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Nov 272013

Happy almost-Thanksgiving everyone!  Today I have a Deer and Doe Sureau to show you.  I loved my experiences with the Belladone so much that I decided to try another Deer and Doe pattern.  I had a super hard time figuring out which one to try next, but I eventually decided on the Sureau, and I love it just as much as the Belladone!


This is made from Kaufman 21-wale corduroy in the rust colorway.  I LOVE corduroy, but I can never seem to find corduroy things in stores that fit well or look right on me.  I bought some thin-wale corduroy last year to make a skirt, but this was before I knew about how to press corduroy, and I ruined it by pressing it all by itself.  The nap got crushed in the formation of the grid pattern on my ironing board and it never would come out, even after I washed it.  I’ve since learned that you have to press corduroy on the wrong side only, and that you have to iron it over another piece of corduroy or a velvet board.  I only recently learned about the velvet board from Beth at Sunny Gal Studio.  I decided to buy a velvet board because I was nervous about pressing it wrong and ruining my new corduroy.  If it’s what Beth uses, I knew it would have to work well because her stuff is always SO professionally finished!


The velvet board works very well, but the one I could afford is so tiny!  It’s kind of annoying to use, but I do like it for pressing things like seams.  I experimented and discovered that ironing with a piece scrap of corduroy under the garment works well for large flat areas and saves a little time and hassle.

I only made a few little alterations to the Sureau, but they led to additional alterations.  I’ll describe them all here so you can see how they work.  The first one is the usual – I lopped off some length at the shoulder seams.  This time it looked best when I cut more off the back bodice piece than the front, so I cut off 1 3/8 inches off the back piece and I think 3/4 of an inch off the front piece (I can see what I cut off the back in the photo below, but don’t have the front pattern piece in front of me and I already put it in my pattern storage, so I’m not digging it out – sorry!).  I took a picture of my pattern piece so you can see how I do this:


The thing that happens when you make this back pattern piece is that when you cut the extra off at the shoulder seam, if you make no other alterations, you’ll end up with a too-small and distorted neckline.  This alteration also makes the armhole and front neckline smaller, but these are usually part of what I’m trying to make smaller, so no other alteration is necessary there – necklines and armholes are usually way too low on me.  What I do to solve the back neckline problem is I trace the top part of the pattern like normal, then I slide it down so that the shoulder edge I’ve traced is 1 3/8 inches (in this case) lower than the shoulder edge of the pattern, then I trace the rest.  This leaves the shape of the neckline intact but shortens the bodice overall and makes the armhole smaller.  Now, the other problem in this case is that when you do this, the top corner of the shoulder edge gets cut off a tiny bit.  It’s usually not enough to worry about, but the Sureau has a neckline facing that gets caught in the armhole seam, so I had to alter something so that the facing would line up.  I decided to add the bit I’d lopped off back to the bodice, and I did that by simply lining it up with the facing pattern piece and taping a bit more tracing paper at that edge so I could add it back.


You can also see my pattern weights here, which are an idea I got from someone at Pattern Review a long time ago – I wish I had kept track of who to give credit to for this!  They’re large washers I got from Home Depot and glued together, then wrapped with ribbon.  I may have mentioned it here before, but I used to be super into card-making, so I have tons of ribbon from those days.  I have a set of 15 pattern weights, all wrapped with different ribbons.  I really like using them because they’re colorful, and I think we all know that I’m in love with color!  Anyway, this little alteration ended up being moot because when I put the sleeves on, I saw that the shoulder was too wide for me, so I cut off a half inch at the top edge of the armhole and tapered it to nothing at the bottom of the armhole edge.  That ended up looking a lot better.

