départ is in Copenhagen, so it’ll be easy to pop over the Öresund for a day of cycling. So exciting! Of course I needed a special outfit for the occasion, in a fabric I’ve been searching for during a very long time. I give you my Tour de France dress!

I want to ride my bicycle, races are coming your way

I told a coworker of mine that I was wearing a dress like this, and she said, without maliciousness, that “it sounds like something you would do”. Then she added I would be easy to spot, should we bump into each other in Copenhagen on the day of. I choose to interpret this that my personal style has a sense of humour to it, I didn’t ask what she meant, but like I said, there was no maliciousness to the words.

Of course, I used a French pattern, the Belladone dress from Deer and Doe. At the top it’s a size 42, graded to a 44 from the waist down; I also added my usual length and also lengthened the skirt. The back opening gaps like crazy on me so I removed a good wedge out of both the lower and upper bodice, which made the cut out a bit smaller, but I also think it shifted the dress a bit backwards, the waistband isn’t perfectly straight in the side view. But who is? The fabric is in homage to the mountain jersey , of the Tour de France, big polka dots. So, now I’m ready for the Grand Départ (and other nice summer days) in my new dress.

Soundtrack: Queen – Bicycle Race

Sewn: An Aubépine for Summer

For my own sewing, I prefer paper patterns. I like having them in my stash, sorting through them, I prefer working with one large sheet, rather than taped together sheets. Although sometimes I get flustered by too thin paper. But if paper patterns are available I’ll buy them over pdf-patterns. And if only pdf-pattern are available, it must be something I really, really love for me to consider it. Or, you know, a free pattern.

It was a windy day. But alas, where I live, all days are windy.

Therefore I was a bit saddened by the news that Deer and Doe would discontinue their printed pattern line, going forward they would only offer pdf-patterns, and the paper patterns currently in stock were the last one. Now, I love me some Deer and Doe, the styles are nice, they are drafted for a body shape near mine and I don’t need to make many adjustments to get a pretty good fit. So I browsed through their catalogue and ordered the Acajou trousers and the Passiflore dress. Hopefully, it’ll be something for fall.

Light and flowy for summer

For today let’s talk about my newest Aubépine. I’m really getting my money’s worth from this pattern, and I’m not yet slowing down. This is my fourth iteration (one, two, three) and I still feel like I’m not done with the pattern. It turned out, in combination with D&D’s Datura, to be a good woven t-shirt, and I’m pondering just using the lining piece, omitting the tucks for an even sleeker look. Woven t-shirts are nice to wear, so it might be a future project.

The drafting is good here. An empire waist that does not make me look pregnant.

Like I said, I don’t need to make many adjustments to D&D patterns. For the Aubépine I cut a straight size 42 and add 4 cm length between the dart and tucks, and a little more at the bottom of the bodice and top of the skirt. I’m thinking maybe I should shorten the dart a bit as well, but now we’re really into fine tuning of the pattern and the fit. This style of dress I foresee to be very nice in warm weather, with it floaty nature. I also foresee it being good for eating a good meal, as it’s volumounous around the waist and the drawstring can be loosened. Yum, food!

See, the tcuks are there. They just get lost in the adorable print.

In a style discussion with some sewing friends, when discussing print preferences I said that I didn’t like the typical small floral print usually associated with Liberty of London fabrics. But, here I am in a small floral print dress. Maybe it’s not just about the print and also about the colours, the Liberty fabrics always seem so muted to me, I prefer a bolder colour scheme, such as this black/purple/yellow combo. I think there’s enough left over to make a top of some sort as well.

Pattern: Deer And Doe Aubépine

Fabric: Lightweight cotton from Selfmade, lined with voile.

Sewn: A Deer and Doe Denim Duo

As you may have noticed, I prefer taking my pictures outdoors, in natural light. As I live fairly up north, during winter we don’t have a lot of sunlight, which is an issue for my half-assed self-timer phone photos. And, now, even though it’s April, we’re past equinox so daylight is no longer an issue, the weather continues to throw me for loops.

April weather in Sweden is notorious for its constantly changing weather, logically dubbed “April weather”. In the grand scheme this means that one day can feel like summer, the next can have hail and frost. This, according to Wikipedia has to do with the fact that the sun warms the ground, but high up in the atmosphere, where the clouds are formed, it still cold. Last week we had the ultimate April weather day; in one day we had rain, snow, sunshine, hail and thunder. Late March usually gives us a glimpse of hope for warmer weather, but April sure knows how to knock us straight to the ground.

