A Denim-Linen Sureau

Happy 2015 folks. While the world was nursing its hangover on New Year’s Day I was getting intimate with my new Brother 1034D overlocker – one of a number of a truly amazing and thoughtful sewing-related Christmas/birthday pressies this year.

I have to say, I’m not massively into the festive season. Don’t get me wrong, I love to reflect on the passing of another year, count my blessings, spend time with loved ones and escape from the pressures of everyday working life. But the conspicuous waste that goes with the festivities gets harder to ignore. I’m not just talking about the excess food and stuff that gets thrown away. The influx of toys and gifts for my very fortunate two girls was off the scale this year. For some time I’ve been reading an amazing blog on living a simple life. It’s called Slow Your Home, and if these issues resonate with you I urge you to take a look.

Denim Linen Sureau

Last weekend I spent a lovely day relaxing in central London with my family. My almost-four-year old and I enjoyed exploring the fabric shops along Berwick Street dreaming about future makes (with some vouchers for The Cloth House and Liberty burning a hole in my pocket). The flip-side was seeing the heaps of once-expensive now cheap-cheap clothes on sale in the shops along Oxford Street. Nothing affirms my desire more to spend considered time deciding what I want to wear and making my own clothes.

Denim Linen Sureau

So on that frugal note, here’s my first make of the year reusing a favourite pattern from last year. It’s my second Deer & Doe Sureau made up with a gorgeous denim-linen fabric left over from my Emery Dress. The fabric originally came from The Little Fabric Store in Louth, and I was beyond chuffed to find that I’d bought enough for two dresses. I used the same modifications as last time, namely cutting a size 40 top and grading to a 42 at the waist. As with my last one, I encountered gapes at the neckline, but did nothing to tackle them other than pressing and re-pressing. I don’t seem to have much luck with sewing gathering stitches on denim; the thread always seems to break. So instead I hand-stitched the gathers with waxed quilting cotton before sewing by machine. Apart from a slightly gapey neck, the only other feature I’m not mad on is the width of the sleeves. They seem wider on this version as the fabric has less tendency to drape. If I were to make it again I’d probably tackle it and make them narrower.

Denim Linen Sureau

After a quick practice with the overlocker, I got the hang of overlocking the seams. Nervous of an overlocking disaster (I’ve seen a few blog posts lamenting the aftermath of an overlocker blade attack), I took the precaution of overlocking all of the pattern pieces before I assembled the dress. I’m not sure if this is normal, but it definitely helped to stabilise the fabric. It does mean that the seams haven’t been trimmed down. I’m really pleased with how professional the dress looks on the inside, but boy does that thing make my old sewing machine feel slow!


I am happy with this dress: I love the fabric, and the pattern. I wanted a not-quite casual denim dress, although it’s a little ‘blousier’ than I would have liked.  I took my time over it, sewing maybe a step or two each night. Most of all, I took the plunge with the overlocker without losing a limb. It was a real pleasure to return to sewing after after a few weeks off.

Denim Linen Sureau

I’ve picked up a few useful overlocking tips over the past few months, such as Handmade Jane’s tip for changing only the left hand cone to match the fabric, and Four Square Wall’s tip for using an overlocker to create gathers. I’d love to hear your top tips for getting the best out of this beauty!


17 thoughts on “A Denim-Linen Sureau

  1. Pingback: Denim Never Dies: A Denim Linen Sureau | The Monthly Stitch

  2. I’m totally with you on the excess of Christmas, both my kids birthdays were over the holidays so we were inundated, I also hit the sales with my teenage daughter and they left me cold!! ( I only bought a pair of tight!!) Making my own clothes wins hands down
    Think the sureau looks great and the sleeves are fine, just don’t walk around with your arms outstretched !!!


      • Oh I do love a pun – as well as a denim Sureau apparently! Yours is lovely – the buttons are a good match. Well done on getting stuck in with your overlocker. I have ‘pinked’ but I might do an odd seam retrospectively. What is next on your list dear Ms Sew South London? I have managed to buy four patterns this week but haven’t decided which to do first. Enjoy the rest of your weekend x

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh! I didn’t spot that pun. Sleeves must have been on my mind! We are very much in sewing-synch, aren’t we?! Despite my aim to slow down and tackle one thing at a time, I’ve also collected a few new patterns over Christmas. My next one is a Bluegingerdoll dress. How about you? I’m intrigued!


  3. I got an overlocker for Christmas too which I have been getting to grips with – I absolutely love it (once I got over fear of the knife!) and I have been focussing on knits. I also got the Sureau pattern and I love your denim/linen version – I am looking forward to giving it a go!


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very pretty indeed. I love denim dresses. I’ve just made a summer one! I’ve found when trying to do gathers on denim that the technique of zigzagging over a heavy thread (such as top stitching thread) is more effective. I actually hate doing gathers. My latest trick is to use shirring thread instead of normal thread on lighter weight fabric…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This really suits you and you chose a perfect fabric for it! I hope you find something nice to buy with your vouchers, I’m trying to be a little more slow and considered with my fabric purchases this year too


  6. Lovely dress–linen makes such a nice crisp garment. Once you get used to it, you will LOVE knits and the serger. It’s true, you can make a t-shirt in no time flat and a knit dress in just a little longer. I like to keep my serger threaded in 4 different colors so if I have any tension issues, it’s really easy to tell which is the offending party. I rarely rethread to match too mostly because I’m lazy and don’t have as plentiful of a stash of serger thread as I do regular.


  7. Pingback: Inari Tee Dress | Sew South London

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