Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Deer and Doe Fumeterre Maxi Skirt: Review, Charcoal Chambray maxi

 September has brought a flurry of new sewing patterns including three releases from Deer and Doe.  I haven't bought a D&D pattern since Chaitagne as the styles hadn't really worked for me, maybe a bit young?  I digress, the new styles fill me with joy, especially the Fumeterre skirt. 

A maxi skirt is a signature garment for me.  it's the equivalent of jeans although I have at least 10 maxi skirts in my wardrobe and maybe one pair of jeans- they may have now been passed to my daughter!   I also had a longish length of chambray, an eBay bargain with a few faults but great as a first try on this pattern.  Deer and Doe patterns are very consistent size wise so I knew I would be a 38 and with the branding revamp I noticed that the finished garment measurements are included on the patterns which is very helpful.  

As a result I traced my pattern with a size 40 waist grading to 38" hip by the first triangle notch and I shortened the length by 4".  I knew I wanted my skirt to sit a little lower than my high waist.  I can't bear tightness around my high waist, it makes my belly bloat in minutes and is generally uncomfortable.  Adding this extra ease worked perfectly for me.  I also tapered the side edges of the waistband pieces so they are slightly diagonal rather than straight- similar to these trousers.  When it comes to shortening, I did try adding a shorten line just over half way down the panels so that I could use the original hem facing pattern pieces but the adjustment at the side seams is too big so I shortened from the hem measuring up 4" upwards  following the curve and redrafted the hem facing.  For reference I am 164cm tall, just under 5' 5".

Additions included:
  • Cutting the hem facing and fly shield plus pocket linings (the original pockets are not lined) from a contrast fabric.  I used Liberty lawn, it's perfect for this purpose. 
  • Addition of pocket linings.  I did this as I do use pockets and these are patch pockets that will bag out if I stuff my hands in them a lot.  The lining fabric needs to be thin to avoid adding bulk.
  • I added interfacing to the fly front that will be topstitched on the left front.  I used Perfect Fuse sheer.  

I had 235cm of 140 wide fabric and I just managed to fit the shortened pattern pieces out of it - as the fabric had a few faults I was slightly limited and the hem facings need an extra 50cm of fabric so remember to allow for that.  You readily need a fabric that either has no directional print or works both ways vertically otherwise you will need a lot more fabric!  It's always the way with panelled or A-line maxi skirts!

The sewing process was pretty straightforward.  I chose view B with a fly front which I have no experience of sewing.  The instructions are brief on Deer and Doe patterns and these were no exception.   The patter is rated as 4 out of 5 so it does need a little experience although view A would be easier than view B.  I did get my fly shield the wrong way round so the overlocked edge rather than a fabric folded edge was on the outside but the fly functions so this was a minor slip up by me. 

I used glue basting for the pockets and for the waistband.   It's a great little cheat and is so fast and effective. The waistband is fitted back to front with the lining first and the outer second so the finishing seam is on the outside of the waistband.  It makes for a very neat finish.  I used a hook and bar fastener rather than a button to finish the waistband off.

What can I say?  I love it.  The addition of a little elastic in the back waist means the waistband can sit higher on me than I can usually wear comfortably and it feels comfortable and the elastication is so minimal it does not have the look of an elasticated waist (I'm not usually a fan of these). 

It's swishy and flows as I walk.  I was lucky with the length: it is long enough to be a maxi but doesn't get a wet hem in the rain or make me trip up walking up stairs.  I thank my daughter as usual for these photos, she does such a great job.  I did take a phone snap to capture the tucked in version.  

With the right top tucked in it gives a great effect of length, especially to my legs which are in reality on the short side.  I feel like this pattern could've been designed for me!  I bought my patterns (I also bought Cardamome) direct from Deer and Doe and you can also buy them from Village Haberdashery- you need to email Annie to arrange this, they can't be sold by another retailer online, only by Deer and Doe themselves.  There are some tutorials coming from Elenore for the dress patterns including small and large bust adjustments and the sizing range has been increased for all the new patterns.  There's also new colour coding: all woven patterns are in Ochre packaging and are part of the Botany collection.  There's another colour for knits/jersey and they form the Meterology collection and there are designated hashtags for all designs #DDfumeterre.  

Edited to add:
A few people mentioned in emails and on IG have asked how this style compares with the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt.  Although they are both maxi skirts, there are some differences.  
  • I think Fumeterre uses a little less fabric. 
  • The Fumeterre has panels cut on the straight grain, the Gabriola makes more use of bias in it's  diagonal hip sections, hence it uses more fabric.
  • Fumetrre has pockets. 
  •  I found the fit easier on the Fumeterre.  Maybe because Deer and Doe patterns fit me with less alterations.  I found the hips needed a lot of reduction on the Gabriola even though I am slightly pear shaped.
  • Although I like yokes on skirts, the Gabriola one tends to emphasise my belly at the front rather than smooth over it!  There is a greater use of bias on the Gabriola style. 
  •  I like them both, they each have great flow when walking but I'm thinking about my second Fumeterre and I haven't made another Gabriola! 
I hope that helps! 

sib blog


  1. It's a wonderful skirt and really suits you - I suspect you'll be making more of them!

  2. Ooo! Your skirt is lovely. I've been trying to talk myself out of buying this pattern, because I think it's similar to the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt (which I have, but haven't made yet!); but I'm very swayed now! I have some suiting that I think would work quite well... Thanks for the review and the inspiration!

  3. Really lovely!!! And such a useful review thank you. I found the comparison with the Gabriola especially helpful - I'm still not a maxi skirt maker or wearer but it's something that I'm feeling more and more drawn to when I see examples like yours!

  4. Lovely comparison. Thank you for your additional comments Kerry. Just finished my 5th gabriola this afternoon!

  5. You certainly do rock a maxi skirt. I haven't worn one since uni days. Thanks so much for adding the Gabriola comparison. That was exactly what I going to ask!

  6. Nice make!I love the fabric you used. I didn't get the Gabriola cos I find low yokes most unflattering. I' ve just cut my first one and plan a midi length next. You should try it on your waist another time - she drafted it with the elastic so as to create a skirt that was comfy to eat in although high waisted.


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