While the weather is keeping me on my toes with regards to warmer weather, my sewing is already there. Summer clothes are on my agenda! Last year I bought a remnant piece of this lovely embroidered chambray, and immediately pictured it as a Deer and Doe Chardon, perfect for summer. I jokingly suggested to my husband to go full 70s with bell bottoms and the border print there, or just a maxi, he didn’t seem to realise that those things are not my personal style at all. However, the Chardon fits in with my preferred silhouette. The border embroidery was on the cross-grain, and with what was left over, I was able to cut a Deer and Doe Datura. The Datura is a basic woven tank, with the yoke and a dart to give it shape. For this version I omitted the collar and I cut the back on the center fold. I used a scrap for my stash as lining for the inner yokes.

The Chardon is pretty easy to fit, since it only needs to fit in the waist and there are several places to play with some width; in all the pleats as well as the side seams. For the Datura, I cut a straight 42, and added 2 cm each to the yoke and the bodice piece. I like these pieces and I do like the faux dress look they create. Now I just need the April weather to make way for some actual spring.

Fabric: Embroidered chambray from tyg.se

Patterns: Deer and Doe Chardon (skirt) and Datura (top)

Sewn: Striped Bruyère

I am lucky to live in a part of the world where I wake up to news of war, instead of waking up to war itself. It’s a privilege. And in my privileged world, it is, relatively easy, to block out those horrors occasionally. I listened to a psychology podcast, about how it is human nature to want to “do something”, whether it be hoarding toilet paper or, as in this case, feel the urge to help by donating your discarded clothes and toys. But humanitarian organisations say themselves that money is a better option, in order to provide refugees with what they need, not to disrupt local economies and not to block roads for incoming traffic with more urgent supplies.

It feels like the easy way out to throw money at the problem, and then go about my day, but if that’s what is requested I will do so. The guilty conscience I feel about my privilege should not be handled by those in need or those providing help. We did a collection at work, in the name of our Ukrainian group member, I donated some more money on my own. Then I decluttered some patterns I had meant to sell, which I did, but instead of taking the money for myself, I said that the price was a donation to UNICEF or UNHCR, the buyers did donate more than my asking price. A Swedish foundation has also promised to double all donations made in Sweden to those two organisations, so it’s a double win.

Working with my hands has always been a good stress and anxiety relief for me, through covid, through a parent’s illness and death, and yes, it is a privileged statement, even now.

I have made the Bruyère shirt twice before. Once in a stretch cotton (which looked OK mainly due to the stretch in the fabric. And again, I think the proportions are off for me) and once in flannel (cosy, but I used snaps which couldn’t handle the thickness of the fabric and fell off, leaving holes). While I did like the look, I felt overwhelmed in those shirts. As I learnt after several years of sewing, I have a long torso. For Deer and Doe patterns I always add 4-5 cm (that 2”) above the bust dart in order to get the waist right. This make for A very long bodice. My long torso is then combined with, for my height, short legs and the shirt, as designed, ended up very long.

As I have zero creative instinct, the pattern was left untouched for a while. Then I stumbled across Sally’s aka. The Quirk Peach, blog. Due to fabric constraints she had made the Bruyère with a straight hem and I really liked the proportions of the shirt, plus it does seem a bit easier to style in more outfits. So I blatantly copied her. And I like this shirt much better, based on the time I wore it for the photos. But hey, I’m allowed back in the office 3 days a week now, so it’ll be fun to wear something a bit more office appropriate again.

The fabric is a “blouse fabric” (that is how it is labelled. I played with the stripes on the waistband and yoke; the piece I had also required its fair share of pattern tetris, but it worked out in the end. Sally mentioned that her reasoning for the straight hem Bruyère was a lack of fabric, truth be told it was the same. But when I saw Sally’s picture, it all fell into place.

Outfit:

Deer And Doe Bruyère in striped cotton from Tyg.se (out of stock)

Barney/Rose Skirt

Sewn: The Scissors Shirt

Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story, the story of how I sewed with quilting cotton. [recognise it?]

(OK, so I might be sitting down writing this blog post just hours after I heard of Bob Saget’s passing. I loved Full House as a kid, in hindsight it is a pretty shitty show and this blog hilariously captures it. In my older days, Bob Saget is known to me as old Ted/the narrator in How I Met Your Mother).

Anyway, back to the incredible story about quilting fabric. Back in late 200s/early 2010s, when sewing was picking up momentum around the world, or at least made visible due to the birth of sewing blogs, there were many discussions regarding the use of quilting fabric for garment sewing. Many were drawn to the colourful styles and well-behaved cotton, but after the initial love, it was easy to see that quilting cotton was not made for garment sewing as it most often lacked the proper drape. Not to mention the surprise I once got when I didn’t realise that quilting cotton often comes on 110 cm width fabric instead of 140 cm, as is custom for garment fabrics, and I had bought the meterage needed for 140 cm. It was this dress.

