Y’all know by now that I love Deer and Doe patterns. And shirts. The Bruyere has been on my sewing list for a realllllly long time, but I struggled to find the right fabric and wasn’t prepared to settle on something that was a bit ‘meh’.
I knew that I wanted to make a plaid version, as I wanted to use bias highlights on the placket, collar, waistband and cuffs. I’d seen versions on t’intenet that were made from all different sorts of printed fabric, but the style lines of the shirt just get a bit lost amongst the print. To me, it was crying out for a checked fabric. Plain versions look good, but you know how hard it is for me to make something plain… 😀
The Bruyere is a button-up shirt with a waistband, and a slightly longer length. Perfect for looking smart enough at work, but not feeling uncomfortable in a fitted shirt. Make it in a soft flannel and you’re heading for secret-pyjama territory.
I spent hours, literally hours, browsing the internet looking at plaid fabric. (As a side note, I always thought that ‘plaid’ was pronounced ‘played’, but apparently its ‘plad’?! I’m not sure I can change my ways now) I looked and looked and looked but couldn’t find the right one. I wanted a brushed cotton, flannel-y type fabric, but one that dodged the ‘christmas’ and also ‘tablecloth’ vibes. Plus I’m fussy on colour, so that doesn’t help the cause. I have this one plaid flannel shirt by Current Elliot that I absolutely LOVE, and basically I wanted to make a Bruyere that I loved just as much.
After months of searching, I eventually got some vintage fabric off Etsy. It’s not *exactly* as I’d hoped – its brushed on one side but the other is, well, not ‘rough’ exactly but not as soft as the brushed side. It’s quite a sturdy fabric, with a dense weave, so it’s the perfect weight for a winter shirt. Hopefully with a few washes it’ll soften up. Blue isn’t a colour I usually wear, but it was described online as a ‘petrol’ blue which I’m ok with… I just kept all my fingers crossed that when it arrived and I saw it in real life, it was indeed a petrol blue – thankfully, it was. #winning.
Plaid matching was going to be a necessity here, as the potential for the whole thing to look a total shambles was high. I’d ordered extra fabric to allow me to be able to do this – the pattern says 2.5 yards so I bought three – and in the end I used most of those three yards, partly because I ended up re-cutting some pieces (but more on that later). I tried to think as much as possible about matching across the placket, and also vertically down the shirt either side of the waistband. Also I wanted to mirror the pieces on either side of the dress… There was a LOT to think about! I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, even though I had to re-cut a couple of panels as the fabric was a bit off grain in one direction and it bothered me to look at 🙁 (Yes, I’m *THAT* OCD person)
It was enjoyable to sew – I French seamed the insides to keep it looking nice, and used bias tape on the hem. I think I’m addicted to hemming with bias tape now – not many garments I make escape it. The only thing that’s a little annoying is that the seams don’t join EXACTLY at the sides where the waistband is – but after I’d made the Bruyere I got a little tip-off from Sew Sarah Smith about fork pins.
I’d never heard of them before, but as the name suggests they are a pin with more than one prong and they are used for keeping adjoining seams in place as you sew them, so that everything lines up nicely once its sewn. I’ll definitely give them a try on the next version, as I found that with the thickness of the fabric plus the French seams everything kind of shifted about under the needle 🙁 Afterwards, I also thought about cutting the waistband as one piece rather than three (back + two sides) to avoid having so many intersecting pieces at the side… but I need to consider whether this interferes with the side seams.
The one thing that bothers me about the design of the Bruyere is that it doesn’t include a collar stand – the collar is attached directly to the body of the shirt. I’ve only ever made shirts with collars AND collar stands, so this was a little bit weird for me. I’m unclear on the reason it would be left out – is it to make the pattern easier to sew? Is it not needed? Is the collar meant to be worn open, rather than buttoned up to the top? I just feel that the fact there is no ‘top button’ is a smidge weird, but then there’s no collar stand to put it on… It’s all just a bit odd to me, but then I do like a good collar stand. The collar lays a bit funny without the stand (or it might be dodgy stitching on my part) – it looks ok from the outside but the underneath isn’t flat.
The buttons start a little way down from the top – I would have preferred to have a top button placed right at the top, which I did consider but I was worried that because there’s several layers of fabric going on where the corners of the placket are turned in, adding a buttonhole and button on top of this was just asking for drama. So I took the safe option and started the buttons a couple of centimetres down from the top. This does mean that sometimes the very tops of the plackets don’t lay perfectly on top of each other, which is a little bit annoying – so I *may* put a small snap in between them just to keep everything in place. Maybe.
