I know it is just after Christmas, and the temperature here in New Hampshire is nowhere near being able to wear this now, but I am still posting this today. Let’s say it will bring us back to the warm, yet crisp days of fall before we settle in for the dark winter. This is the Deer and Doe Sureau. It is a two piece dress with a faux placket and the options for sleeves or not. I choose not. It has been awhile since this pattern’s heyday, but I have to say, I understand why it enjoyed such popularity when it was first released. Because of the faux placket and simple construction, once I had worked out my own fitting tweaks (and jumped over the pocket hurdle), this dress was a pretty quick and satisfying make.
The skirt is gathered, which normally I am not a huge fan of, but figured I would give it a go. Looking at the photos, maybe I need to give gathered waists another chance! I am quite smitten with this dress on me. Who knew?!?!
As far as fitting, I did some research before embarking on this pattern. I had seen around the interwebs that people had trouble with a gaping neckline. I whipped up a quick muslin of the bodice after performing my usual sba (small bust adjustment—since D&D is drafted for a C-cup) and sway back adjustment, and tried it on. After seeing the results I took a 1/4″ wedge out of the front neckline tapering to nothing at the waist. It seemed to work well enough. I might have been able to take out more, but I didn’t want to go overboard.
The only other thing that I didn’t personally love was the neckline facing. I am usually not on Team Facing, ever. I would prefer binding or lining my garments. Since this was the first time making this I figured I would play by the rules. The facing extends around the whole neckline, which is then topstitched down. Once I attached the facing, I wanted a cleaner look so I handstitched it down. Even with the handstitching, I find that it is still a bit fussy. Apparently I will never join Team Facing. I find them fiddly and annoying. Give me bias binding any day.
The one other thing I did was add pockets. Actually, let me rephrase that. I added “a pocket”. This dress has a side zipper. I had every intention of cutting the dress so that I could move the zipper to the back, but absolutely forgot when cutting. I figured that I could just add them into the side seam. If you have been reading this blog, or know me at all, you know that most of my makes are right before a particular deadline. This dress was no different, trying to get it done for Maker’s Days in September. Since I was in a time crunch, I did not think through my construction of the zipper-sided pocket. Needless to say, when I sewed it up, I only had one functioning pocket. Yes. I had sewn the other one shut while attaching the invisible zipper. I decided then and there that I only needed one pocket. And that was that.
For this dress, since it was to be for a special occasion (Maker’s Days was our one year anniversary celebration!) I decided to go big for the fabric. What is the top of the line for me? Liberty of London. If you have never heard of this company, you should get to know it. It is an old-school London based store-front (it’s an actual department store) that has (and has had for over 125 years) their own line of fabric. Their style is tight florals or designs that lean on a vintage-nouveau feel. Sometimes even a Where’s Waldo look, in a really cool and pretty way. Their Tana Lawn (which is what I used here) is a beautifully soft cotton that is a dream to sew with and to wear. It is not an inexpensive fabric, but worth every penny.
All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography
Should I make this again, and I really want to try the sleeved version, I have a few things that I would change. I would move the zipper to the back and add two pockets, and change the facing to bias binding or line the bodice instead. Anything to keep me away from those facings.
The pattern itself is well drafted and I do love the look of the dress. This is only the second Deer & Doe pattern that I have sewn, but I love the fit and style of my Belladone dress, so I am assuming that we are a pretty good match. I will tell you that the pattern directions are still a bit on the sparse side (similar to the Belladone), but there is enough there to get you to a new dress. I would suggested this to a beginner who has at least one other garment pattern under their belt. If you are looking to start your first dress in 2017, this would be a great pattern!
Have you sewn the Sureau? Are you on Team Facing or with me on Team Never-Facings? Do you have big sewing plans for 2017?? Come on, tell us!