Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deer and Doe Melilot 'Popover' Version

I feel like I need to make excuses for this shirt because it's so, well, neutral and conservative. However, we all need a bit of that in our wardrobes and I really rather love this make.

This is my second version of the Deer and Doe Melilot shirt. I must love this pattern because it's quite something for me to sew two shirts with plackets and cuffs and all that palaver in a row!

The fabric is a beautifully soft, yarn-dyed brushed cotton with a teensy tiny check. There's a bit of this left in store and similar here. Buttons are shell, from my stash but we did just order some very similar for the shop!
Instead of the full button front I changed this Melilot to a partial placket, or 'popover' style. (I wasn't aware of the term popover until I saw the Grainline Archer 'popover' variation but I guess it's as good a description as any.)


To achieve this I folded away the button/buttonhole placket extension of the shirt front pattern piece until there was just half the button placket left (so, folded right along the line of the button placement marks). Then I cut the front on the fold of the fabric just like for the shirt back.

To make the front placket I made an enlarged version of the sleeve placket (sorry no exact measurements, I kind of just eyeballed it). The length of it finishes about in line with the bust darts. The only other adjustment I made was to shorten the back hem to the same length as the front.


I had some issues with where the bust darts sat on my first version and I've done a bit of analysis. Firstly I think this was affected by my wearing the shirt with a merino singlet underneath, which caught the double gauze and increased the way it was falling back over my shoulders. Secondly, I did a bit of investigation into 'forward shoulder adjustments', often recommended when the shoulder seam is sitting to the back of your natural shoulder line. The adjustment, as far as I can tell, just pivots the shoulder seam at the neck so it meets the sleeve at a more forward position (subtracting from the shirt front and adding to the back). I'm not convinced this is really any more than a cosmetic fix of where the seam sits, rather than addressing genuine fit (although I would be very happy to be convinced otherwise by someone more knowledgeable!). Additionally, I became a bit concerned that it was partly an issue of my poor posture and I've been making efforts to address that! The upshot of this whole thing is that I left the Melilot shoulders exactly as drafted. And I reckon for the most part it looks fine.

From the back, well I probably should learn how to make a sway back adjustment some time, le sigh. And my narrow sloping shoulders have the same effect in this as they do in the Deer and Doe Arum (which has a similar shoulder curve). Pffft, I care not. Carry on!
Thank you to my beautiful assistant!

This is already on high rotation in my wardrobe. I'm looking forward now to some warmer weather and making a short-sleeved Melilot or two.

- Jane & Fiona xx

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Deer and Doe Melilot shirt in Nani Iro double gauze

The Melilot shirt, a drop-shouldered button-up, is one of the latest patterns from French designers Deer and Doe. We love both the style and the fit of their patterns - click on the tag 'Deer and Doe' to the right and you'll see posts about others we've made. (There should be an accent on the e of Melilot but I don't know how to type that, forgive me!)

I made a combination of Views A and B: long sleeves with cuffs, but omitting the concealed button placket and collar (and no pockets). This fabric needs to speak for itself! However in a plain fabric these details would help make the garment special.

This Melilot came about partly by accident... I cut the wrong length of this amazing Nani Iro double gauze 'Beautiful Life' for a customer. But it was the right length for a Melilot, so what's a girl to do?
Like all Deer and Doe patterns I've tried, this came together very nicely. Their patterns are drafted for a C to D-cup bust which suits me very well (no FBA, yay!) and I am pretty confident of their sizing. I graded from a size 42 to 44 in the hips, going by the finished garment measurements given. There's not a lot of ease in the hips and it's a longer line shirt so make sure you check those finished measurements.

After a quick Instagram poll (this indecisive Libran loves decision-by-social-media!) I did not attempt pattern-matching. I think with this large-scale print it was a good choice. I did consider pattern placement though, to ensure no awkward circles and create visual balance.

The inside of the Melilot has a very neat finish, with French seams throughout. (Fun fact: by perusing both the English and French instructions I discovered that the French call French seams 'des coutures anglaises' - English seams! How bizarre.)


I had a bit of a time with the buttonholes, but it was entirely user error, so let's just move on and not examine them closely, okay? Look at the pretty mother-of-pearl buttons.

After one attempt to attach the collar stand following the Deer and Doe instructions, I unpicked and redid it following the method described by Jen of Grainline here. (I used it on my Alder and was really pleased with the result.) It's certainly possible to get a good result with the Deer and Doe method, and the Grainline technique tied my brain in knots the first time, but for me, it gives a more reliable clean finish. (See below: first try, second try.)


Technically, the bust dart sits way too high on me (you may be able to just pick them out in the photo below) (now you're going to feel awkward staring at that region for too long) but with the cut-on sleeve, I wonder if that's intentional? It looks too high to really hit anyone's natural bust apex and it creates just the right shape, so I wouldn't alter it on any future versions. **EDIT: On further investigation, the shoulder seam falls right back on me, thus pulling the whole front upwards. I guess this is because of my narrow, sloping shoulders, and perhaps I need a Forward Shoulder Adjustment? **
 Apologies for the wrinkled end-of-day photos but it's an imperfect world, isn't it?

And this is to demonstrate the rather lovely shaping of the Melilot. The shaped waistline looks impossibly exaggerated when laid flat but in reality it's just perfect. I'm not generally a button-up-shirt person, partly because I think they feel a bit restrictive, but the shoulder and sleeve design on the Melilot is very comfortable, and doubly so in this soft double gauze!

The short-sleeve version (which is actually just a cuff on the dropped shoulder) looks like a real winner for summer too so we think you'll see more of the Melilot around these parts.

NEWS FLASH - Deer and Doe have just let us know they now allow their retailers to sell online too, so we are working on adding them to our site!

- Jane & Fiona xx