In a bizarre moment of inspiration, I sewed some embroidery across the back of the yoke – I don’t know why, it just struck me as I was sewing it that it might be a cool thing to do. It’s the first time I’ve used any of the embroidery stitches on the machine (and indeed the first time I’ve ever done this to clothing), and the feeling probably won’t strike me again for another 10 years, but I’m happy with how it looks.
There was muchos drama with the collar, partly because it’s a different shape to ‘traditional’ collars and I got a bit confused. I cut the first collar, sewed the two parts together, and then embroidered the wrong edge. Bugger. I wasn’t even going to attempt to unpick it, so I cut another set of collar pieces. Embroidered and sewed on correct edges. YAS. Then I decided I didn’t like the embroidery, on the collar, so I then cut a THIRD collar set, and just plain topstitched it. Yes. Happy. A bit later on I discovered that when I sewed the collar to the body I hadn’t caught a small section in the seam and it was flapping about at the back, so I had unpick and redo that bit. This collar was literally going to be the death of me.
Talking of re-cutting pieces, I sewed the cuff as per their instructions, but it felt a little weird. You just sandwich the sleeve in between the cuff layers and then stitch. I’ve never done a cuff this way before, and didn’t like that the cuff wasn’t actually ‘stitched’ to the sleeve, just topstitched. So I ripped that one off, cut another set (I’d accidentally interfaced the on-grain back of the cuff rather than the bias front anyway) and proceeded to attach it as per my usual shirt-making method and then topstitched afterwards. They tell you that one side of the cuff needs to stick out past the edge of the placket, in order for the two ends of the cuff to overlap so that you can attach the button, but they don’t tell you by how much… so I ended up just winging it. One side looks better than the other, but both cuffs are functional so I’m not unpicking it! The little placket is really cute too, though I’m not quite sure why mine looks proper skinny compared to the one in the instruction booklet… ???
The Current/Elliot shirt (my muse for the Bruyere) uses bronze-y coloured flat metal buttons, so I wanted to do the same with the Bruyere. I went to my trusty button shop (MacCullough and Wallis in Soho) but they didn’t have any plain metal buttons. Sad face. I didn’t want to buy online, as I was fussy about the colour tone of the button and wanted to see it in person, so bought the best option they had:
(and yes, this fabric is a magnet for dust and dog hair)
When it came to sewing them on the shirt though, something held me back. As a last desperate attempt, I had a rummage through my button box to see what I could find, and I came across a small set of decorative metal buttons that I picked up in Edinburgh a couple of years ago when I ran the marathon there (ha! those were the days when I was still fit enough to run, lolz). Although they weren’t the plain buttons I had in my mind, they worked pretty well with the fabric and the colour of the topstitching. I didn’t have enough to complete the front placket *and* the sleeve cuffs, unless I spread the placket out ridiculously thinly. Which would be a recipe for accidental-boobage-distaster so I know that wasn’t an option. I optimistically browsed for metal buttons online and came across the very same buttons on Minerva Crafts – yay! I bought enough to complete the set, and I’m really happy with how the buttons look. I’ll keep the other ones I bought until they find their destiny.
I took my usual approach with the hem and used bias tape, rather than turning up the hem and pressing. I JUST CANNOT GET A GOOD HEM by pressing. It must be my sausage fingers, they aren’t nimble enough for the job.
Overall I am very much in love with my Bruyere, and I’m glad I waited to find the right fabric. I’d love to make some more shirts from this pattern, maybe even some sleeveless summer versions, as it’s a really easy shirt to throw on for work and its super comfy. Hopefully it won’t take me six months to find the fabric for the next one though… ?
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I went to Paris recently – fabric shopping was had (obvs) but I also took several finished makes with me to photograph! The beautiful architecture makes fabulous backdrops – these pictures here were taken in the Louvre courtyard, while the snow was still lingering (it melted the day after!). Not my usual loud, in your face graffiti wall background, but it’s nice to mix things up a bit now and then 🙂
As a side note, this fabric is REALLY hard to photograph! The blue and the purple are really similar colours, and once you throw in snow which affects the white balance of the pictures things start to get a little cray-cray. The fabric looks totally different in most of the pictures but in the words of Cindy Lauper, you’ll see the true colours shining through in the photos below.
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… I made another Kielo!! This one might just be my most favourite yet… ? Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!