Put a bird on it – Deer & Doe Airelle Blouse

I bought this fabric from about two years ago (!) with the idea of making a nice, floaty blouse of some kind. However, still being relatively new to sewing, I was too scared of the idea of actually sewing with it to actually do anything with it, and it sat in my stash in Berkeley before being packed away to come to New Zealand with me.

I’m not very organised with my sewing plans – I tend to buy pretty fabric and patterns with an idea in mind, but it gets pushed to the back of the queue as soon as I see something else pretty. This year, I’m trying to slow down and actually make some of the things I bought fabric and patterns for, one at a time. So I got out my untouched Deer & Doe Airelle blouse pattern and my bird print chiffon, and got to work.

Deer & Doe patterns seem to fit me without an awful lot of adjustments, for which I am thankful. I made this in a size 46, which is the largest size. The fabric has fantastic drape, and I wanted it to be a bit looser than what I normally wear. I did a 1cm narrow shoulder adjustment, and I shortened the sleeves quite a bit (a tad too much, I think in the end). I also did a full bicep adjustment to the sleeve of about 2cm, I think. The sleeve fits fine, but the cuff is a teeny bit tight, so if I made it again I’d lengthen the cuff slightly and just have less gathers in the sleeve.

I should have lowered the darts – this is something I’m coming around to seeing that I always have to do, as I have a low set bust – but I didn’t. You can’t really see the darts in this fabric, and as it’s a looser fit I don’t think it’s obvious they’re a bit higher than they’re meant to be. I’ll move them down for next time, though.


The fabric was as difficult to work with as I feared. I stabilised it with my trusty ironing aid, but it still moved wherever it wanted at every opportunity. However, it held a press surprisingly well, particularly with the darts. I marked the darts on the fabric with a light lead pencil, as my chalk liner just dusted right off it and I didn’t have anything else on hand. It came out in the wash, thankfully. For the collar and cuffs, I used a black georgette I bought 5 yards of from Fashion Fabrics Club for a crazy low price and had yet to use any of. I sewed everything with a 70/10 needle and a stitch length of 2, which seemed to work well.


Here is a photo of the inside of the blouse. I went on a kind of construction journey with it, really – I started off with lovely French seams, until I got to the facing. I hate facings at the best of times, and for some reason, my facing was bigger than my neckline. Like, a lot bigger. So I had to recut it, and then I had the bright idea of finishing the raw edge on my overlocker. The overlocker I’ve only used twice. Yeah, curved chiffon pattern pieces are quite beyond my overlocking ability, it turns out, and it got pretty mangled. So I thought stuff it, no one will see it but me, and sewed it on anyway, but it kind of ruined my desire for a neat finish on the inside, and I didn’t bother French seaming the armhole seams, because that’s a difficult task at the best of times.

But then I tried it on, and absolutely loved it, and felt renewed desire to make it pretty, so I French seamed the side seams and took care with the rest of it. So, it’s kind of most of well finished.


I consulted Twitter for the best hem finish, and the lovely Natalie (who has no blog I’m aware of) advised me to turn up the hem 1cm, stitch close to the fold, trim excess, turn up another 3mm and restitch. I didn’t do this exactly – I did the first part, but after trimming the excess, I did a hand-rolled hem and stitched it myself with a slipstitch. I rather like hand sewing, and I didn’t trust my machine to not just eat the hem when I tried to restitch it at 3mm.


It turned out a tiiiny bit puckered on the other side, but I feel like it’s not really noticeable when I’m wearing it. I’m happy with it, at any rate.

I’m thinking of making another one in a light cotton lawn, maybe – I’ll have to search through my stash and see if I have something appropriate. I need more separates in my wardrobe!