Geometric Ornithology

I made my first version of the Deer and Doe Bruyere at the end of last year, after – no joke – spending six months searching for the right fabric. Turns out it was totally worth the wait, as the pattern fitted me straight off the bat and I absolutely loved it ?

It solved a lot of the fit problems I have with other shirts I’ve sewn:

  • Boob drag lines – this one has bust darts (unlike my Vogue/DKNY V1462) so fits better round the chest
  • Massive armscye – the Bruyere is actually drafted for normal sized armpits, unlike what seems like 95% of other sewing patterns ??‍♀️ (RDC Jolaine, I’m looking at you)
  • Bin-liner chic – because of the waistband and hourglass shape of the Bruyere, I can have a shirt that fits my hips AND my waist rather than cutting a size based on my hips and then having four hundred inches of ease around my waist ??‍♀️

The panelled design of this shirt is both its saviour and it’s downfall – for me, anyway. I get an amazing fit, but I have to pass up on most prints because each separate element of the shirt isn’t that big, and/or has darts running through it, so anything too large-scale is just going to look crap and choppy. Choose a print that’s too busy and the nice construction lines that you’re going to spend so long crafting are just going to be lost in the chaos. Which is why it took me six months to find fabric for the last one ??‍♀️

The natural progression from a long-sleeved shirt that I loved so much was obvs to make the sleeveless version, and thankfully it didn’t take me as long to find fabric for this one.

I chose the Bye Bye Birdie fabric by Atelier Brunette, which I used a couple of years back on a shirt for the husbeast:

Vogue V8759 men's shirt Bye Bye Birdie Atelier Brunette red leather collar

**there may, just MAY, be a matchy-matchy photoshoot in our future ??**

It’s a beautifully lightweight cotton, perfect for summer, and the pattern is just enough to hold my interest but not too busy that it can’t handle being chopped into for the Bruyere. Win.

The one thing I really love about the Bruyere (and indeed, most of Deer and Doe’s patterns) is the beautiful finish on the inside. Everything is French seamed or enclosed under the yoke – there isn’t a raw edge in sight. This sort of thing makes me insanely happy. Other pattern brands could definitely learn something from their attention to these sorts of details. Their instruction booklets are also easy on the eye and easy to follow – yes, I’ll admit I’m a total fan girl. I’m not ashamed.

I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve really got the hang of the fork pins now, they helped me get the waistband seams matched up at the side of the shirt LIKE AN ABSOLUTE BOSS ??????

Before I discovered the wonder that is high-waisted mom jeans – I’m not even kidding when I say I now have three pairs all the same and I literally wear them to work everyday (not all three pairs at once, obvs) – I used to wear my shirts tucked in ALL OF THE TIME – NO EXCEPTIONS – because leaving them untucked automatically made me look like I was wearing a sack.

The tunic length of the Bruyere means you *can’t* tuck it in (unless you really want to have all of that fabric inside your trousers ??) but the fitted waistband gives the shirt a nice shape so I can wear it over jeans and not look like I’ve gained 30 pounds. I would happily wear this with comfy leggings – in fact, I think I may well dig out the leggings and do just that – and I’m also having the debate in my mind whether it would go with a skirt. I’m leaning towards no, but keep thinking that you could work a boho/hippy vibe with a midi or maxi length skirt and a wide belt around the waist ?

If you’ve not used Deer and Doe patterns before, they are drafted for hourglass/pear shapes and a C cup – which is pretty much my exact shape, and why their patterns fit me so well – but that’s not to say that you can’t make some adjustments to adapt to your shape. The waistband could be extended and the waist darts removed to give some extra room at the waist if needed, and the bust darts could be drafted out for a smaller chest. Simples.

The armscye is finished with bias tape – as instructed – and I also used this method on the hem, as per usual. I use half-inch/13mm bias tape for all my hems, but it’s *really* hard to find (I get mine from Plush Addict) – the most common width seems to be 1 inch/25mm which is too wide for hems really (and defo too wide for an armhole). It’s a shame that all the cool prints and designs of bias tape come in 1 inch wide tape rather than half-inch… I guess I *could* if I really felt like it trim 1 inch tape down to the size I wanted, but it just seems like an almighty faff and I really can’t be bothered.

I do have one of those bias tape makers for half-inch tape, and strangely enough I don’t really mind the thought of making my own tape, but I absolutely need to get some sort of template for cutting it because currently I just sort of eyeball it with a ruler on the cutting mat… and you can guess how that turns out. Wibbly AF. I’ve read several articles on how to make continuous bias tape, which seems like my saviour, and I’ve got the perfect project coming up which I could use it on – so I’ve mentally committed to the task. I’m not going to go as far as to say I’m not going to buy ready-made bias anymore, because I really don’t see the need to make my own plain black tape when I can buy perfectly good stuff online and spend that time sewing something pretty instead. I made that commitment with piping (which I actually make 100% of now) but let’s not go too cray cray *just* yet.

