If you’ve been following along on social media, you’ve probably seen the three new gorgeous patterns that Deer and Doe released at the start of the month! I have been eagerly anticipating the patterns since December, when the leaders of the Sew My Style project decided that we’d be working with Deer & Doe to incorporate one of the new patterns into our challenge. However, I was even more excited when Camille of D&D asked if I’d also be interested in sewing up one of the patterns for a review!
The lovely Myosotis Dress was chosen to be the Sew My Style pattern for May (so you’ll see that one here in just a week or two!), so Camille gave me the option of choosing between the Nénuphar Kimono and the Narcisse Pants. Both of the patterns are absolutely gorgeous, but I was a bit hesitant to commit myself to the Narcisse Pants when my belly is about to start growing like crazy! I loved the details on the Kimono, and I knew that I’d be able to sew up something beautiful with this pattern that would see me through the year. But watch out, Narcisse Pants – I’ll be coming for you next year when I’m regular-sized me again (any other Regular-Size Rudy fans out there?)! PS – If you were curious about the name, like I was, Nénuphar is French for water lily!
I’ve only previously sewn up one Deer & Doe pattern, and it was one that I really did my own thing with – I used a fabric that wasn’t at all recommended for the pattern, lengthened the skirt from knee length to maxi, and just went to town really. Despite taking the pattern completely out of its’ comfort zone, I was thoroughly impressed with the pattern itself. The drafting is perfection, and the instructions were so well done. The Nénuphar Kimono was no different – this pattern is absolutely lovely, and the details are so well planned out. From the notched collar to the slightly gathered back panel, I’ve really ended up with a piece that I feel so proud of. I would’ve pulled this off the rack and purchased it in a store, and that makes me feel pretty stinkin’ good. 🙂
I chose to sew up version A – although I love the big bell sleeves included in version B, and will probably make that version in the future, I feel like I’ll be trying to avoid any extra volume once my baby bump grows a bit bigger, so I went with the simpler, shorter sleeves. At 27 pages, the pattern wasn’t too bad to cut and tape together. Though it isn’t my favorite part of the process, I’m learning to find joy in each bit, so I’ve started trying to enjoy the cutting and taping a bit more by pairing it up with a favorite tv show or podcast. The .pdf version of this file has the glorious layered option, so I was able to limit my printed pages to the size 38 and go from there. This is not meant to be a fitted top, it’s a kimono after all, so I think the size 38 turned out to be perfect. Quick bit of advice – make sure that you transfer all of the pattern markings over to your fabric! I somehow forgot to transfer any of the dots over, and found myself having to go back and add them in mid-construction, after I’d already packed away my cut pattern pieces. Certainly not the end of the world, but it was a little inconvenient!
For this pattern, fabric recommendations include chambray, rayon twill, double gauze, and cotton voile, among a few others. As I’ve mentioned before this year, I’m really trying to minimize my fabric-buying habits and sew from my fabric stash whenever possible. So I went shopping through my own collection, and decided to dive in head first for this project. I chose this beautiful Cotton + Steel / Rifle Paper Co. rayon challis, which has been sitting on my shelf for well over a year now. I’ve been waiting for a perfect pattern to come along before cutting into this dreamy fabric, and I couldn’t be happier that I finally went for it here! The style of the jacket lends so well to this bold, bright print, and the rayon challis adds the perfect amount of drape and swoosh to the design. I feel confident pairing this with a business casual outfit for work events, or with an Ogden cami and shorts for a casual warm weather look.
This pattern is listed as a level ⅗ by Deer & Doe’s standards, which translates to an intermediate level pattern. I would agree with this completely. This jacket is NOT too difficult for someone newer to sewing garments to tackle; however, it does have some finicky bits that require a little more time and attention. The biggest challenge for me was making the notches in the collar look sharp and crisp – thank goodness for interfacing and irons! I also still struggle with topstitching from time to time (I can be a bit of a perfectionist,) and this pattern does have its’ fair share of topstitching! If you are willing to take the time to make sure that your garment turns out nicely, this pattern is completely within your reach!
As far as construction, I chose to sew all of my seams with a straight stitch on my sewing machine, and to finish the seams on my serger. I love the professional look that the serger gives me, and I do feel that the garment is more sturdy and likely to last longer when finished on the serger (though I don’t actually have any idea whether this is true or not, so don’t hold me to it!) The last, most fiddly bit for me was hand stitching the collar into place. Guys… I love the beautiful, tidy look that a hand stitched finish offers. But holy cow, I do NOT like hand stitching! (Also, I don’t think I am great at it – my inner seams always look just the slightest bit wavy?) But I sucked it up, and took advantage of a 3 hour car ride home to visit family to finish up the last of my hand stitching. And yes, I’m quite happy with the finish.
So there you have my review on my experience sewing up the new Nénuphar – if you’ve had any inclination to buy this pattern, I would most definitely recommend it! The pattern is well made, the instructions are lovely, it has pockets, and it can be made for any season! Though the pattern used in this post was provided to me by Deer & Doe Patterns, all opinions expressed are my own, as always!
- XX Elizabeth