Tuesday 31 January 2023

orage and chataigne

Guess who forgot to schedule this post for yesterday? January has somehow lasted a million years and I'm really not on top of the little stuff right now. It's not all bad, though -  for Christmas my in-laws got us a voucher for a really nice Andalusian restaurant so we had a lovely dinner last week, improv week two was way less nightmarish than improv week one and I actually quite enjoyed myself, and my singing teacher made the rash decision to let me pick a Skunk Anansie song to learn. So I'm having a lot of fun when life isn't being a dreadful slog. 

Anyway, I'd like to introduce you to my new favourite top:

This is the Deer & Doe Orage. I bought both of their most recent releases, and you'll be seeing the other one next week (or on Instagram a couple of weeks ago). I wasn't sure about the Orage as a dress - the skirt is midi length and dips lower at the front and back, which seems like the worst possible style and shape for me - but I thought the top part looked cool and if it didn't work for me, there were two other top variations that almost certainly would. So I tried all three of the tops, of which you will be seeing two because I used the wrong fabric for the third and it looked like ass. 

I got this fabric in the Abakhan remnant bins in September. It's a lightweight textured jersey with a lot of stretch, and I bought it entirely for the colour with zero idea what I was going to do with it. It didn't feel at all like a sacrifice to use it as a toile, even though I was pretty convinced it wasn't going to work. I was absolutely delighted to be wrong. I love this. I don't normally like high necks, but somehow this one really suits me and doesn't itch. The boob window sits nice and flat in exactly the right place and doesn't gape when I bend forward. I'm thrilled with the way the colour looks on me. I'm constantly searching for comfortable jersey tops for daywear with some level of interest to them, and this one ticks every single box for me.

Within the pattern this view is only intended to be the bodice for a dress, so it's quite cropped. I like crop lengths as I'm quite short-waisted and tend to prefer high-waisted trousers, but this was still a tiny bit short so I put a wide hem band on. I will mostly likely do this for future versions too, because I like the symmetry with the wide neck band. I also put cuffs on it, after trying to hem the sleeves and discovering that the fabric really did not want to do that. Again, this is something I will probably repeat in future. 

The trousers are the Victory Patterns Esther Pants, which I think I showed in passing in a post about something else. I made them about three years ago and they didn't fit me then, but I had spent so long getting every single thing right and sewing them as well as I could that I refused to get rid of them. They even survived the house-moving cull, despite me being no closer to fitting into them at the time. I'm now delighted I stubbornly held onto them, as they've been my best-fitting pair of trousers for the past eight months and I wear the shit out of them. This outfit is my current favourite and I wear it constantly. 

In standard fashion, I immediately wanted to make another version of this top and bought some quite pricey bamboo jersey to do so. This turned out to be a mistake. 

Other than the obvious Much Smaller Boob Window, which I don't fully understand and don't like (I think the lower part of the bodice is cut too high), version two looks basically okay in these photos. Let me assure you that it is not. The mock neck is not fitted enough to be made in this kind of jersey, and it looks like shit. Also if I move around too much it gets all distorted and weird-looking around the shoulders. I have thrown this version out, and am on the lookout for a jersey that's less... floppy? I'm not sure what the correct fabric word is here. But I will be making another, as soon as humanly possible.

Before I get on to the shorts, I will quickly mention the scoop neck view, which doesn't really merit much analysis. It's a nice top, it fits me well because Deer & Doe's knit block always fits me well, I will make it again, I have very little to say about it. Here it is:

(Fabric is a remnant from a sweater knit Kielo I made back in the autumn and never got around to posting because I absolutely cannot justify any more standalone posts about the Kielo. There's probably an incoming post of "stuff I have literally nothing more to say about" that's almost entirely pictures, or another story post broken up with pictures of random shit I made.)

The shorts are the Deer & Doe Chataigne. I bought the pattern in 2016, made it once, immediately sized out of the extremely limited range. But I kept the pattern because I liked it, and now I'm within that size range again I thought I'd have another go and see how it was fitting me these days. 

You may recognise the fabric as a leftover from this dress. You also may remember that the fabric is stretchy, so I didn't bother putting a zip in either the dress or these shorts. For the actual pair I eventually make (in a nice wool, to wear over tights) I will put the zip in, but this was only intended as a quick toile. I'm surprised by how much I like them, actually. Under normal circumstances bright blue shorts would never have occurred to me. I made size 46, which is what was already cut out and in retrospect absolutely did not fit me at all at the time. For my current size it works pretty well, though I will probably go down a size in the waist for my real pair. 

I'm also thinking about making another version, in a low-stretch black ponte, to be my new pair of shorts for burlesque classes. The pattern has a second view with a high waist and scalloped hem, which seems like exactly what I want, but I will definitely want to practice the scalloped hem a few times first. 

I'm making the most of a couple of fairly quiet weeks. Once we hit mid-February my schedule is nuts for about two months straight, and I'm both excited about it and dreading it. On the one hand, Things are good. On the other, Things are exhausting. But I'm hoping to still carve out time to sew, and ideally make a proper plan for spring. Not promising anything, of course. But I hope so. 

Up next: a DRAMA SKIRT

Deer&Doe Orage (review of top versions only)

Fabric: Green textured jersey from Abakhan // black bamboo jersey from Fabrics Galore // black and white sweater knit from Fabric Land
Cost: can only meaningfully cost the bamboo jersey, which was £24
Pattern details: tops, dress and skirt. Tops are: long sleeves, mock neck, cutout bodice; squared scoop neck and 3/4 sleeves; short sleeved crop top. Skirt is midi length with curved hem
Size: 44
Alterations:  Cropped the cutout bodice version, added cuffs and hem band
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes

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