Now, the final thing that happens when you do this alteration is that since the armhole is smaller, the sleeve needs to be smaller as well.  When I looked at the Sureau pattern piece, I discovered that it’s what Kathleen Fasanella would call anatomically correct, meaning that one side isn’t a mirror image of the other.  I’ve linked to her blog post about this before, but here it is again: Sleeve Cap Ease is Bogus.  You can see the way the sleeve isn’t symmetrical in this photo.  The side seams are matched up, but the sleeve cap doesn’t match.


I was happy that Deer and Doe use a more sophisticated sleeve design, but it also made me unsure of what to do to make the sleeve smaller.  I ended up doing the following, but I have no idea whether it’s what one should do.  It worked well enough, but this is just me making it up as I go along.  I measured the total sleeve cap and then each side of the sleeve cap and calculated ratios.  I figured out how much I needed to subtract based on my new armhole size, then I figured out how much of that subtraction should be done on each side of the sleeve based on the ratios I had calculated earlier.  I wasn’t sure it would work, and I thought I might lose the gathers that were supposed to be in the sleeve, but they ended up remaining intact.  Yay!  It may have worked out by accident, but it worked out and it’s all that counts.

You can see the final alteration in the first pattern piece photo above – I added a quarter inch to the side seam of the bodice.  When I made the muslin, the bodice was super tight, so I thought I’d add a bit of room.  After this alteration, it ended up being ever-so-slightly too big.  But it’s not that noticeable, and it just makes it a super comfy dress to wear.  I love my new comfy cozy corduroy dress!


You can sort of see here that it’s a bit loose.  I really love the color, too.  With my brown boots and jewelry, I look like Mrs. Autumn Woman, the companion to The Onion’s Mr. Autumn Man, LOL!  It’s perfect because fall is my favorite season!  It’s been like 20 degrees here this week, so I’m lamenting the coming of winter just like Mr. Autumn Man does at the end of the article.


When I turn to do side views in my photos, I sometimes look like I’m checking out the bookshelf, so I decided to do it for real this time, haha.

deer-and-doe-sureau-buttonsI really wanted to finish this dress and didn’t have time to go to Vogue Fabrics, where they have an obscene amount of buttons, so I had to rely on Joann’s.  I had a really difficult time finding buttons I liked at Joann’s, but I ended up with these and I think I really love them!  They look like ceramic, but I think they’re just plastic.  One thing to note about this pattern is that it’s not really a button-up on top – that’s a mock placket, and the buttons are just sewn on top of it.  This is fine with me because I think it would look weird if any of the buttons were ever unbuttoned, so it wouldn’t really be functional and would just be extra work.


I’ve worn it twice now and I plan to wear it for Thanksgiving tomorrow because I LOVE it.  It’s super comfy, excessively fall-ish, and fits pretty well even if it’s just a smidge too big.  Yay for Deer and Doe patterns!  I can’t wait to make more.  I’ve never seen myself as having a body shape that would look good with button-down shirt dresses, but I really like the Bleuet, and I think it could look good on me.  I think I’d also like it in a fine wale corduroy, but maybe I’m just obsessed!



  7 Responses to “Deer and Doe Sureau”

  1. Well done Gina! You look beautiful!

  2. Love it, Gina! The buttons are amazing. Also, thanks for the tip about ironing corduroy. I am sewing a present for my nephew that uses it, and I was super nervous about messing up the fabric. Can’t wait to see your next project.

    • Thanks, Juliann! I’m glad I was able to pass on my ironing corduroy knowledge. I never would have realize unless I was reading other sewing blogs. I’ve had clothes made of corduroy in the past and I’ve always been disappointed with how terrible they look after the first wash and ironing. Now I know the error of my ways!

  3. You look great in your new dress! That rust color is gorgeous on you! And many thanks for the pressing tips with corduroy– I suspect you’ve saved me some grief (and fabric!). And your fabric weights are awesome too… I foresee a project in my future… 🙂

  4. […] Centauree, but more on that in a future post), and I especially love the Sureau I made last fall in corduroy.  Ever since I made that one, I’ve wanted to make a sleeveless version for […]

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