A few years ago, I visited Gittes Tygkälla (seriously big store, I’ll take you there if you’re nearby sometime) with some sewing friends and I fell for this scissors fabric from the Robert Kaufmann line. I figured it would be fun to wear my hobby on my sleeve and the print was still discrete while still fun. I found some matching buttons and bias tape to add some purple details to this otherwise very grey colour scheme. For a hem this deep, I prefer using bias tape instead of trying to ease the fabric in a narrow hem.

The Deer and Doe Mélilot shirt (sizes 34-52) is quite a good beginner shirt. There are no sleeves to set and no yoke; the bodice sews up in a whip, even if you, like me, use French seams. The short sleeved version is a good intro to shirt-making, as focus can be put on assembling the collar and put off sleeves, yokes and sleeves plackets until another sewing venture. I sewed a straight size 42, just added 3.5 cm above the bust dart. The D&D block works pretty good for my shape, just need those extra cm!

I also made those trousers (Burda pattern, black stretch twill from Ohlssons Tyger) and I like how they look with the shirt and the red belt. Walking across my yard in this outfit I felt I would fit in at the office, both in terms of how they look but also because it connects to my personal style (maybe I’ll dwell on that in a later post). But alas, it’s back to the home office for now.

Sewn: Green Airelle

As many people around the world, the years 2020 and 2021 have been marked by working from home. My sewing machine has been pushed to the side to accommodate my laptop, screen, keyboard and mouse pad. I’ve been using my over locker on the floor, since I couldn’t be arsed to keep moving it up and down from the table. During numerous Zoom meetings, my co-workers and other partners have been treated to views of my fabric stash and cut out projects waiting for their turn. (At one point we did do a fun game in which we photographed our setup and guessed whose work place it was – we’d only seen what is behind everyone).

I’m not going to lie. While I haven’t fallen down into the really leisurely way of dressing for working from home, my outfits have been way more casual than what I would wear in the office. And then I do work in a pretty casual office. So, I’m taking the opportunity to add some more dressier bits to my wardrobe again. And colour! I’d like to think that I sew with a lot of colour, but this picture by @bloome_comics hit close to home. All those years of sewing neutral pieces “that goes with everything” ends up with a practical wardobe, but not very fun. So, let’s add some more statement pieces, shall we?

Maybe a forest green top isn’t really “statement” but it’s a lovely colour, especially for fall. The drape works great for the Deer and Doe Airelle top. It’s my second attempt on this pattern, the first one, also green, was sewn in a cotton, which was a bit too stiff so it didn’t comply with all the gathers of the top and just sort of rested on me. It was weird and sadly waste of a lovely fabric. This time the fabric is a viscose remnant from Ohlssons Tyger, where you can by remnants by weight.

I did my new appraoch to the Deer and Doe patterns, added length above the vertical dart, below the armscye and that’s it. The block fits me fairly well, so now I just want to sew Deer and Doe everything! However, I’m not sure I 100% succeeded on the collar. Still works. As I was working on the top, I got the idea make the pattern into a buttoned blouse and omit the collar. I think that could work and it would be a project for next spring or summer.

Yay! for adding a little bit of colour.

Sewn: Aubétura Blouse

In the midst of sewing garments left and right, I have stumbled upon one challenge that has so far left me perplexed. That of the woven t-shirt. While there are plenty of patterns going around, most of them aren’t accommodated to a larger bust. Even with an FBA in some cases, since then you’d have to add darts, which does in fact change the design of the top.

After dressing in my Sound of Music clothes and realizing that Deer and Doe patterns fit me quite well as they are, save for the length I need to add for my long torso, and after a session of hashtag surfing inspiration on Instagram, I blatantly stole the idea of combing the Aubépine and the Datura, to build myself a woven top.

I took the top part of the Aubépine, down to the dart, and the bottom of the Datura, omitting the back button band and doing it just on the fold. I’m actually quite pleased with the look and the fit. The fabric claimed to be viscose, but might be polyester. I have terrible fabric detective skills. But the fabric was cheap and it has the right weight and drape for this sort of top.

It was the second time I sewed all those pin tucks and the second time I drew them on the wrong side of the fabric. Most fabric markings go on the wrong side, pin tucks do not. Also, should I get tired of the sewing a gazillion pin tucks (9), I could use the lining piece for the Aubépine and get a smooth top instead.

Of course, I haven’t actually worn the top for real, so I can’t talk about the wearability factor, but look how pretty!

