Sewing some structured stripes for Spring

Hello there! This is Claire from the blog Belle Citadel (IG: @belle_citadel) with my finished project for #sewstripes month here at the Sewcialists.

I was pretty excited when the theme came up as I do love a bit of stripe action, but as I pondered what I wanted to fashion, I found I’d previously pretty much exclusively used stripes with knits – for Breton tops, t-shirts and the like. I’m already tired of grey winter skies, so when I spied this lovely Japanese cotton lawn from the Kokka 3 min. collection in my cupboard, I knew immediately this would be my challenge: a woven striped garment for spring! Yay!

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My immediate thoughts were that I needed a fairly structured garment, and for two main reasons. Firstly, this fabric is a blend of rather sweet pink tones and I do like a bit of contrast, so I decided to look for something more tailored to offset the slight saccharine. My other consideration, however, was that it not be too traditional or I might end up looking like I was either wearing a pair of pyjamas or being detained at her Majesty’s pleasure. Eek.

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The pattern I spied that fit the bill was the Deer & Doe Mélilot blouse. It’s been a popular pattern on sewing blogs and I’ve been meaning to make it for a while. If you’re not familiar with it, the Mélilot is a fitted blouse with drop shoulders, that offers two sleeve lengths and collars. I opted to mix the short, cuffed sleeves with the rounded collar to give it a classic, but feminine edge. The pockets and cuffed sleeves also gave me a chance to offset the main body with some horizontal stripes, which I personally always like in a garment like this – it adds some visual interest.

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The pattern for the blouse (only available in paper version at the moment) is pleasingly small for such a garment and it made tracing and cutting a breeze. The instructions are simple and succinct, although it’s worth noting the instruction pages were stapled in backwards. Deer & Doe patterns are loosely intended for more of a pear-shaped figure, which I am not, so I knew immediately I’d need to make 2″ FBA (full bust adjustment) on the size 46. This actually worked really well and the blouse fits wonderfully on the front – no gaping!

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I made a few other adjustments on the way to completion. I put the buttons on the opposite side of the shirt because the left placket was much prettier, adjusted the pocket placement for my bust positioning, and I also finished the hem with bias binding, because that hem is wayyy too curvy to fold.

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Not everything was completely plain sailing though – I had a little trouble with easing the cuffs and I didn’t make a great job of one side of the collar stand, but it’s just something I’ll need to practice a little. Next time I’ll also leave a little more space at the underarms and hips as they’re both slightly small/restricted and will also do a swayback adjustment. But there definitely will be a next time, because overall I love the shape of the shirt and I’m just so happy how it turned out! It’s such a quick sew…

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…which is a very good thing, because I have another garment to show you. You may be thinking “Urgh – overachiever”, but it’s actually the opposite – I completely underachieved in the matter of ordering the pattern on time, by forgetting there was no Mélilot pdf version available. Oh dear. While nervously waiting for the snail mail to arrive (which it did in the nick of time), I decided to rustle up a back-up garment along the same springtime lines, and went for the Colette Penny shirtdress.

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I’m not going to go into massive detail here (I’ll probably write longer construction notes on a post next week), but just wanted to briefly show you how I followed the spring stripes theming through here. It was a case of using another fabric with the potential to be very “sweet” and how I injected some of me (not so sweet) in there.

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With both these projects, there was no point in stripe-matching. The lawn has irregular stripes and this blue RK seersucker has maybe 3,465 stripes. Approximately. So it was more a case of playing with stripe direction and colour for me. I love the little chevrons that you get at the seam points and diagonals on the bias sections of the skirt and opted to add pockets too. But to add a little more contrast to all those teeny weeny stripes I decided to add some piping at the yoke edges. I think I just about got away with that yellow.

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Finding buttons to match was tricky with this particular shade, so in the end I had a brainwave and decided to paint my own. I used regular clear buttons and then added some yellow craft paint stripes using some masking tape to get clean lines. I layered them in varnish for protection, but am not totally convinced they won’t get mangled the first time in the wash.

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I had a few fit issues with the Penny and, in truth, the fabric was probably a little stiff for this exact iteration of the dress, but it’s a nice shirtdress nonetheless (if somewhat hard to photograph). I still find the final garment a little off my personal style, but will no doubt wear it somewhere along these lines (the belt would have to go), which is much more me!

