Birdy Bleuet

 Some of the WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) decided (a while ago I think!) that we should go to Staglands wearing a Deer and Doe garment that we had made. Staglands, Deer and Doe – this totally goes together. Below, I’m wearing a Deer and Doe Bleuet feeding  some doe. Win.

feeding doe

Staglands is a cross between a wildlife reserve, a zoo, a petting zoo, and beautiful gardens. There were so many awesome animals and they were really friendly. Some were a little too friendly and really wanted some food.. lucky me, I got jumped on by a goat, which gave my bruises on my legs.

jumping goat

It wasn’t a hard choice for me to make the Bleuet as the girls that told me about Staglands day showed me the pattern they were making and I couldn’t say no! The bleuet is a wonderful dress, so many awesome things about it – a collar, puff sleeves, buttons, and princess seams. Oh AND A BOW!

I was in love.

Deer and Doe Bleuet

Making it however, was not so easy. I got stuck on so many things in the instructions – which of course didn’t surprise me because I have a hard enough time following other peoples patterns anyway. So I had pretty much the entire dress made (as much as I could) before I realised that the patterns NEVER tells you to sew up the shoulder seams. I wasn’t even the one that realised it, my sister did when I was trying to fit it haha without shoulder seams – smart!

But thats ok cause I touched a deer antlers and they are SO SOFT. Like velvet.


Since my sister Kat came along, so did her man and their toddler who was squirming to get away from the sheep. The sheep that can’t see, right? Cause the horns. Crazy design.

escaping nephew

Right, so about the actual dress !

The fabric is pretty quilting cotton from Arthur Toye fabric store in Wellington, 4 days before it closed down *cries*. My first and only visit to that amazing store.

Kat thought I should do piping down the princess seams, which I really wanted to do because it meant learning to make bias binding and then making the piping, what a novelty! So I stuck into doing that first thing and I used a bright pink polyester that we had found the weekend before at the SPCA open day in Wellington which belongs to the back of a duvet cover costing us $1.

The buttons I found in my stash, after about 2 hours of um-ing and ah-ing with my flatmate to just narrow it down to “think it over” for a couple days following that. I only used 10 buttons because that was all I had of that colour !

buttons and piping

Bias binding is incredibly easy to make and I followed instructions from Kat as I was going. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the pictures, I can’t find them 😦 but I will try to describe what I did!!

First cut the fabric into a square.

Next is to cut a bit off one side in a triangle shape (sorry but I can’t remember how big) this is to sew on the other side so instead of a square it now looks like a parallelogram.

Now measure (I think we did 5cm) parallel lines from on side to the other following the slant of the sides of the parallelogram.

The next bit is the tricky bit and I don’t even know if the above stuff makes sense enough for this bit to even try to make sense! So we want to sew the top and the bottom of the parallelogram together to make a cylinder type thing and match up the lines. To do this pin the top and bottom together right sides together but try to match the lines 1/4 inch below the edge of the fabric so that they will be matched up on the seam line when turning the fabric out.

After sewing that you can now cut along the lines and will have a long strip of fabric.

Press in half.

Yay bias binding complete (if you could follow those instructions). I was going to link to Kat’s page because I think she has a tutorial on how to make bias binding, but I couldn’t find it so Kat please comment below !!

With the bias binding, it is super easy to make piping, just use a zipper foot and as you sew push the piping in towards the pressed edge as far as possible.



The fun parts about making this dress is that I got to learn things and do things I have never done before. Including the bias binding, piping, collar, bow, hem facing (picture above, which I am SO proud of), and gathered sleeves, EEP gathered sleeves, I still think they are waaay too girly with all the pink going on. It’s a little bit of a love/hate relationship with them, but they are still attached so I think the love is winning!

A bunny collar

I got to hold a bunny.

4 of us made the same dress, but they still all look so different ! Looking fabulous girls !


Backwards quaduplets

Double the Pleats

I did sewing at high school through all the years. This is where I found I loved sewing and that there were so many possibilities ! I found so much inspiration going to class and seeing what everyone else was making, Have to say, made me enjoy school! I spent my lunch times and free periods in there and even stayed after school longer just so I could go hang out in the sewing room.

When I was there I fell in love with pleats. Not sure why, maybe it was seeing all the kilts around school…? So naturally I made some skirts with pleats, the first skirt I don’t have anymore, but it was maroon with 5 pleats on the left side and a yoke waist. I remember it clearly !

 One of the first things I made was a fully lined box pleated skirt (2 pleats on the front and 2 on the back). This was actually one of my favourite skirts. It was made of black Drill and had a bright pink tartan fabric inserted in the pleats. Since I made this in 7th form it has been well worn and through a couple of zip changes. It is well faded now though, sigh *sad face*.

In my second year of university I really wanted to make this pattern again, absolutely loved that skirt! However, I couldn’t follow the first pattern I made as I didn’t clearly label it and it was made of really thick paper. So I just remade the whole pattern, which was easier since I wasn’t putting a different fabric insert into the pleats.


The pattern (if I remember this correctly since I did make it 4 years ago) started as a block pattern to my personal measurements. I then measured sellotaped the darts together and cut from the hem to the bottom of the dart in a straight line – creating an A-line pattern.

I measured 10cm from the top and cut this out all the way around which became my yoke.


From here I measured the same distance from the centre front (CF) top to bottom and the same for the centre back (CB).

On these new lines I then measured 20cm away from the CF and CB which were the fabric for my box pleats.

For those who don’t know what a box pleat is, it’s when both sides of the pleat are folded in together. Box pleats can come as both inward and outward. However, I don’t really like box pleats that go the opposite way to this, probably because it reminds me of a really ugly school uniform I was made to wear.


I like lined skirts.


I like invisible zips.


I made the pink floral skirt first (see below) as soon as I made this pattern, and stayed up ’til about 5 in the morning finishing it, ah, the student life !

The blue one I starting making 2 years ago and came back to it midyear last year to complete.

I had made the pattern with an extra flare of about 5cm at each side. This would have been fine if it wasn’t for the stiffer 100% cotton quilting fabric I used. However, this gave it too much bulk and the pleats don’t sit quite right.

I also think that when I was adjusting the fit of the pink floral one I only took it in on one side, hehehe oops! At least I know better now. Or maybe cause that point is was about 3am or something..


My sewing teacher taught me how to finish things “nicely” so I edge-stitched my pleats (hoping that would help them keep their shape and maybe less ironing time) and box seams of the yoke as well.

I love edge-stitching/top-stitching!


All up this was quite cheap for me as while I worked at Spotlight I picked up the best bargains and got both fabrics for around $2 a metre. Lining I bought when it was on special for maybe..$7.99 a metre?

I really like box pleats still and I continue to wear these skirts ! Maybe in the future I’ll think of some more fun ways to spice this up !