Deer and Doe | Airelle II
In the typical mad frenzy that usually overtakes me when something big and exciting is about to happen, I found myself deciding I desperately needed, needed, a new blouse to wear for day one of my PhD. [Edit: so didn't need a blouse; probably needed the distraction.] By cleverly using not even near the required amount for a Sew Over It Kimono Jacket (blog to come when I've finished the mountain of hand sewing), I was pretty confident I'd be able to get a Deer and Doe Airelle Blouse from the leftovers, and I did!
[Note: this is the second D&D Airelle, so I'm shamelessly lifting parts of that post for this. The major differences are a few tips for getting the Airelle out of about a metre of fabric, an alteration to the pattern sleeve and the French seams I used throughout.]
Process and Progress
The pattern is Deer and Doe's Airelle. I love how D&D break down their patterns into Botany for woven patterns and Meteorology for knits, and also their names for the individual patterns: Airelle, from the Botany collection, translates to huckleberry. The fabric is Botanical Flamenco, a cotton lawn from Fabric Godmother.
My third D&D pattern and second time I've made this pattern, I find this French pattern company rather special; I feel more and more confident in buying their patterns that it's unlikely to be a one-off. This may be my TNT pattern company. Their style is heart-breakingly good, their cup-size is generous, their product design is on point and their directions are clear and concise. I will not hear a bad word about them!
I couldn't be bothered grading between sizes so went for a straight 44 (I'm 42 at the bust), and having it looser was great for this warm weather. I made the short sleeve Version B (and envision making the long sleeve in future), but for this one left out the sleeve gathers and sleeve cuff. Wellington's spring has been SO hot, I didn't want the constriction of the sleeve cuff. This is a level three make, and I found the directions clear and easy to follow. Generally, I think I'm learning I prefer drawings/diagrams in patterns over photographs, and D&D's diagrams are excellent.
D&D recommend 1.6m of 150cm wide fabric for Version B, but I'm confident that with a little fanegaling you can get it out of between 1m and 1.2m. (I was able to get it out of about 1m, including having to make sure my flamencos didn't end up on their heads, so if you have a spare metre or so to stash-bust, give this lady a go!) The main change I think I made was I didn't cut the collar pieces or neck facings on the fold: I cut them in to halves with some seam allowance and joined them.
My one general note about D&D patterns is this: I prefer to do all my cutting, including interfacing, before I begin a project and like it when directions include the prompt to cut interfacing while you're cutting fabric. With both Airelle and Arum this has caught me out: I'm in full sewing swing and suddenly need to cut out my interfacing. Minor issue! —But there you go. [I remembered this time and did all my cutting out at the beginning, just as I like it!]
D&D use a different instruction for gathers than I'm used to, and I think I kinda like it... However, if you're using a delicate fabric take heed! Your two lines of basting stitches sit either side of your seam line, that is you sew one at 3/8" and one at 6/8", and your seam is 5/8". This was fine with my cotton, but in anything more fragile I wouldn't do this as it leaves little needle marks after you've removed your basting (in a RTW silk top I have these needle marks have become quite pronounced with age, see photos below).
Fit and Finish
I STILL love Airelle! Love her. She is comfortable and kindly to wear in all sorts of different ways far beyond my first day back at school.
To add to her already apparent beauty on the outside (ha! modest much?) I made her guts as lovely as possible. As I had already made this blouse I felt confident to French seam her. Although I have done French seams in the past I haven't French seamed a set-in sleeve, so turned to this very good tutorial from Grainline Studios. This is an excellent post as it tells you the different measurements to use for different seam allowances, and walks you through from the simple (side seams etc) to the more complex (set-in sleeves). And her guts are lovely; occasionally a little squiffy (well, they are guts after all), but mostly lovely.
I also borrowed some techniques from Closet Case Patterns Charlie Caftan tutorials for sewing the V-neckline. My one still isn't perfect, but it is an improvement on my first Airelle. I so appreciate the generous tutorials that can be found on both Closet Case Patterns and Grainline Studios. It's really great for a striving perfectionist like me! Anyway, here are the pair of them, hanging out and drying in the summer sunshine: