Cropped and Boxy Melilot Shirt


I’ve already posted about my two other Deer and Doe Melilot shirts, but I made some mods for this one so I think it’s worth posting about. Also this fabric deserves some photos, right? I’m sure you all recognize it from the Colette Penny dress—it’s the “Tropical Stems” cotton lawn from Fabric Godmother. I threw a meter of this in my order for different fabric a couple months ago because I couldn’t resist it and I thought it would be perfect as a Melilot shirt.

Since I only got a meter, I knew I would have to crop the length (fine by me, because I love cropped tops) and I decided to go up a couple sizes to get a more boxy fit. The Melilot has fairly curved side seams so I also straightened those out a bit. I could have made them completely straight, and maybe I should have, but I don’t mind the slight curve in the sides. I do kind of wish that I had changed the collar to pointed rather than the pattern’s round ends, but that’s alright.

This fabric is a dream to sew and feels great to wear; it’s super lightweight and floaty, but still holds a press really well. The instructions are great and I’ve made this twice before so the construction was going well—until I got to the buttonholes. Something was going on with my machine and the tension was just fucked. The bobbin side of the buttonholes looked great, but the top was a horrible mess. I did them all, thinking that the next one would be better, but it never got better. So I gave up and was ready to toss my machine out the window and get a new one (I was actually looking at reviews for machines I could get with 2 day shipping on Amazon). But the next day I decided to try one more time—and it was fine!

So it was a lesson in knowing when to take a break and give my machine a rest, as well as a lesson in ripping out seven buttonholes and redoing them without an automatic buttonholer.

But now it looks lovely, especially with these great pink shell buttons I got from Britex in San Francisco. I actually spent a good amount of time deciding on button placement, because I think it really makes a difference in how a shirt is worn and styled. With this Melilot I was planning on always wearing it a little unbuttoned, so I needed one of the buttons to be at the perfect position for that (a bit of casual décolletage, y’know?) and the rest of the buttons needed to follow proportionately. I never use a pattern’s button placement because I think it’s important to determine where they should go based on your own body (no gaping!) and how you’re going to wear it.

Also, if you watch Seinfeld you know how important button placement is!

I also have a thing about shirt pockets because I hate when they’re basically boob covers, so I always place mine a little higher. Love that sewing supports quirky little personal preferences like that!

Deer and Doe Melilot Times Two

It’s rare that I make a garment and then immediately make the same garment in a different fabric, but I was too excited about this amazing silk to wait! The first make is technically a muslin, but both fit great and I didn’t make many changes to the second one. If you’re looking for a first shirt pattern to try, I highly recommend the Deer and Doe Melilot. I like that the finished garment is a little unusual, but it’s a fairly simple sew and has beautiful seam finishes built into the instructions. Completely enclosed seams, without having to plan ahead? I love it.

First up is this incredibly soft and light yarn-dyed cotton (lawn?) I bought in Japan last year. I’m slowly working my way through my Tokyo fabric purchases. Maybe in a year it’ll be time to plan a return trip!

This is a great summer shirt because the fabric is so light, yet pretty much opaque. I made a straight size 40 and I think the fit is pretty good. Looking at these photos, it seems like there’s some pulling around the hips so maybe I could grade up there. And maybe I need a FBA? I think I’m still stuck in the RTW mindset of the fit being good if it’s good enough. Also I’m lazy and don’t really enjoy pattern hacking because I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing!

Have you noticed the buttons? I took the yellow buttons off an old RTW shirt that wouldn’t button up over my chest, but I was short by two. I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to find matching ones (haha, right). I went to two stores and then decided to just go with something that’s the same size and sheen, but in a completely different color. And I like it! Maybe it makes it look more “handmade”, but so does my first attempt at a shirt collar, so I’m not too worried about it.

After the success of my wearable toile, I cut into my silk for my second Melilot. I got this fabric from Mood NYC and when I first saw it I surprised myself by being completely enamored. A novelty print? And it’s bright pink? But the jaguars/leopards are really beautifully illustrated and the pink has super faint lines of blue running throughout. And it’s silk! So a little more elevated than your typical novelty print, right?

I tried to cut this really carefully and match up the big cats, but soon realized they’re kind of random…or at least the 4 different jaguars didn’t repeat regularly in the 2 yards I had. I just tried to keep things balanced and made sure the pockets were perfect. The only changes I made were shortening the shirt overall by an inch or so and making the back the same length as the front.

My boyfriend says this is my best make yet and I think he might be right. I get compliments on it whenever I wear it, but oddly the first thing that most people say is “Are those tigers on your shirt?” And then instead of being rude and saying “Obviously not! They have spots!” I just say “I think they’re jaguars?” as if I’m unsure of the obvious differences between big cat species. I guess people don’t watch as many BBC nature shows as me…

I’ve since made another Melilot shirt, which you can see here! For my third Melilot I switched it up by going cropped and a little oversized.