A brave and fun-ghi: the Chataigne shorts

Okay, a disclaimer before the post proper: I am rather.. apprehensive, shall we say, to put these photos up here. I don’t have the best bod and never have, although I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got (an in-proportion pear shape). While I do have a reasonably good body image, I do still get down in the dumps, and I know that I have rolls and my legs have dimples.

Being self-conscious is part of the reason why I’ve never worn shorts. That, it’s hard to find nice ones that fit me, and I always get the horrible inner-thighs-riding-up thing. Also, some people feel they have the right to question what people wear, because it “offends them”.

When Deer & Doe released their Chataigne Shorts pattern, I was torn. They were hella cute, and the corseted waist was interesting and probably would be flattering, but could I get away with wearing short-shorts? Was I allowed? For some reason I decided to google the matter and found this excellent website – sure these girls have rolls and dimples and white or dark skin, but they look FABULOUS. The idea that I shouldn’t wear shorts because someone else doesn’t want to look at my legs is surely another form of victim blaming, and I won’t have a bar of it!

So, I bought the pattern and have finally made it up, so here we go and please be kind: my Chataigne shorts.


The shorts are the first project I’ve made with my pants sloper (which I made at The Dreamstress School of Dressmaking – perfect fit pants class – highly recommended if you’re based in or near Wellington). I used the waist pieces as is, and traced the legs as a combination of the original pattern, and the sloper, making sure to get the crotch length/rise the same as my sloper, which worked well. I also lengthened the shorts by a few inches, else they would be super short. My muslin just showed I needed more room in the waist but otherwise the fit was adequate. You can see the crotch length is perhaps a bit short, or it may be to do with the style, but there’s a bit of pulling down there.

ImageI love the word crotch. Maybe just because everyone else hates it.

The waist pieces are also a bit small still, leading to horizontal pulling and a visible tummy button, although they actually don’t feel too tight. Funnily, these are actually remarkably comfortable, it’s like they just hold everything in place! The only thing I notice when wearing them is that the hems are a bit tight (maybe because of the way I’ve sewn them).

ImageOtherwise, I’m really comfortable in these. I’m not worried about the dreaded “muffin top”, and shockingly the inner thighs don’t seem to ride up!! I’m guessing this is because of the fuller thigh adjustment we did on the sloper, but I always thought it was inevitable (for years I battled with chafe, which is the reason that I never, ever went without stockings or culotte petticoats until I was 23 and lost a bit of weight and could get away with not wearing them). Sorry if that’s TMI!

ImageYou may notice that this is the same fabric as Mr. Guy’s trousers… and, well, I swear this isn’t on purpose:

ImageIn the middle is my face, when realising that we accidentally have quite a lof of matching outfits


Sorry rachelinred! I swear it wasn’t on purpose.

In terms of construction, I flat felled both the side and inner leg seams. Hems are overlocked, folded then folded again (therefore really strong, and the reason why I think they’re a bit constricting). Crotch seam and pockets were overlocked. The seams in the waistband we pressed open and left to reduce bulk. And because the cotton twill is quite thick, I lined them with quilting cotton:


The zip doesn’t match, because it’s all I had and it’s an invisible zip (although because they’re fitting I think you can see it a bit at the perfectly matching seam 😀


I am pretty sure I’ll make these again; probably using 10mm seam allowances to loosen them and perhaps in a stretch wool or denim for some winter shorts that will look great with stockings.


Pattern: Chataigne shorts by Deer & Doe

Fabric: Blue cotton twill, and quilting cotton, leftover from other projects

Notions: thread and zipper, stash

Total: zilch.

ImageSo, thanks for letting my bare my legs. With this kind of thing it’s tempting to put stockings on first (despite the heat), stylise the photos somehow or even avoid them altogether, but doing this sort of thing is how you really come to grips with your body image, and if noone does it, people think it shouldn’t be done! There’s not enough plus-sized sewing bloggers out there which can be hard, because you only see how certain patterns look on slimmer people. So there you go – I recommend these shorts for plus-sized ladies, although only if you’re comfortable with a fitted waist!


Oh, for Morgan and anyone else who cares, the lipstick is Flat Out Fabulous, by MAC cosmetics: one of my absolute fav colours.


Deer, Doe and Low: The Pavot Jacket

Please forgive me for what’s probably going to be a very self-depricating post. It starts with some bad feels, a bad haircut, and a recently finished coat that I don’t love at all.

I know, I know, I can hear you saying – “isn’t that the case with almost ALL of the things you’ve sewn recently?” and the answer is, yes. Somehow I’ve gotten myself into a sewing slump, where I’m making mistakes on a few levels – the fabric may not be right, the pattern doesn’t suit me, I try some fancy thing I’m not ready for, or/AND I rush through it, not taking the time to execute the techniques well enough.

As a person, I’m very impatient. I talk fast and expect others to talk fast. I don’t like waiting. And in my sewing, it means I want to wear the item NOW, which has often lead to taking shortcuts (I have many a dress that never received a hem, because I wanted to wear it before it was fully finished and I hate hemming). But recently I’ve come to ask myself: if I’m just rushing through to the finish line, what’s even the point? If the garment fits like RTW and the finishing is worse, why don’t I just buy all my clothes? (I did answer this question when I walked into a shop last week and promptly had to walk out again, because the biggest size they sold was 14. DAMNIT I wanted some high waisted jeans!)

