Deer and Doe Cardamome Dress

This dress came together in a very serendipitous way. I didn’t realize that the fabric and pattern would be a perfect match. I had no clue how it would look sans collar and buttons. But daggumit I went for it. And I love it.


Cardamome Dress // Deer and Doe

After making multiple versions of Deer and Doe’s free Plantain Tee, I figured I should fork over some cash and try one of their many non-free patterns. The Cardamome Dress caught my eye with its bib front and smocked waist—two new-to-me techniques. The pattern also has a view with full-length sleeves, and I will definitely be making that in the fall. (Mandatory “It’s got pockets, too!” mention.)


I took my time with construction. This isn’t the sort of dress you can whip up in a night unless you’re a complete speed demon. The difficulty is listed as 4 out of 5, but the directions are solid and I think most people with a collared shirt under their belt could easily tackle Cardamome.


The trickiest step was the smocked waist, which calls for four lines of elastic thread. I’d never shirred/smocked before, so this was quite the learning experience. This post from Dawn Nicole helped a ton. Quick crash course in shirring for those of you who are unfamiliar:

  • Elastic thread goes in the bobbin. Regular thread goes through the needle, per usual.
  • You have to wind elastic thread onto the bobbin by hand.
  • If you have a Brother cs6000i machine, I highly recommend watching this video. It demonstrates how to carefully adjust the tension by using a tiny screwdriver to tighten a screw on the bobbin casing. GAME CHANGER. My shirring was sad and loose before making this adjustment.


For the collar, or lack thereof, I took some inspiration from this Grainline Studio tutorial on how to sew the Alder Shirtdress with a Mandarin-style collar. It’s essentially a collar stand without the collar piece. I like the streamlined look of the Mandarin collar with Cardamome’s feminine gathering and bib front. I had every intention of adding buttonholes and buttons, but then I wore this out a couple times and realized they’re superfluous for a summer dress. Maybe I’ll add them if I make a cold-weather-friendly version.


And the fabric! I almost forgot. I found this cherry-red block-printed sateen on Denver Fabrics, and it is perfect. It’s totally opaque, which is ideal since this dress isn’t lined, and I love the kooky (slightly patriotic) geometric print. It feels a little knockoff Dusen Dusen to me and that’s exactly why I bought it.

Here are the dirty deets:

  • Pattern: Cardamome Dress from Deer and Doe
  • Size: 40
  • Fabric: 100% cotton sateen
  • Alterations: Added 1.25″ to the skirt, only because I forgot to add that length to the top. I’ll swap that for next time. // Mandarin-style collar. // No buttons.

BONUS BLOOPER REEL: Here are some pictures that I managed to ruin with talking or general derp-ness.


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I haven’t seen this dress around the blogosphere very much, and I’m not sure why… it’s a fantastic pattern. Think you’ll give it a shot?

10 thoughts on “Deer and Doe Cardamome Dress

  1. It looks so lovely and impeccably made. Well done. I like this pattern very much and would buy it, if only I wasnt on a pattern buying suspension😢. I have to use a lot more of my stash before adding to the patterns…..though I might try drafting a copy cat version😃. Love the fabric btw


  2. Yours is adorable, but I had a bad experience with my (first, only) Deer and Doe pattern…after being spoiled by pattern companies that fit me with only grading or sometimes no grading, wrangling that dress made me sad and put me off ever since. Which is a shame because I often love their designs!


    • Oh no! I’m the opposite with Deer and Doe—they’re one pattern company whose designs seem to fit right out of the gate. (Unlike Colette, for instance.) It can be so frustrating when one garment takes way longer to fit than it should. Good luck if you try again!


  3. I think your collar adaption is great idea as I am not a lover of the shirt collar. It looks lovely on you and the fabric is fab. I have bought the pattern on the back of seeing yours! I hope mine comes out as nice as yours. My only worry is that you said you made size 40 but you look very slight. Anyway I will look carefully at the sizings before starting! Thanks for sharing it with us.


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