When I was approached by Deer & Doe last month to review a HAND-SELECTED pattern from their new spring line I was floored! I mean, talk about fan-girl moment, whew!
I am absolutely obsessed with the Deer & Doe pattern line. Very few pattern companies make me want to drop everything I am doing to sew up their items, and even fewer make me want to sew it in the exact same fabric as they showcase on their website, but Deer & Doe ticks both of those boxes nearly every. single. time.
Of course, this was no different. I fell completely in love with their suggestion of the Pensee- it really is totally my style!
Originally, I wanted to make a double layer, white silk version of the Pensee Dress. However, as I went to lay out my pattern, I realized really quickly that that was NOT going to happen! I had just shy of 3-yards of fabric, which I might have been able to squeeze one layer of dress out of, but then I would be showing off a bit more than I would be comfortable with.
So, I opted to sew a double layer Pensee Top instead! The sewing was really fun and pretty quick, even though I had given myself the extra task of two layers PLUS french seams for every seam (I know, I always have to make it harder).
When I tried on the top I was absolutely smitten! I probably picked the most challenging silk to work with, and I am so glad that I almost immediately stay-stitched all the necklines because I had a semi-stretch silk and it just wanted to keep growwwiiinnnggggg.
I wound up lengthening the bottom layer a few inches longer than the top to give it a tiered effect which I really liked. And though I double layered my top, it was STILL a tad see through- yikes!
I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to break out my dye materials to experiment with adding some color to the top that could help mask its sheer quality. Plus, it would check off one of my 19 for 2019 tasks which was to dye more items for fun.
I wound up grabbing a few different all-natural dyes I had saved from 2017 or 2018 and threw them in my mess of pots and got to experimenting. I wound up with four samples:
- Red Onion
- Yellow/ White Onion
- Mystery Dye (avocado or onion? I couldn't tell)
I liked the color of the Yellow/ White Onion most (after the second dip) and decided to put my new White Pensee into the dye pot, but not before I took a few pics (in case it took a turn for the worst!)
I let the top sit in the dye pot for 24 hours. I try to keep the process of dyeing super simple, so I typically pre-wash my fabric as per usual, skip the mordanting, and stick to dyes that I can create with things I have in my cabinet that have more tannins in them. Tannins naturally occur in plants and they help the colorfastness of a dyed fabric so that your garment doesn't fade quickly over time. Both Avocado Seeds & Onion Skins have a good level of tannins present in them.
Once my top was all dyed and looking good, I broke out my new rinseless detergent, Soak, that I picked up from Topstitch for my knitting & delicate me-made's and I washed the top. Since I was on a time crunch (leaving for NOLA the day after next) I did a quick tumble dry to check the color.
It was SUPER close to my skin tone which was pas bien, so I chucked it back into a new dye pot, filled with avocado dye. I let that sit for another 24 hours and repeated the same process as described above.
The color was a lot better, though I am still unsure how I feel about it next to my skin. It's a gorgeous pinkish-beige, but I still feel it is too close to my skin tone and I may look naked to passers-by, haha, so she may be seeing another trip to the dye bath in a round of madder root potentially. Only time will tell!
My overall feelings about this entire project are so incredibly happy! I loved working on the pattern, I LOVE the low back, and it just fits my style so wonderfully, plus I can see myself wearing this all summer as well as pairing it with a Nikko top & jeans or something in the winter! A+++