Deer and Doe Givre Dress: “I Believe in Miracles”

(Version francaise ci-dessous)

Knit bodycontour Givre dress from Deer and Doe

I had my exact sewing plans for autumn/winter clearly set out.

And then Deer and Doe released the Givre dress!

Spanner. Works.

First, I saw the version of the Givre dress made up on Sewing and Slapdashery and  thought it looked super sexy. Then, when I was at a fabric market (that I went to just-to-look-not-to-buy), I stumbled across the most luscious thick stripey knit. It was whispering to me from its stall: Givre dress, Givre dress, Givre dress…

All the fabric I bought when I went to fabric market just-to-look…

And so, my seasonal sewing plans were thrown out the window.

Bodycon? Really?

It had never  crossed my mind to sew a bodycon dress. In my RTW life, I’d owned a few that I’d really liked. Usually when the fabric had been just right to make the silhouette flattering. And, I’d also tried on about a thousand others which looked laughable.

So I was a bit cautious about which category the Givre dress would fall into.

I’m happy to announce that the Givre dress and I have turned out to be very good friends. And the timing couldn’t be better because I need more long-sleeved dresses for winter. I have lamented elsewhere about the fact that I want to wear long sleeves but worry they look dowdy. But, of course, knits are an exception to this. I think that sleeves in knits look pretty innocuous and are super practical. So the solution to the sleeve problem is that I need to sew more knits!!

Like sands through the hour glass…

I don’t have an hour-glass figure, but I love anything that offers the illusion of one!

Knit bodycontour Givre dress from Deer and Doe

My concern with bodycon dresses (as well as pencil skirts for that matter) is my hip area. My hips are wide, then my body narrows briefly but then my upper thighs/saddle are actually even wider than my hips. So it looks horrendous when a bodycon dress  clings to all those extra curves (as most tend to do). A bodycon needs glide over these extra bumps, giving the hour glass illusion.

Due to the aforedescribed body shape, my Givre dress came out with a little bit of extra fabric at the point between my hips and saddle.  I have no doubt that if I had taken it in to actually hug the shape of my body, I would have hated it. So I left it as it was.

Overall, my Givre dress does a pretty good job at creating an hour glass illusion, much better than most RTW bodycon dresses I have ever worn.

Plus an all-in-my-head miracle

Plus, I found the process of sewing this Givre dress to be truly miraculous because I thought I’d made a major mistake the entire way through. After I cut out the dress, I thought I’d better check the stretch percentage of my fabric to see if it was suitable.

Yes, I cut first, then checked.

Anyway, I made a silly measurement mistake which meant that I thought that my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough. I turns out it was – it had exactly the recommended 50% stretch but I didn’t realise this until the end. Since the pattern was so simple, I thought I would sew it anyway and if it was too small, I’d send it to my sister. So when I sewed up the side seams and realised that it actually fit me, I truly thought it was a miracle dress…

(Sorry little sis’, that means no dress for you… Selfish sewing forever!!)

Look, it’s also good for playing in…

So why haven’t I sewn thick knits before?

This was one of my first times working with a thick ponte di roma style knit. Most knits I have worked tend to be lightweight jersey or sweatshirt type knits. Not really sure why, I think maybe these are more readily available. But working with such a thick, supportive, stable knit was an absolute pleasure.

Knit bodycontour Givre dress from Deer and Doe

All the little details…

Using the Givre dress pattern was great, as has previously been my experience with Deer and Doe patterns. I really love it when PDFs are layered, so I only need to print out the sizes which are relevant to me! For my sizing, I graded from a 40 at the bust to a 42 at the waist and a 44 at the hips.

I also added a bit of length. I added 2 inches to the sleeve because I have never really understood three-quarter length sleeves. They have none of the benefits of a properly short sleeve but also don’t keep you as warm as a full sleeve. So I made mine a full sleeve and am very happy with the result.

I also added one inch to the dress for no reason other than “French patterns are sometimes too short”.  For the record, this was totally unnecessary and I ended up cutting off this extra length. The length of the pattern as recommended is perfect. It actually hits quite long (knee-length), creating a nice balance between the top and bottom halves which really emphasises the Givre dress’s feminine shape.

A ballpoint problem

The instructions are well done and simple to follow. The only part where I disobeyed them was that I didn’t hem anything. With such a thick, stable knit, it didn’t seem necessary.

Also, my sewing machine has a weird eccentricity. I can’t use ballpoint needles in it. Really. This isn’t just my incompetence – I promise it’s a real thing. When I first got my machine, I happily learned to sew on woven fabrics. Then, one day, I decided it was time to tackle knits. So I went to insert a ballpoint needle. No matter what I did, that needle would fall right out again as soon as I turned the wheel.

