Amanda Vs Airelle Blouse

We’re going on a bear (shirt) hunt.
We’re going to sew some awesome!
I’m not scared!
I’ve got gin!


That’s right. The gorgeous Airelle Blouse pattern by Deer & Doe mixed with a soft forest print cotton. Only on Bimble & Pimble could you find this much crazy in one top. I live to give…

Gentle readers, before we get into the finer details of BEAR SHIRT please come with me on an epic journey of awesomeness (there’s cheese involved- how’s that for incentive?) When I first moved to Canberra a few years back I really struggled to find friends in this town. As it is the governmental hub of Australia the population is rather transitory and people just seemed to keep to themselves. By my second year I decided to try some new hobbies to meet people. I took introduction to ballet classes (hilarious!), joined a book club (good wine!) and finally took up Introduction to French classes two nights a week (hot mess!).  My dear, sweet tutor Amandine, bless her, realised that the only way she could get me to learn French was to include cheese as a subject in every new sentence structure and vocab I learned. Fun times for her, I’m sure!

Now, after a year of twice weekly French lessons all I can remember to say is: J’adore du fromage! (which is most likely wrong but hey, I did note I sucked at this). Now what has this got to do with sewing, I hear you ask? Well, Deer and Doe patterns are currently only available in French. And being an impatient brat of a sewist I ordered them thinking how hard could it be? I think we can all see where this is going… Cheese was not mentioned anywhere in the instructions and as such there may or may not have been some minor hiccups… But not the back. That turned out a treat so let’s have a picture of that. Yay!

Note to self: brush hair before photos. Or not. I’m going to call this look “keeping it real”. That’s the way, Amanda- sell your laziness! Okay, time to focus…

What I loved about this pattern:

  • The gorgeous details. The cute as a button collar, tiny gathers, the yoke. I’m really starting to appreciate fine finishes like this. I’m thinking you could totes have fun with playing around with stripes or different fabric to highlight these elements.
  • How gorgeous the pattern book is. Sure, I couldn’t understand a word but the illustrations gave me a jolly good idea of what I was meant to be doing. Even if I ignored them sometimes. Oh, Manda!
  • The sweet sleeves. I’m normally against any puffy sleeves but these are really cute. My trim was actually an inch shorter then the piece required but a bit extra gathering and everything worked a treat.

What I would change next time:

  • Adjust the fit around the wait a bit more if I want a shirt to not wear under a skirt. These free flowing styles don’t work for me unless they are tucked into something. So deeper darts it is!
  • Not interfacing the collar. Jeepers. I’m not sure why I did this? I got super confused and just whacked in some interfacing. Epic mistake. That thing is all bulky and sassy and sticks up weird.
  • Bias biding the collar edging instead of using the shell fabric as a facing. I think this would reduce some of the bulk and give a more polished finish.
So what have I learnt from all of this? That’s I’m impatient and shouldn’t buy French patterns until the English translation is available. Pity I bought two more at the same time. BWAH HA HA! I’m so impatient. The good news is I work with a sassy lady who is just about to finish her studies in French at university and who is going to trade translating these gorgeous patterns for some sewing. I call that a win. Jump for joy!


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go hunting for some pic-a-nic baskets. Engage bear mode. Rawwwrr!


  1. You know Amanda, I really would like to be a fly on the wall at one of your blog photoshoots… i think it would provide enough amusement to keep me for the rest of the year!

  2. Thanks, Ellen! I feel like this top is teetering on the edge of crazy town but I think it juuuuuuuust leans a little to OTT rather than “what teh heck are you wearing?!?”

  3. Haha! I love it. Hey I don’t know you in person but reading your hilarious posts and seeing your quirky fabric choices gives me a good impression… awesome!! Where are you from originally if you don’t mind me asking? 🙂

  4. this is so cute! I am glad it worked out as I was also very impatient and bought 2! haha! one i will make with the sew along about to kick off over at paunnet! hopefully with her guidance it will be great!

  5. Two words, Amanda, two words: google translate. Then just swap the word “peas” (which I’m not sure should feature in a dress pattern) for “cheese”. Or fromage if you will. C’est simple!

  6. Thanks, Sabs! I have been using a bit of ye olde google translate to help me out but it got stuck on some words, the poor thing. That’s where I substituted cheese into the story for myself! Bwah ha ha!

  7. Bear face!!! Perfect for Halloween, even if the top is just too adorable to be scary. I love your contrast collar and trim, and the sleeves have just the right amount of poof.

    My friends who tried to teach me French made every sentence about sheep. I think cheese is more memorable!

  8. So cute, bears and all!

    Also, I’m completely with you on the social suckery of living in a governmental hub. (Though it looks like you’ve overcome it.)

    Also also: no mention of cheese in the pattern? I am outraged.

  9. Thanks, Cindy! Bear face is an important part of a sewist’s photo repertoire and should be brought out wherever possible! Sheep is a fine substitute for cheese… Though I think it should be sheep cheese!

  10. It is always difficult to find your way in a new place… especially Canberra! It is not exactly known as the most exciting place. Though it sounds like you have really been proactive and it has worked out.
    Following patterns in different languages is definitely a challenge. It is hard enough in English most of the time! I translate German patterns, and I often make mistakes…but your top does look great:) good work!

  11. You made me laugh like a loon! The top is gorgeous on you. I’m hoping that I’ll get a couple of Deer & Doe patterns for my birthday or Christmas to test my french (which I’m pretty sure is even worse than yours!) on.

  12. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your blog posts, they’re always hilarious, have fab pictures and I’m always deeply envious of your sewing results. And on that note, I’m off to buy some more marshmallows because I’m STILL craving thanks to you! 😉

  13. J’adore LE fromage, just for your information 🙂 and I totally agree patterns from deer and doe are really cute. I bought Sureau and Belladone but french is not a problem from me. If you bought Sureau, do you know you have a sew along in english in this moment, it has started beginning on November.

    And anyway, if you have any question about french, you can ask me, it is my mother tongue, even if like for knitting, I learn to sew n english and I have some gaps.

  14. Merci! 😀
    Thanks for the info on the Sureau sewalong- I have been sewing along with this one and it is super fun! I’ll most definitely be in touch if I have any issues with Belladone- I am obsessed with that frock. Thank you so much for the kind offer 😀 😀

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  19. Fabulous top! I’ve just received my pattern … en Anglais! It’s all on paper, did you trace yours onto tissue or did you work straight from the paper?

  20. Hey Sarah- I traced mine out. I’m pretty crazy lady about tracing things as I am always worried I will try and make things later and I won’t fit what I’ve cut out. Good luck with Airelle!

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