Sunday, June 15, 2014

Deer and Doe Aubepine in Natural Linen

Our love for Deer and Doe patterns continues! Fresh from the success of the free Plantain t-shirt pattern, the next project we picked was this 'Aubepine' dress. 

Here it is freshly finished, unironed - in its 'natural' Natural Linen state. (And really, this is how we like our linen.)
 As the pattern says:
"Empire waist dress with elbow length sleeves, lined. Tucks on bodice and sleeves, adjustable waist string and flared skirt punctuated by 8 inverted box pleats."
Deer and Doe patterns come with both English and French instructions. They are beautifully packaged, with excellent instructions and diagrams. You can see more garments on 'real life' sewists of varying shapes and sizes in their Flickr pool here.

It's Deer and Doe's policy to only sell their patterns through 'bricks and mortar' shops so we can't offer them in our online shop. However, if you are not nearby The Drapery, you can ring us (Wed - Fri 10am - 4pm, Sat 12 - 4 Adelaide time) or email and we can help you out. The patterns we have available presently are: Aubepine, Sureau and Reglisse dresses, Chardon and Anemone skirts, Airelle blouse.

For my version, I decided against using a lining, so I had to make a couple of small adjustments to the finishing. Other than that, I sewed a straight size 42 - using the fit of my Plantain tops as a guide - and the fit is great.

Adjustments to make an unlined dress:
Normally the casing for the waist drawstring is made between the outer and lining, so instead I pressed the waist/skirt seam allowance up and stitched that down to the bodice to make the casing. Below, you can see this from the inside: edge of seam allowance overlocked without trimming it down at all, then seam allowance stitched down close to edge of overlocking to create narrow casing.

The neckline is usually finished by attaching to the lining. I finished this unlined neckline by binding with self-fabric bias tape.

I also made a self-fabric drawstring instead of using ribbon.
The drawstring was made with more self-fabric bias tape, double folded and topstitched. The pattern suggests a narrow ribbon which would slide more easily through the casing, but this is perfectly fine.

Buttonholes reinforced on the inside.
The buttonholes for the drawstring were made with a vintage Singer buttonholer attachment, and reinforced on the inside with iron-on interfacing plus a couple of pieces of the linen selvedge for extra strength.

Don't be scared by the pleats!
The sweet pleats are what really makes this pattern, and they are a delight to sew in linen. After carefully marking the lines with heat-erasable pen, I was able to finger-press the pleats into place before stitching. And in the crinkly earthiness of the natural linen, any slight wonkiness just adds to the rustic charm... well that's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

The sleeves are quite narrow with no 'puff' at the shoulder so will be excellent for layering with a cardigan in cooler weather. And it has side seam pockets - yay! Although these would be easy to leave out if you prefer.

We can imagine this dress in all kind of fabrics. Take a look at clever blogger/customer Nicole's gorgeous cocktail frock version here. We also think it would be great in Robert Kaufman Essex linen/cotton, lightweight hemp/organic cotton denim/chambray or perhaps a Japanese woven-patterned cotton. Fabric requirements are 2.4m for 150cm wide fabric like our Natural Linen, or 2.7m for 110cm wide fabrics.

- Jane & Fiona xx


  1. I was ohhing and ahhing over your dress and then saw my name! Eeep, thank you!
    I love what you have done here, I want a linen one, as does Zara but as she won't be feeding for the next 3 years I guess she will be getting one first!

    Love it!

    1. I hope you didn't mind me linking... yours is the loveliest version I've seen and totally tipped me over the edge of wanting to make it! Yes sadly not a breastfeeding-friendly design, but sounds like Zara is in luck :)

  2. Oh my goodness, Jane!!! It's gorgeous in that natural linen and suits you so well! You look positively beaming in these photographs, and that looks like a wonderfully comfortable dress!

    1. Why thank you! I have decided that there's hardly anything that wouldn't look great in natural linen - so easy to overlook on the roll but so lovely when made up.

  3. Really really love your version Jane - so very flattering on you. Seeing yours in linen is making me rethink my planned version....

  4. wow - so, so amazing! i absolutely love this. such wonderful details! and it looks fabulous on you!

  5. Love the pleats and non puffy sleeves. Great review!


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