After much googling and youtube viewing, I took my machine back to the store for help. Of course, since I had waited a while to turn to knits, the machine was just outside of its three month warranty. The ladies in the store opened up every single brand of knit/ballpoint needles they had in store and none of them could be installed in my machine. They offered to send it back to the manufacturer for review and repair but it would be at my expense and could take up to 6 weeks. Since it was a cheap machine and I couldn’t bear the thought of being parted from my new-found love for 6 weeks, I said no.

Has anyone else experienced this bizarre problem? I’ve since discovered that it’s the same thing for some non-knit, but very fine, needles. It makes no sense at all because, in theory, the upper shaft of a ballpoint needle or of a fine non-knit needle should be exactly the same at the top as any other needle! Bizarre, bizarre.

Problem solvin’

Since I can’t actually use ballpoint needles in my machine, my solution is to keep on hand a few needles which have done a few projects and are a bit blunt. I try to convince myself that it’s almost the same thing as a ballpoint needle. So far, I haven’t had any problems with the strength of my sewing on knits or with damaging the fabrics.

Unfortunately, however, my machine’s visible sewing on knits can be a bit messy. So a neatly cut hem is a much better look.

Oh and if you don’t love the Givre dress already – it’s also an insta-sew

Knit bodycontour Givre dress from Deer and Doe

I also want to emphasise that the Givre dress is an extremely quick sew – you can be done in a couple of hours, including fabric cutting! The only step that requires a little concentration is sewing the neckband. Although maybe slightly more concentration was warranted on my part because I did cut out my sleeves in the opposite direction to the dress – did you notice? . The neckband, by the way, is great, it feels so snug and secure. My choice of white is giving me some visible make-up stain problems though…

I am definitely planning to make this one again. In fact, I am trying to show a bit of restraint and not sew so many in quick succession that I become sick of it (like I did with Colette Moneta).

And, plus, I should get back to all those other autumn/winter sewing plans before I make a second (and third) Givre dress.

And the big question…

For now, I just have one outstanding question.

Does anyone know how to wriggle into a bodycon dress without getting deodorant stains all down its side?

Et en français …

Pour la première fois, j’ai voulu essayer d’écrire un petit mot en français pour cette poste. Enfin, c’est un patron français !! Et, en plus, récemment, j’essayé d’expliquer à ma belle-mère qu’est que-c’ est « un blog ». Si j’écris en français, c’est plus facile de le montrer ! Car, d’abord,  j’offre mes excuses pour mon niveau de française et mon tendance « franglais ». Même si mon mari est français et la langue française joue un rôle dans ma vie quotidienne, c’est assez rare que j’écris en français. Donc, pardonnez-moi les erreurs ! Et pardonnez-moi que la texte en français et beaucoup plus courte que la version anglaise !!

Maintenant que c’est le crépuscule du beau temps pour l’année, je commence de mettre de côté mes robes d’été. Pour l’automne et l’hiver, j’adore les robes en jersey. Simple. Pratique. Confortable. Et je ne viens pas surgelé en le portant!!

J’ai adoré la robe givre dès que je l’ai vu. J’ai adoré les empiècements contrastant qui ajoute une touche intéressant d’une forme classique avec  les  opportunités de créer les effets uniques. Mais, je ne l’ai pas acheté immédiatement parce que j’avais un peu peur d’une robe du corps pour moi. Mais, par hasard, j’ai trouvé ce tissu idéal, donc, j’ai cru que c’était un signe. Ce patron était mon destin !!

La résultat

Malgré mon peur, j’ai trouvé le patron Givre vraiment super ! C’était étonnant de trouver une robe du corps qui convient les corps de tailles différentes. J’ai coupé ma robe en mélangent les tailles 40, 42 et 44 parce que mes mensurations n’ont pas facilement correspondu à une seul taille. J’étais heureuse de trouver que ce soit un patron joli pour mon corps même si je ne suis pas mince. Surtout, j’ai trouvé la forme vraiment féminine. De plus, c’est même confortable à porter.

Pour ma version, le seul changement qui j’ai fait, c’était d’ajouter 5cm de longueur aux manches parce que je préfère une manche complete pour l’hiver. Aussi, j’ai ajouté 2.5cm pour de longueur à ma robe, mais, ce n’était pas du tout nécessaire. À la fin, j’ai coupé cette longueur que j’avais ajoutée. La longueur du patron est parfaite. C’est assez long de créer une balance entre le haut et le bas et de donner une forme très féminine.

L’autre chose que j’ai trouvé génial, c’est que c’est un patron super facile à réaliser. Il n y a qu’une étape qui demande un petit peu de concentration : le col. On peut réaliser ce projet dans quelques heures. En fait, c’est trop facile que j’ai peur d’être accro à ce patron. J’ai au moins 3 autres versions dans ma tête et c’est difficile de ne pas tous coudre immédiatement !