Two Bleuet shirtdresses

(tl;dr: the overview)

This dress continues my Deer and Doe love. I made these dresses nearly 2 years ago (around December 2015!), but never actually got around to writing them up.

The pattern is a lovely shirtdress, with a bunch of tailored details that makes this my favorite shirtdress pattern – princess seams, a stand collar, and a built-in button placket. Deer and Doe patterns are generally drafted for a D cup, and the curvy shaping of the princess seams shows that! I absolutely ADORE the shaping of the seams – this might be my best-fitting bodice yet.

Like the Belladone dress and the Chardon skirt by Deer and Doe, the skirt hem is fairly straight. This could be fun to use a border print on! It also has a hem facing, which is my favorite way to finish skirts.

I cut my usual mix of Deer and Doe sizes – a 38 front, and a 36 on the back, graded to a 40 at the hips on all the pieces. There’s also about a 1/4" extra at the bust seams that I don’t remember adding, but is definitely apparent now that I’m comparing my pattern pieces to the original.

I really didn’t like the gathered sleeves, so I swapped in the sleeves from the Simplicity 2444 pattern, and took 2" off those. Dresses without pockets are pointless, so I also threw side-seam pockets into both versions. I think I used the pocketbag from the Simplicity 2444 pattern.

The first time I wore this out was to one of my roommate’s birthday celebration. He wanted to go to the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the new (as of 2015) James Turrell exhibit in their sculpture garden. There also happened to be a large sewing-appropriate sculpture in that garden…

I’ve made this dress twice so far: once as a wearable muslin, and once in a polka-dot Cotton and Steel fabric. I keep meaning to make more, but haven’t gotten around to it. I think I want to tweak the flare in the skirt a bit first. Maybe I’ll take out some of the fullness in the skirt?

In the spirit of making wearable muslins, I pulled out a cut of fabric I bought a few months ago, but never touched. It’s a fairly heavy quilting cotton I impulse-bought when I first started sewing. I managed to squeeze the muslin out of 2 yards of fabric, which I’m pretty impressed by. Granted, the collar or collar stand isn’t particularly on grain, but hey.

The toile fabric was a border print, with a solid colored section which I used for the button plackets. Both versions use 1/2" buttons, instead of the 5/8" recommended.

I think this was the most fiddly thing I’d ever made at the time – collars and buttonholes and bears, oh my!

I followed the instructions very carefully, except for the collar. I used the Four Square Wall’s tutorial for putting the collar and the collar stand together. I’ve done it the classic way a few times, but always come back to this version, since it’s so much less fiddly.

The seams on both dresses are serged, then pressed and top-stitched. I didn’t quite have the patience (or the ironing setup!) to flat-fell the seams, but I might try that on the next version. (Spoiler – probably not. The faux flat-fell is good enough for me.)

I love the little bow on the back, and how it fits into the back princess seams and highlights the taper of the waist. I think it might be a little bit too twee, but the print on both versions is busy enough that it’s not overwhelming. Taking the gathers out of the sleeve definitely helped tone down the sweetness a bit, though. The pattern out of the envelope is incredibly saccharine.

There aren’t really many differences between the muslin and the final version. I lengthened the dress by about an inch, since I prefer skirts to hit me at the knee. It’s still a little too short for me to wear without tights, since the skirt tends to ride up a bit.

I also lost the English instruction booklet between making the muslin and the final dress, which resulted in me spending a lot of quality time with Google Translate. I’m impressed by how much technical sewing terminology Google handled, especially with words like “facings,” “topstitch,” and “iron-on interfacing.”

I found these perfect gold buttons at Stonemountain and Daughter, and used thread that matched some of the polka-dots as contrast. Every buttoned thing I’ve made has contrast thread, not least because I never have thread to match.


Fabric //



Notions //

Pattern //

Deer and Doe’s Bleuet Dress. (note: this is the updated version, with new sleeves and a different silhouette)

Sizing //

a 38 front, 36 back, graded to 40 at the hips. (plus taking the dress up at the shoulder seams)

See Also //

Sewaholic, Lladybird

Adjustments //