I really love my shirt, and the Bruyere has now officially been awarded a place in my list of patterns that are going to form the basis of my wardrobe. It’s nice enough to wear for work, but not so formal that I wouldn’t want to wear it at the weekend.

I’m slowly seeing more and more handmade items in my wardrobe that are getting worn on a regular basis, which is pretty exciting ? I’m getting better at choosing fabrics and patterns that suit my tastes and style, and the ‘meh’ projects are getting fewer and fewer.

This shirt was a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make so you can head on over to the post on their blog here to read more. I’ve just chosen my Blogger Network projects for Sept/Oct/Nov and I’m so excited to finally be able to sew autumn/winter stuff again! I’ve chosen some wool, some linen and some dinosaur poplin. Yep, DINOSAUR POPLIN. ??? The husbeast is absolutely going to have the coolest shirt on the planet. Both the wool and the linen are for me, and I’ll be making indie patterns from designers that I’ve never sewn before (but have been eyeballing for a while ?). You’ll have to wait to see what these fabrics become ??‍♀️

And now, an apology for my shocking organisational skillz

To all my email subscribers, I wanted to apologise for the accidental post you received in your inboxes yesterday ??‍♀️ A few months back, I had the bright idea of scheduling posts for the date they were due to go live, so that when I logged on to WordPress I could see the posts that were coming up and therefore what I needed to work on. Inevitably, things change – and schedules change – and the posts get moved around in my diary (yep, I also keep track in a diary) but I obvs forgot to change the scheduled publish date on this particular post on WordPress. I mean, I’d even got totally the wrong DAY for that post, as it went live on a Saturday rather than the regular-schmegular Sunday. A royal balls-up.

I knew it was bound to happen one day, and I’m amazed I held out for this long to be honest. So yeah, soz about that, ignore the email and let’s just casually pretend nothing happened ??

Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the Safrans post that some of you got the sneak peek of already ??? Yep, I’m finally making trousers!! Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!  


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  1. Cindy
    August 5, 2018 / 8:29 am

    I’m sorry to say this , but….you’re not a home sewer you are a first class dressmaker/Tailor. Second to none……beautiful, I must add , as always xx

    • Sarah
      August 6, 2018 / 5:01 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Cindy ?? That’s made my day! So glad that you enjoy the blog. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to say that my sewing is my career in life, it’s definitely my calling ?????

  2. Bren Holmes
    August 5, 2018 / 9:15 am

    That shirt looks fabulous on you. The pattern must have been designed especially for you.

    • Sarah
      August 6, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      Thanks Bren! I do think this style is flattering for those of us with larger hips, I will definitely be making several more of these!

  3. August 5, 2018 / 9:29 am

    Wow, it’s absolutely wonderful Sarah! It’s perfect on you. Looking forward to seeing the matching pics at some point to with Mr W. I similarly buy narrow bias for hemming in plain colours as I haven’t quite learned to enjoy making tape, I do make it for certain projects but if it’s going on a shirt hem then it’s off the roll. It sounds like a great pattern and it feels so much better to wear something with clean seam finishes with everything enclosed, you’re right why don’t other designs make this their aim? Thanks for a great post as usual, enjoy the rest of your weekend X

    • Sarah
      August 6, 2018 / 5:07 pm

      Thanks so much Josie! ? with the bias, I think I just need to get a cardboard template sorted and then I won’t mind making it… it’s just the whole ‘cutting strips of fabric and sewing them together’ lark that puts me off ? if I can just cut one shape of fabric, and sew one seam, then I’m cool with that ?? I have actually just bought some Liberty lawn that’s beautiful – but not something I would usually wear – to make into tape for an autumn dress… so I’ve committed now ?
      YES! Clean finishes should be mandatory. No exceptions. If we wanted crappy finishes on garments we would buy fast fashion, right? ??‍♀️??‍♀️
      Glad you enjoyed the post and hope you had a fabulous weekend too! ? xx

  4. Fiona
    August 5, 2018 / 10:01 am

    Hi, Sarah! I’m not sure I’ve commented before but I read your posts every week and am currently discovering how rusty my sewing skills are – actually cutting and finishing are my issue, I think. I hate to fix mistakes so I just tend to work around them. I think it’s terrific how you have learned such a lot in your years of sewing, and you obviously have a touch of the perfectionist about you. I’d class myself as a perfectionist who’s more likely to give up than sort something out. Ah, denial is wonderful.
    Your posts about sourcing fabric & your opinions on patterns are just as fascinating as the ones where you present your beautiful finished projects.

