Sureau I

1 Sureau 31 Sureau sideI’ve been given 2 narrow metres of an interesting Indonesian batik which is virtually vintage (well, from the 1990s anyway).  Before cutting into it to make my Sureau, I’ve  made this muslin to check the sizing and assess if I can get away with a small amount of fabric.

Sureau (which means “elderberry”) is a beginner-friendly pattern from the French indie company Deer & Doe.  It should be a very quick make; however, the addition of a piped collar needed quite a few hours to make it fit after the neckline stretched through not being staystitched 🙄

The original pattern has a collarless neckline.  According to my pattern-cutting guru Adele Margolis, this is “for the young and the beautiful only”.  A collarless neckline, I quote: “calls for a firm chin, a smooth and slender neck, and a good set to the shoulders …  This leaves the majority of us out.  For us, the severity of the collarless neckline needs to be sotftened with a gay scarf [this book was published in 1959], our faithfull pearls [like I said, this was published in …. ], or a pleasing collar“.  Now usually when someone tells me I can’t wear something, I call them “the bleedin’ Taliban” but I have to admit that I find Sureau in its original somehow … raw.  It really is a pattern that requires an experienced sewist to employ some imagination.1 Sureau Pattern Envelope

1 Sureau close upThe original neckline shape is tending toward the V so I ‘scooped’ it by widening from the CF (and before drafting the collar).  The other change I made was to pleat the skirt rather than gather it.  I eyeballed this: I pinned the folds to be more or less symmetrical from the centres but I didn’t measure much.  I also shortened the sleeves to just above the elbow, then added bands. These, like the piping on the collar and the fabric of the covered buttons, are silver, which will hopefully be more dirt-friendly than white.

A word of warning about the sizing.  According to the pattern envelope measurements, I’m a size 40.  Having read some reviews of Sureau, I decided to make size 38 bust, shoulders and sleeves with size 40 waist and hips.  It’s still very roomy!

Black dresses with contrast collars and cuffs are a bit of a fetish of mine (as I’ve explained here.)  They’ve been quite popular in RTW recently; here’s a current cutie from Phase Eight.  What I love about my creation is that it goes perfectly with the ‘fangs’ necklace my son made me at school. The main fabric is fine needlecord from Rashid and perfect for those not-so-warm summer days.  In the autumn, I’ll wear it with tights, boots and a thermal vest.  And a gay scarf.

My OH pulled a face when I first wore this and said it “hangs off”: one of those double-edged comments that manages to wound both the woman and the seamstress in one.  Of course, ever since he made the remark  I’ve been cutting his meals with catfood!

Then again, having looked at these photos, I suspect I could possibly cut a size 36 bodice.  Time for making Version II.

1 Sureau

17 thoughts on “Sureau I

  1. I’ve been having trouble with roomy bodices lately – ooer Missus! I’ve recently discovered you need to choose your size using your upper bust measurement rather than your full bust measurement and then do an FBA. This makes me at least one size smaller, which makes sense. Who knew? Well, I bet you did but I didn’t so I have 2 dresses now with supposedly fitted bodices that are falling off my shoulders and gaping at the neck :(.
    I’ve got the Reglisse from Deer & Doe and liked the pattern but have only done a pattern hack for the blouse so far and not done the dress – their designs are all quite ‘young’ but, as you say, it just needs a bit of imagination to adapt them.
    I don’t know why men don’t keep their opinions to themselves – even when we ask them – don’t they know we will make them suffer?

  2. Love the fangs necklace, but I fear that your friend Adele may be turning in her grave (wearing her pearls and gay scarf of course) at such an accessory. I think your dress ‘hangs totally on’ and I loved reading the review!

  3. I’ve been looking at Deer and Doe patterns recently and I think I might give this one a go (despite not being ‘young’!). Your review is fun and helpful and I think the dress looks great, but you do usually make your clothes a little more fitted so perhaps you just need to get used to it! Love the collar and contrast detail and I’m hoping I’m skilled and brave enough to try adding one myself.

    • Good luck: I’m sure you’ll make a great one. Just watch out for the sizing and when drawing a collar to match the neckline, remember to pin the bodice front and back together so as not to include the seam allowances of the shoulder seam.

      I’ve probably totally confused you by saying that!! It might make sense when you come to do it!

  4. I love the fangs too. And the collar that you drafted. You have improved the pattern no end, but like your husband I would like a better fit across the bust. (If you ever offer me a tuna sandwich I shall politely decline)

    It maybe obvious but do you measure the pattern pieces first to see what kind of ease the designer has sneaked in? This is more important than reading the size on the packet. I am sure you know this, so feel a little silly for stating it.

    Anyway roll on the batik version – its going to be sunny for a fortnight!

  5. I was very glad it was a bit roomy on you! As I am now the very happy wearer of this wonderful dress, which fits me perfectly as I’m not as slim as you! Thank you, I LOVE it, and have had many compliments when wearing it. I will take a photo of me in it soon xx

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