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If you’re interested in all the gory details of both garments, you can find me at Belle Citadel or @belle_citadel on IG. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s makes in February – have you decided what you’re going to sew for #sewstripes month?

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28 thoughts on “Sewing some structured stripes for Spring

    1. Thank you very much Claire! I was slightly worried the yellow might make the dress look even more “Easter Parade”, rather than less, but I reckon it’s bright enough to avoid that effect. If it makes people smile, I’ll be very happy! 🙂

  1. I agree both garments are just lovely! That pink blouse (I was excited to read that you thought this came together pretty easily since I have it…”around here in this mess of patterns somewhere”, she mutters) – I like the dress with the belt on you! If you don’t care for a sash you might consider another yellow one to match with your piping and uber cool buttons 🙂

    1. Thanks Kathleen! Yes, the blouse is a really quick sew and I’m not a particularly fast sewist. I would guess it took me maybe 4hrs? That includes tracing, using French seams and making the FBA. I know I comfortably finished it within a day with other things going on.

      I do like the dress with the belt, but it’s just a little bulky in this seersucker and doesn’t sit quiet right somehow. I like the idea of a thin yellow belt actually! I had toyed with piping the edges of the sash, but thought that might be a bit too much. The belt is a much better idea. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much! I also like the blouse best – it’s much more practical to be honest. I’ve already worn it a few times and it’s very comfortable. I was glad to make the dress though as it gave me chance to experiment with things like piping! 🙂

  2. Both the blouse and the dress are terrific in my book. Terrific enough that I can see myself making both garments in similar fabrics to what you used. Good job.

    1. Thank you Jeanette – I’m really happy you like them. I like them both too, but need to do a bit of work on the Penny sizing. I should really have sized down 1 or 2 sizes and then made an FBA. You can’t see it too well here because of my hands-on-my-hips blogger pose, but the shoulders and armscye are significantly too big for me. I’ll definitely write a detailed post on it this week. I tried to keep this one succinct since there were two garments. 🙂

  3. I love pink! So I love this shirt and pattern! Beautiful work! The shirtdress is something my 27 year old daughter want me to make her. Thank You for some great ideas for doing that!

    1. Thank you very much! 🙂 That whole fabric collection is so lovely – sigh. I’m trying to use up some of my existing fabric this year though and tame my magpie tendencies for at least… well, it’s almost the end of Jan, so that’s pretty good!?

  4. I really like the shirt pattern and your fabric choice. I think you have inspired me to buy the Deer and Doe which I have admired in other blogs (WhatKatysews.net) and especially if the FBA went well. I am slower than you though – 4 hours would be speeding!

    1. Yes, that What Katy Sews black Melilot with the floral print was really pretty. I also really liked the white version from Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’. Heh heh, maybe it was a little more than 4 – I forget. But because of the sleeves and shape there really aren’t many seams. The collar is probably the only time-consuming part. Have fun!

  5. These both look so good! I’ve been eyeing up the Mélilot for ages but was unsure how it would work in…a 46 with an FBA. Now I know the answer: it can work awesomely. The horizontal stripe details are a really nice touch, too.

  6. What a great stripe-set 👏 the shirt fits great, and I love the sexy black backdrop 😉
    Double-win with the back-up outfit! Love the piping 👍👏🙏😊

    1. Hahaha! 😀 Yes, I was channeling George Michael in his Careless Whisper video. I guess it worked! 👍🏻 Hah, no seriously, I tried taking pics earlier in the week and it was so dark and gloomy it was impossible. So I shelled out like $20 for some backdrop sheets. Glad you like them! 🤣🤣

      1. Are you kidding, they look great! Kudos on the fba too, I seem to have given up on dresses (mainly because my friend V needs an fba that I may never get around to!) 👍👏🙏

    1. It’s not the drafting, so much, I’d quite look forward to that… it’s just I can never seem to completely clear my table … & I’m reluctant to fba (as a verb!) on the floor! 🤣

    1. Thanks so much! Heh heh – trying to keep your toddler occupied with arts and crafts on a daily basis definitely puts you in the frame of mind for adding paint to things – all things, anything!

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