Mélilot and the not-so-great fabric

June 16, 2016


Since I finished my rayon Mélilot, I have worn it a lot. It is super comfortable, and goes well with both high-waisted skirts and pants. I wanted to make another one, and I decided to try version B, the one with the cuffs and mandarin collar.


I also had wanted a chambray button-down for a while, in the hopes that it would be a basic top that I could associate with most of my skirts without resorting to the eternal white/black/navy triad. I had in my stash just enough of this mystery fabric that I got in a local shop called Scrap Exchange – a “creative recycling” association which sells absolutely everything, as long as it can be reused for craft projects: wooden boxes, plastic bottle caps, broken bits of mirrors, as well as fabric scraps and a very limited selection by the yard.


Actually I’m not so sure this is really a chambray. It has the classic color, but the weave is very dense and I can’t tell if the warp and weft threads are the same color. I don’t know what fibers it is made of either, but I’m sure it’s mostly synthetic.


The issue with this fabric is that it has no drape at all, and the loose cut of Mélilot really requires something more fluid. It’s even worse with my sway-back: the rayon one sat on the top of the lower back in a supple and natural way, but the fabric on this new shirt creates harsh, massive fold lines.


I don’t mind it too much to be honest: the folds are not as visible in real life as they are on the pictures, I think the shirt looks great from the front and I can’t see the back when I’m wearing it 😀 However, there is no way I can tuck it in a high-waisted skirt like I wanted, it is way too rigid, so I can only wear it over these black jeans.


I feared that the rigidity of the fabric, associated with the dropped shoulders, would limit my movements too much, but I can move my arms in every direction without feeling restricted. Though again, a drapier fabric wouldn’t have all these folds.


Another aspect to take into account is that I made this shirt like I usually make Deer&Doe patterns: 38 at the bust, 36.5 at the waist and 40.5 at the hips, lengthened by 3/8” above the waist (that’s what fits my body the best). I graded the pattern for my first Mélilot and used the same pieces, but with the drape of the fabric on the first one I didn’t realize that the hip curve was too exaggerated for my body. As the largest point of my hips is pretty low (i.e. saddlebags, or in fancy French “culotte de cheval”) I shouldn’t have graded to 40.5 so high on the pattern piece, and I ended up with too much fabric at hip-bone level. Since the hem curve goes up pretty high at the sides I could actually have stuck with a 38.5 or even a 38 at the hips.


One thing I really like though is the buttons: they are small flat metal buttons, with a very raw feel. I think I “borrowed” them from my mom’s button box last time I visited, but I’m not so sure… Anyway they are perfect for this pattern.


So this shirt is a pretty big fabric fail, but I’ll wear it anyways. Mostly it reinforces my idea of making another Mélilot. I thought maybe I would make another short-sleeved one in a Liberty of London lawn, but after fighting with this dense, rigid fabric I really just want to make it out of rayon. It’s a bit of a pain to sew, but it’s so great to wear…


“Chambray” Mélilot
Mélilot – Deer&Doe
Size 36,5 / 38,5 / 40,5
Lengthened by 3/8” aboved the waist
Mystery Fabric from the Scrap Exchange


  1. Caitlyn

    - June 16, 2016

    I’m impressed that you found any workable garment fabrics at the Scrap Exchange. Last time I was there, the shelves were dominated by heavy upholstery. (Mayhap it’s time to go back and give it a second try?) It’s a bummer that this mystery fabric didn’t work quite the way you planned, but those buttons are really cool, and if this project gave you the urge to sew mie, who can really argue with it? I can’t wait to see your rayon Mélilot!

    • Camille

      - June 23, 2016

      Ah yes, there were only a few decent bolts, most of the rest was…. interesting. 😀

  2. Sue

    - June 16, 2016

    I hear ya on the fabric choice! Luckily this is still totally adorable on you. I have the same view traced out, I just need to actually cut some fabric and sew it up!

    • Camille

      - June 23, 2016

      Thanks a lot 🙂

  3. Mags

    - June 17, 2016

    It does look good though! This is my next project (with a suitably drapery fabric)

    • Camille

      - June 23, 2016

      Thank you! I totally recommend the pattern, enjoy 🙂

  4. francesca

    - June 17, 2016

    Hmmm… have you tried it tucked in to pants like the ones you’re wearing? It’s a pity about the rigidity of the fabric, but it still looks beautiful, and those buttons!

    I am going to make my first short sleeved one in a voile – I find that American voiles drape more and are softer than my long love, Liberty tana lawn. Tana has no give at all on the crossgrain and hardly any on the bias, but voile is different, I find it tucks into skirts with a defined waist nicely and doesn’t floof out too much…. And it’s easier to work with than lovely but shifty viscose… I now always use gelatine with viscose.

    • Camille

      - June 23, 2016

      Yeah it is very stiff so if I try to tuck it in (even a half-tuck or something like this) it sticks out in a weird way. Not that I ever managed to tuck a shirt into my pants in a pretty way haha ^^

      I made several projects using Liberty fabric back in the time and you are right, it doesn’t have this nice drape that voile has. I recently tried Art Gallery voile and it is amazing, I think it would work great for a Mélilot.

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