Sunday, 9 October 2016

Steampunk Melilot

Hi folks,

Hope everyone's had a good weekend? I caught the William Eggleston photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (just in time) and have been doing the grand seasonal Wardrobe Switchover. Every time I do this I discover clothes that I forgot I even had and somehow manage to produce another sack for the charity shop (I blame shopping in Primark and H&M too much in my twenties, you can amass an awful lot of mediocre stuff that way).

 It's also helpful for me to think about what I really want to be making. I've done a bit of a think about what I'd like to make now that it's getting a bit chillier- my desires are split between wanting to stashbust, wanting to sew up patterns that have been on my list to make too long, and wanting to make more things that I actually really need (read: I shouldn't really be making any more dresses, although I have at least 3 on my Autumnal Sewing wishlist!).

My latest make is Deer and Doe's Melilot shirt. I decided to make my first go in this quirky printed cotton that I picked up on a whim at Goldhawk Road about a year ago. I's a steampunk-esque design of fantastical bicycle and balloon contraptions manned by odd little people, and I had initially thought it would make a nice Mimi blouse, but after my first go wasn't quite the success I'd wanted it to be that pattern has been shelved somewhat. So, nothing to lose by using it up now, and actually I think it suits the Melilot design better.

It was a bit annoying to cut out as the print is not on grain and does run in rather noticeable horizontal lines. To offset that somewhat I decided to cut the fronts with the print mirroring on either side of the placket, so that there wasn't a diagonal drift. I'm quite proud of my breast pocket placement!

I learned a few new skills with this make, including my first ever tower plackets (I'm pretty proud of these) and my first ever collar stand (not bad too) but my concealed button band is not quite as hidden as it should be. 

I got a bit frustrated with the instructions for this – while I haven't seen anyone else complain about this, but they're not very helpful if you don't know what you're doing – it's more just a step in the order of construction (and is one of the first things you do after making the darts). As a relative shirt newbie I was hoping for a bit more clarity here, and I'm not sure I've done it right. One thing I would definitely recommend is to cut, measure and place your interfacing strips accurately as I did it a bit slapdash and I think that's why my concealed button band didn't want to fold in quite the right way.

Other than a bit of headscratching at the beginning though this shirt came together really nicely and quite quickly, and I'm pleased to say all the other instructions made sense to me, even for the other new and more complex processes. I like the easy fit too, I made up a size 44 at bust and shoulders, grading into 42 for waist and hips, and this seems to have worked out pretty well.

 I've actually made up another Melilot in the sleeve cuff version that came together even more quickly, I was on that much of a roll after making this! I'll share a post on that soon so as not to overwhelm with photos.

Now I just need to get going on the trouser and jeans schemes I mentioned in my Autumn sewing plans post so I have more nice separates to pair my new shirts with! By the way, the trousers I'm wearing with the shirt are my wearable muslin Ultimate Trousers from a while back. They actually fit better than I'd remembered that did (but do need the zip reinserting) so I'm tempted to get cracking again on these to kick off my trouser-making mission. Wish me luck!

NorseOtter xxx


  1. Your shirt looks brilliant!! I have to say that I struggle with Deer and Doe instructions too - they are somewhat scant! And the instructions for this placket had me completely baffled at first. You did a great job on the cuff placket and collar, and that fabric is fab.

    1. Thanks Lynne! I have to say your versions were quite influential in finally pushing me to buy this pattern. Really glad I did, I've been wearing it loads! Hopefully will master the concealed button band on my next try...