This is one of my favourite projects ever. It might even be right at the tippy-top. I made this blouse as part of the Sewcialists stripes theme month and you can read about that on the original post. Here’s a slightly more detailed post about the construction, both to remind myself of the details and also for anyone else who may find it useful.
I really love that this project ended up being the perfect marriage of pattern and fabric, since you never really know how the picture in your head is going to translate into reality. The fabric is a beautifully light lawn from the 3 min. range from Japanese manufacturer Kokka. I bought it in a sale from Miss Matatabi and would have loved to have bought the entire collection, but it’s a fairly decent price, albeit absolutely justified in the quality. I adore watercolour-type prints and this collection has some stunners.
Even though the featured colours are two shades of feminine pink, my main concern making a garment from this was that they didn’t up looking like either pyjamas or prison garb. I only had enough fabric for a simple-ish blouse (2m), so I wanted something that was classic, but with a feminine/modern touch and also that had some scope for pattern play, i.e. not just vertical stripes everywhere.
I looked at several different styles, but then I remembered the Deer & Doe Mélilot blouse. I’d been meaning to make it – in fact it’s one of my #2018makenine – and when I took a look at the pattern packet again, I knew – this was the one. Unfortunately, I forgot that Deer & Doe are in the process of pdf-ing their paper patterns and only discovered that the Mélilot is one that’s still to be done when I went to order it. Argh! I did manage to get it in time (just!) from a US retailer, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re on any sort of deadline.
Anyway, the pattern comes in sizes EUR 34 to 46, which is a standard range and I ended up making the 46. Since these patterns are loosely intended for a pear-shape figure, I knew I’d have to make a full bust adjustment (FBA). Since there was quite a bit of ease in the shirt, I decided on a 2″ FBA (technically I would have needed a 3″ FBA) and used this tutorial from Colette to help me along, although I’ve done it a few times now.
It’s the first time I’ve made a proper Deer & Doe pattern (the Plantain was very straightforward) and I have to say the instructions are very good. They are concise compared to some, but are really well-written with good pictures for the most part. A good level of info I think (some instructions can be so verbose they’re confusing). It took me a second to realise the pages were stapled in backwards though – at first I thought the construction order seemed very odd!
I made Version B with the Version A collar and this was a quick sew. I think it took me around 4 hrs in total. This is partly because of the cuffed sleeve – there are only seven pattern pieces (or 6 if you use the mandarin collar). The placket is made nice and simply, by folding and edge-stitching and I liked the neat pocket instructions. You’re instructed to use French seams to finish the edges and this gives a lovely added professionalism to the project. Since there are very few seams, it’s no extra hassle at all.
You’re advised to sew a narrow hem quite early in the process, but I wanted to wait and see how the length was on me, especially with the added length from the FBA. It was rather tricky to fold and hem the very curved edge at the end of making the blouse and I ended up using bias tape to finish the hem, so perhaps hemming earlier would indeed make it easier. I will probably try that next time.
The cuffs are extremely simple to construct, but I did struggle a little getting a nice finish and ended up with a little extra ease on each cuff. This is nicely hidden on the inside, but I’m not sure what the issue was. I haven’t see it mentioned anywhere else, so maybe it was just me!
My other small issue was completing the collar. The collar itself went together very nicely – I just seemed to have a little extra collar stand to deal with once I’d attached it to the neck. I didn’t do a great job of finishing one side off, but did better the second time. This is the only part where I thought the instructions were a little unclear, or brief, but I’m quite inexperienced with collars, so perhaps I’ll practice a little before I try again!
One aspect I really love is the number and size of the buttons. My FBA really worked well, and the fact that there are nine buttons on the blouse means that I have no gaping at all – even seated – which is quite an accomplishment, as many other large-busted ladies will tell you!
Overall, I feel like the front of the blouse is great, but I have a little work to do on the back. I need a swayback adjustment and I will add a touch more ease at the armscye and hips as they’re both fairly snug. I like the length very much as a longer blouse (they often seem quite short even if I’m only 5’6″) and will leave it as is I think. I really do recommend this pattern and there are many other lovely versions on the internet – it’s deservedly popular. That’s it for now – do shoot me a message if there’s anything else I can answer about this project!