    Thanks for this weekly bright spot for me!


    • Sarah
      August 13, 2018 / 8:05 am

      Hi Fiona!
      Ahh I’m so glad that you enjoy the blog! ??
      Haha, I am a little bit of a perfectionist, but not always – I do let the odd wobbly seam or not-quite-matching/lining up construction go by ? I call it a ‘learning curve’ and tell myself I’ll do better next time ??
      You’d be surprised how much you learn by ‘working around’ mistakes rather than fixing them though – sometimes you have to be quite creative and end up discovering new tricks! ?

  5. August 5, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree more – this Deer and Doe Bruyere is perfect for you! It suits your shape, colouring and just goes with almost everything. I think you could wear it with a midi or maxi length quite nicely. Maybe a pencil style with slit up the sides for walking …It’s amazing what we learn sewing. I have a bunch of patterns that I’m sending off to someone in South America (she has trouble getting her hands on printed patterns) because now looking at them I can’t IMAGINE what I was thinking when I bought them! How did I ever think I would wear anything like that, never mind go to all the trouble to make it, is beyond me 🙂 I’m getting much better too at knowing first of all what I will wear and using that as a starting point. It seems obvious but when you’re a new sewist it really isn’t. There are so many considerations to ponder before even getting to stage of cutting something out and the more pondering you do (as you obviously do which is what I admire about your work too) the more you’re likely to actually wear your work with joy and pride.

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 6:41 am

      Hi Kathleen! I am super happy with how this shirt turned out, I got the fit, the fabric and the style just right! Like you say, it’s SO hard to figure out which styles will suit you when you first start sewing… some of the earliest things I sewed (before I really had an ideas what I was doing) are just totally not my style or colours. ??‍♀️ I too have a bunch of patterns which I bought early on that I will NEVER make, that I will donate to someone that will use them. It can be disheartening to make something that isn’t really what you hoped, but I like to look at it as a learning, so that I can identify what it is about it that didn’t work, and avoid that again in the future ??

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 6:42 am

      Hi Susan, ah – thanks for the tip on the bias tape! 45 colours ???
      It makes me so happy to hear that you enjoy the blog! ? Have a great day ??

  6. Rebecca in SoCal
    August 6, 2018 / 4:53 am

    That finished inside is just as nice as the outside, and a happy little secret whenever you wear that shirt. Yes, that is an excellent pattern for you.

    Just a few hours ago, I was reading a blog wherein the sewist mentioned needing “shallow” armscyes. She makes a forward shoulder adjustment, so rather than lengthening the back, she shortens the front. It works. Also, too-large armscyes are a criticism I frequently see when a garment is sewn sleeveless, but the pattern doesn’t make a change for that. IOW, “it ain’t just you.”

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 6:47 am

      Hi Rebecca!
      A nicely finished inside makes me so happy, maybe even more so than a nice outside!!
      Hmmmmm…. I think I will do some research into forward shoulder adjustments, perhaps this would be good for me! Even on most of my sleeved shirts, the armscye is just SO big – I feel like I could get two arms in it! ??‍♀️

  7. August 6, 2018 / 6:18 am

    I love the shape and style of this, you look great in it ?. Looking forward to seeing the matching-couples-photo-shoot! Hopefully you’ll get invited to a themed party soon…?!
    Hm, fork pins… do I need some…?

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 6:51 am

      Thanks! ? I do think this pattern is a good match for my shape, I may have to make many more ??? Fork pins, absolutely!!! They changed my life. You line up the pieces and put one ‘fork’ either side of the seam line, and hand crank over them. The seams stay perfectly matched. It always used to be a bit of a gamble using straight pins, I would line up the seams, pin, stitch, and then hope and pray when I opened the seam that the joins were still aligned ?? (they usually weren’t ?). Honestly, these little pins are brilliant for matching seams!! Buy some ?

  8. Alison
    August 6, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    Fabulous pattern and fabric, as usual. I, too, love neat finishes inside garments that I make, it makes my inner sewing geek self happy! I also have to admit to making my own continuous bias tape ? (unless it’s just a boring plain colour). You may also be surprised to hear that I have friends ?

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 6:54 am

      Haha! ????
      Neat finishes inside are just the BEST, right?! ?
      I’m actually quite excited to make some continuous bias tape… it’s gonna be a bias tape party in my house ???

  9. Cazza Cobb
    September 5, 2020 / 12:40 pm

    Hello, I’m getting back into sewing ( just finished a jumpsuit) and have been admiring your work, in particular, the Bye Bye Birdie sleeveless shirt. I was pleasantly surprised to see it being modelled in front of my Brother-in- Law, Jimmy C’s street art work!

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