Sewn: The Sound of Music strikes again

Many years ago, BC (before children) we visited Bavaria with our friends. One of our stops was the ski jumping hill in Oberstdorf as our host was a big ski jumping fan and the rest of us were fans of pretty Alp views. We took the lift up to the top of the hill and to get down we left the arena and ran down in the green hills below the snow covered Alps, pretending to be Maria in The Sound of Music. This activity has since been referred to as “hills are alive”-ing, from the intro of said movie.

The original “Hills are a-liver”

These clothes are not particularly related to the Sound of Music, they are not made of curtains, but the pattern company makes me sing “Do, a deer, a female deer”. Another song set among the grass hills of the Alps.

I’ve been eyeing the Aubépine pattern for quite a while, switching between thinking it was a perfectly casual day dress and worrying that it would make me look pregnant with its empire waist. Last Black Friday I took the plunge and paired it up with some viscose from Stoff och Stil. The big challenge of this pattern is that it is to be sewn in a lightweight fabric, so you need to keep track of it, especially when sewing the tucks on the front bodice. I did mess up a little and the fabric waist seam ended up bigger than the lining waist seam. In the end I had to take in the fabric, which created a few tucks, but those are hidden in the drawstring.

I cut a straight size 42, based on my measurements, and added 4 cm of length between the tucks and the dart. And, since D&D drafts for an X-figure, it is very flattering on me. No sign of pregnancy anywhere. There shouldn’t be. I’m glad I decided to make my first version in a print, since it hides some of the mistakes in the tucks and the above mentioned waist seam snafu. For future version I will add interfacing to the buttonholes for the drawstring to reinforce them, they feel really flimsy.

High on a D&D success, and wanting to sew something a bit simpler, I revisited the Datura pattern. I have made one before which was, well I’ll be honest, vanity sized. A straight 42, with 5 cm length added, split by the yoke and bodice and ta-da! It fits really well. The fabric is a remnant from tyg.se and I added some red buttons for a pop in the back. This pattern is a simple woven tank, that I can imagine being good for scrap-busting. There are two necklines, one being this small collar, the other a triangle cut-out, it would work just as well without the collar as a simple woven tank. Maybe it would also work with a closed back, to save even more fabric, but I haven’t figured out that option yet.

Anyway, Deer and Doe are delivering for me, and with quite a few of their patterns in my possession, I might revisit some of them again. Airelle, I’m looking at you. Well, I have one little beef with them. They draft in SI units (aka. metric), which is the measurements used in the Fremch instructions. In the English ones it’s imperial measurements (aka. inches and such) (and not always written) so I need to go back and forth between the two. Embrace the SI system!

Refashion: A New Life For A Wonky Dress

Three years ago I went to the lovely Cape Cod for a family wedding. It was 8C and rain when we landed in Boston and for take-off, one week later, it was 35C and sunny. Quite the contrast! (This is me in Cape Cod, BTW)

The wedding was held at the bride’s parents’ house in Chatham and it was a nice affair. We were served lobster, which I avoided due to an allergic reaction the previous year (according to my cousin (MD) lobster contain an allergen that do affect everybody, it’s just the cut-off limit that varies for different people) and danced the night away. Or, rather evening since the kids were only 4 and 7 at the time. I had made a dress for the occasion, a dress with which I struggled immensely. It was a nightmare to fit.

The before. With a safety pin in place. And a dried-out lawn.

I have worn the dress since, but always with a safety pin holding the neckline in place and having such a solution meant I never really felt comfortable in it. Plus the waistline was wonky and I always felt like such a fraud whenever I wore and got compliments. People got fooled by the pretty fabric that this dress looked good. So, I decided a refashion was in order.

The after, front. Everything lays nicely no and I can move without fear of indecent exposure.

I internally debated on whether or not I should make a skirt or a “new” dress. In the end I settled on a dress, since I had enough fabric leftover to make a new bodice*. I used the Belladone bodice from Deer & Doe; I added length and removed the back overlay bodice, extending the underlay bodice to match the front shoulders. This meant I could keep the back v-line, which I like having in dresses. Instead of using bias tape as facing I lined the bodice in a thin voile, with interfacing around the neckline, for comfort and structure.

The back. I like back v-necklines. And I did the zipper better this time. *Win*

Since the dress was finished right before midsummer it accompanied me to a small gathering with friends and it held up fine for all classical midsummer games and dances. I would not have done the “little frog dance” in the previous version, but with this dress I had no worries that my boobs would pop out.

So, refashion success!

 

*Bodice in Swedish translates to “liv”. As does life. So in Swedish when I say I gave my dress a new “liv” it means both bodice and life. I do appreciate a good word pun!