Star gazing Bruyere

Did this project start with the pattern or the fabric? I'm not really sure but I knew that they were a perfect match. Perhaps it is because most of the Bruyere shirts I love seem to be or feature blue? Some of my favourites: the original by Deer and Doe, TillyAnna, and Lauren. I adore the feminine feel of this pattern - the box pleats and the gentle gathering at the cuffs. 

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My feelings toward this project have been mixed. It started out with excitement as my toile revealed I needed only one minor change - removing 1.5cm from the bottom skirt. This shirt is seriously long! As construction progressed I feel out of love - symptomatic of the way I was feeling in December and going on several dates with my seam ripper didn't help. However, that is all forgotten and after a couple of wears, I'm rather pleased with the way it came out. 

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The fabric is a quality cotton and I was drawn to the little stars and dots. I think it was Victoria who brought it to the Sew Brum swap and I snapped it up as soon as I saw it. As you would expect, it was very easy to work with. It's reasonably soft but still has some crispness to it which makes it delightful to wear. Sadly I didn't have enough to cut the facings which are a pale pink cotton from my stash. I quite like the subtle pop of colour around the front neckline. 

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This pattern is marked as advanced and I think that is because there are a couple of tricky techniques but with some patience and careful stitching most people will be able to complete this. Creating the sleeve plackets was a new experience for me. They have come out ok but I would suggest a practice run if you've not done them before so you can get a feel for the precision needed. I was convinced that my stitching was dramatically off, but it turns out its not so bad. I love the way the button plackets and facings are finished - it looks so neat and clean. I found the pictures a little confusing but got there with the help of the sewalong. Essentially, the placket is pressed in half, opened and then the raw edges taken into the centre so they are encased. The facings are placed under the placket before being stitched down.

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A nice design detail of this pattern is the top stitching. I struggled to find a thread that worked well as white was too stark for the amount needed. In the end I went without and hand stitched the button plackets in place. The buttons are those I saved from Adam's old work shirts and I added two smaller ones to each cuff.

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I'm rather pleased with how this shirt fits. Generally I have a hate relationship with rtw shirts as I always get the dreaded gaps between buttons. Not on this shirt and hopefully never again! I don't think this shirt is quite right though. You'll notice that I have the bottom button undone and this is because the shirt feels too tight across my legs if it is done it. This suggests the shirt is still too long and I'm very tempted to take it up and lose the bottom button hole. What do you think? Should I add this to my small list of items to take up? 

Completed: Reglisse

How many of you have seen the Spring-Summer collection from Deer & Doe? When they came out I knew that I would soon be the owner of the Reglisse and it would become one of the yet to be named patterns in my 20:20 challenge. I was drawn to the elegance of it on the model and figured it would be a perfect summer dress. A few weeks later I was in Masons, a local fabric shop, looking for fabric specific to a future project when I saw a girl drape a medium weight cotton over her arm. Have you have had that moment when you go "I HAVE to buy that?!" Well, that is what happened and I decided to pair that fabric with the pattern. Yes, it is blue but it has small white spots on it! They don't come out well in the photos so you'll need to believe me they are there. I need to double check my numbers but I'm pretty certain that I will soon have to leave the blue and pink fabric alone!

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I couldn't wait for the sewalong and jumped straight in. The pattern is wonderful and it is straightforward to make. The bodice is cut on the bias and it has an elastic waistband. I always tend to read the instructions, even if I don't follow them when actually sewing. They are clear although I seem to have missed the line where it tells you to stitch the sides of the bodice together... The skirt is flared and gobbles up fabric. The pattern calls for 3m of 150cm wide fabric if you want to include the collar. I only had 3m at 115cm so sacrificed the collar but managed to squeeze out the rest of the dress with some creative layouts before cutting. I even managed to get the 4m of bias tape out of it!

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I graded out from the bust to the waist and then in again to the hips - my standard alterations. I made a toile for the bodice and it fitted perfectly. The bust darts are exactly in place and the length of the bodice hits perfectly at my natural waist. Even the length is where I wanted it to be. It is the first pattern in a long time where the fitting felt effortless. 

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The cotton was also a breeze to work with it. It hardly moved when prepared for stitching at the machine and stayed in place after just one press. Making the bias tape was extremely easy as a result which was great as pinning it and sewing it onto the skirt felt like an age. It also encloses the neckline. That is when I realised just how flared the skirt is. It also helped for a very tidy finish on the inside. I used French seams where possible and overlocked the rest - they are probably the neatest finished seams I have produced to date. 

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How do I feel about this dress? I absolutely adore it, as those I have spoken to since its completion can testify! I love everything about it, the fabric, the cut, the skirt, the sleeves. Need I go on? It will work well with my pink or white cardigans and a red one, when I finally get round to finding one. I can wear it with a belt or not. I wore it for a warm but slightly breezy afternoon in the park yesterday and stayed reasonably cool. There is a minor issue with it though and that is with the skirt. If you're not careful a gust of wind will reveal everything under it so I'll probably have to invest in a slip to keep my dignity! Having said that, it will take an effort not to wear it everyday and I can see me making a few more of these.