Mr. Guy and I have just done a big move – two days of driving (with a very well behaved cat and dog in the car) has lead us to Rawene, a small town (population 538 – now 540) where I’ll be doing a rural GP run for the next three months. Mr. Guy will be a “kept man”, puppy daddy (yes, we just got a new puppy :D), and do casual electrical work. I’m hoping to take this time to really slow down my sewing, and enjoy each step rather than dreading it (“oh, cutting out/basting/trying on/buttonholes/hemming is my least favourite bit of sewing” – sound familiar?). Plus I’m hours away from any fabric or notions shop (I’ll be using the Made on Marion mail service) so I can’t be crow-like, getting distracted by all sorts of pretty new things.

So – for the jacket (and the haircut. Ugh it is terrible – it’s like a bowl cut on the top and longer flicky bits at the bottom. DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN’T SEE IT/IT’S NOT THAT BAD)


I was pretty keen on the design of this coat when I first saw it, thinking it my ideal style for a coat, with the peter pan collar, a-line skirt and length. And I still do like the design, just not this version of it. It took me ages to find a fabric suitable for it (and actually I think this fabric is a bit too stiff). I stupidly didn’t make a muslin because I knew it would be big enough (are warning bells starting to clang yet) – however, it ended up quite a lot too big.




I know that coats should be a bit big/not form fitting, because they’re often worn over jumpers. However I think, given the general shape of the coat, that the size is unflattering as the waist should really nip in, and there shouldn’t be large caverns in front of my bosom.


I thought I would be a fancy lady and make bound button holes. My sample worked beautifully but unfortunately the interfaced fabric was REALLY stiff, and the button placket actually wasn’t big enough to accommodate them well. Then I got fed up and grumpy and just did machine buttonholes on the facing, which are ugly and don’t line up (the bottom two buttons can’t even do up). I did take the time to bind every seam so the insides look pretty cool!


As you can see in all the photos, I’m not so happy. I think this is the item that made me really think about what I’m doing, and realise that I DO love making my own clothes, and I’m most happy when the items are unique and very well made. So I need to force myself to slow down and take the time to make beautiful clothes that are better than RTW, at least for me.

This coat didn’t even get one wear – I only finished it so I could get it out of my sight (I gave it to Tough Chick but I don’t even think she really wanted it). I actually bought some emerald green wool felt last weekend to make another coat – this one I will muslin, and will likely base off this pattern but use patterns I know fit me well. I want it to be better than the beautiful locally made $400 coats at a local shop (Duncan McLean).


Gah, I hope you all still want to read my blog after all the crappy feels I’ve been putting out there. Does it help to provide a cute photo of our new puppy, Jessie?


This photo is from when we first got her at (8 weeks old, weighing in a 5.4kg). Only two weeks later and she’s already >8kg!


Deer & Doe Bleuet

I present, my first make from Deer & Doe patterns: the Bleuet dress.


I had been eyeing up this pattern for a while. Although, I’m sad to say, I’m not a big fan of many of the versions I’ve seen, I still loved the style and details (Jo asked me why I decided to make it when I haven’t seen any versions I love. My answer was “I figured I could make it better). Weirdly, I’ve loved almost every version of the Belladone, but actually dislike the pattern itself.


After making it up, I’m not sure how I feel about this dress.


  • Cute as hell
  • Look at that bow in the princess seam!
  • Details that I love: sleeves and collar (with a stand)
  • I like linen! And it was only $3/m, crazy talk.
  • My first collar stand went pretty well.


  • The fit is not great. I awesomely didn’t make a muslin, and so the waist sits too high (about 2″) and the hips are too flared (I measured the pieces and determined I needed more). Consequently it’s not as flattering as I’d like, because it’s missing the narrowest part of my waist.
  • The construction.. ugh. When I tried it on half-way through, it was going to be too small over the bust – so instead of folding the placket over twice, I folded once – leaving an overlocked edge exposed (inside). If I left it at that, it would be too big above the chest, so I took more of a wedge there…. messy.
  • The pattern instructions are sparce. Whether that’s how they started off (I think so) or because they’re translated I’m not sure. They’re fine, and you could easily get away with not using them at all, but one of my favourite things about indie patterns (particularly Sewaholic and Papercut patterns) is the attention to detail in the instructions, ensuring a nice inside to the garment.
  • Despite being careful to put a button over the breast point, it still gapes a bit, so I’ll always have to wear a slip (I need to make one – currently I just have op-shop polyester numbers) and even then it’s a bit dodgy.
  • I did horizontal buttonholes because I figured that way they wouldn’t have any chance of popping open. It’s true, but the placket wasn’t wide enough so the buttonholes go off the edge of the interfacing…


You can see the dodgily tapered button placket on the left.

Despite the issues, it is wearable and looks quite nice on, so I will continue to wear it (can you tell I’m in a negative mood as I write this? Goodness knows why, just one of those days). I’m just not sure I’ll make this pattern up again.

ImageThis is in response to Mr. Guy telling me to straighten my posture. Mega-gape.


Pattern: Bleuet (blueberry) by Deer & Doe Patterns

Fabric: navy textured linen, $3/m from The Fabric Warehouse pop-up sale, $6

Notions: 15 buttons, $1.20 each. Thread and interfacing, stash. Total = $18

Total: $24


My question to you: why do you choose to sew with indie patterns (if at all)? Is it because of the designs, the instructions, certain fits (like those drafted to pear shapes), supporting small businesses, or a sense of loyalty to the sewing community and mistrust of The Big Four?

PS what the hang is with wordpress’s spellcheck? It doesn’t know the words “waist”, “sew”, and “pear”. Wut