Monday, 14 December 2020

autumn sewing: Fumeterre toile

Hello! Here's an intro!

Here we have the Deer & Doe Fumeterre skirt, which I've considered on and off for several years. I love the idea of a maxi skirt appropriate for cooler weather, and this one seemed to offer a bit of room at the hips without being overly poofy. I always held back, though, because a) I wasn't sure how much of my interest was just Teen Goth Jen reacting to the styling and b) I was concerned about practicality. The samples show a floor-length skirt and I live in quasi-central London where everything is drizzles and puddles and surprise pavement dirt and I just couldn't imagine how or where I would wear that. But the pattern was suggested to me as an option for my beautiful barkcloth, and it made perfect sense to me. The fabric is both expensive and white, meaning I'm not going to want it as an everyday garment, and as much as I like the idea in theory I'm also not going to get much use out of Event Overalls. But a statement maxi skirt for nice dinners (and similar occasions) would be super useful - I get to dress up without feeling overdressed, the fabric gets enough wear to feel worthwhile without getting ruined by overuse, and when I sit down to eat I can cover it with a napkin. Amazing. But I wasn't prepared to just cut into it for an untested pattern, so it was the crap crepe's time to shine.

The crap crepe, incidentally, is the reason I will not be wearing this version. I hate it SO MUCH. No wonder I could never pick a pattern to go with it. I had remembered the texture being a bit odd, but it's way worse than that. This fabric is ass. It is the Itchy and Scratchy show. It's like taking an old-school bathroom sponge with the massive holes, cutting into various misshapen spikes, and hurling it at your own legs as you walk. Accidentally brushing the back of my hand against it genuinely sets my teeth on edge. It is truly nasty and I'm so glad I moved it to the toile pile.

As to the pattern itself, I really like the shape of the skirt. I think it's a perfect cool-weather shape and style, and I'm definitely making plans for a couple more everyday versions. I'd love a wool mix for winter. (The pattern recommends lightweight fabric, but this was absolutely fine and also I am absolutely not making a fly-front rayon skirt.) I was a bit worried by the patch pockets, which I don't normally like for myself, but these are only semi-patched - the pockets are the size and shape of the side front panel, meaning the side seams enclose the pocket sides and only the bottom edge is sewn like a traditional patch pocket. As someone who is Bad At Hems, I always appreciate Deer & Doe's inclusion of hem facings, and I really like what it does to this skirt. On me, this is also the absolute perfect length for a maxi. Ankles more or less covered, but not in danger of trailing on the floor. I'm not actually sure why this is; I'm tall but not super tall (around 5'8" depending on posture), the skirt is floor length in pictures and most reviews say they found the pattern hilariously over-long. My first Magnolia dress also came up way shorter than I expected, so this may be a strange personal idiosyncrasy.

What I really did not like were the instructions. I've never had a problem like this with Deer & Doe before, but I did not get on with these at all. The directions for the fly front literally made me think I was losing my mind. I went from "fairly OK with fly fronts but could use a set of instructions to remind me" to "oh, maybe I'm really not OK with fly fronts" to "WHAT IS LEFT" in the space of three bullet points. There are a few things wrong with them, but the main issue is that they switch the perspective halfway through the instructions from "as worn" to "as it faces you" meaning ALL the instructions are for the left side of the zip. I can't deal with that. I don't care which way round you do left and right, but you cannot tell me everything is left, my brain will melt down. Immediately after I finished this I started working on my biker jacket toile, and that is a very bad idea for someone suddenly insecure in left and right. (Fortunately, it turns out that after several minutes' break to scream at the sky, I could just sit down and work it out myself based on what a fly front logically needs to be able to do.)

The waistband construction was also weird. The instructions have you leave holes in the inner waistband seams for the elastic, then attach the inner waistband to the skirt first. I don't understand that and didn't do it. I sewed it the usual way and attached the elastic to the inner waistband before I stitched it down. They specify "half a yard" of elastic for all the sizes, which was too much for me in a 48 so it's a real waste of elastic for the smaller sizes.

Despite those quibbles, I decided to go ahead and cut into my fancy barkcloth. Which I will show you, but I want to make a small disclaimer: I put a lining in this version, and I did something wrong and it's hitched up at the hem. I didn't notice this until I came to edit my photos because there is no full-length mirror in this flat since the last one exploded (I am SO READY to be gone, can you tell), so I couldn't see it. It's on my mending pile to be corrected, but given how much I've struggled with photos recently I'm not going to take these again. 

The barkcloth is too heavy to flow like the crepe, but I really like the shape it holds. I lined this one, as I said, and I also omitted the back elastic because I didn't want any gathering in a fabric this thick. There's really not that much difference in the fit, if I'm honest. I think it's going to be a great dinner skirt once I've fixed the hitch, and I'm looking forward to dinner being a thing again. 

Up next: Hepburn tops! The Trousers of Plausible Deniability! 

Deer & Doe Fumeterre skirt

Fabric: scratchy green crepe from Walthamstow // Cloud 9 barkcloth from Minerva
Cost: £6 // given to me in exchange for a blog post, but would have been around £90 if I'd bought it
Pattern details: Panelled maxi skirt with a front fly, slightly elasticated back waist, semi-patch pockets and hem facing
Size: 48
Alterations: Added lining and omitted elastic on version two
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes with caveat about the instructions

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