We all know there is nothing more important than comfort during the winter months, which is why a long sleeve knit dress has been on our design wish list for a some time now. But in the spirit of Deer&Doe, we took this idea and elevated it. We wanted something with an organic vibe . . . a silhouette that followed the natural curves of the body and felt great to wear no matter the occasion.
The result is a design we loved so much, we couldn’t help ourselves but create not one, not two . . . but four variations! Each version has an extra special detail so it works as a standout piece on its own, but together functions as a comprehensive and super stylish wardrobe builder. These are far from basic knit blocks, and we’re very proud to offer them all together in one pattern.
Version A (the dress): A loving nod to the 90s, the Orage dress features a cut-out bodice, mock neckline, long sleeves, and a curved hem. The half-circle skirt gives this dress a beautiful drape, and we bet you won’t be able to resist twirling in it!
Version B (the top): Featuring a square neckline, 3/4 sleeves, and longer bodice length, this a great everyday top that’s perfect for tucking in. We took extra care to make sure the square neckline has a scooped and feminine vibe, with curved corners to echo the curves of the pattern (which coincidentally, also make it easier to sew! 😉).
Version C (the crop top): With a cropped length, crew neckline, and shorter sleeves . . . this top really is a staple! We paired it with just about everything at the photoshoot, and its vibe totally changed depending on what it was styled with. Make it chic or casual with the Genêt shorts/pants, feminine with the Circée skirt, or sporty with a contrast rib knit and matching sleeve bands. You can also pair it with the Orage skirt (below) for a versatile faux dress!
Version D (the skirt): Finished with an elastic waistband (that we promise stays in place and looks flat!), this stand-alone skirt variation is perfect for dancing at your next party or impressing your colleagues as you swish past their desk. The unique hem sits higher at the sides to create elegant and feminine waves we can’t get enough of.
If you’re wondering whether you can mix and match views . . . the answer is yes! The three neckline and sleeve options are all interchangeable for an endless variety of styles.
Since this is a form-fitting pattern, you should try to stick with the same types of fabrics you’d choose for a bodysuit. Look for something with a minimum stretch percentage of 60% and great recovery so the bodice doesn’t start bagging (most cotton knits, like t-shirt jersey, won’t be stretchy enough!). That said, if you’re planning on making the skirt variation, cotton-spandex is okay since this view is less constraining and recovery isn’t quite as important.
Our favorite fabrics for Orage, hands down, are beautiful fluid knits like rayon, lyocell, and bamboo. You can also use a Milano knit fabric, but choose only the thinnest and stretchiest varieties for the reasons listed above.
If you are new to sewing knits, don’t worry! There’s no reason you can’t tackle Orage—with or without a serger. All views can be sewn entirely on a sewing machine using a zig zag or stretch stitch, and the skirt and crop top are especially good for beginners. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we started seeing finished versions within hours after launch! 😲 And whether you are just starting with knits or are a seasoned pro, this pattern features a variety of edge finishes that will help you level up your knit sewing skills: sleeve and neck bands, clean finished binding on the cutout top, and wrapped binding on the square neckline.
So . . . which variation will you be making first?
Camille, October 31 2022
That’s for two-way/horizontal stretch. Vertical stretch is nice to have and would generally make the garment more comfortable, but it’s not needed. Be mindful that if your fabric has a lot of vertical stretch it’ll also need to have good recovery and/or not be too heavy if you want to make the dress version, otherwise the weight of the skirt might pull the waistline seam down more than you’d like.
Kathryn, November 4 2022
Thank you so much for your warning in response to Hana’s question! That’s something I haven’t always paid attention to and have ended up with dresses that are a bit too bouncy, with seamlines dragged out of proportion.
Do you have recommendations for how much stretch percentage along the grainline/vertical stretch percentage is too much?
Sylvie, November 8 2022
Unfortunately, it is more a combination of horizontal stretch + vertical stretch + weight + recovery than vertical stretch solely. For instance, a 100% (or more) vertical stretch fabric could even work, if it is light and nervous!
If you’re in doubt with a piece of fabric from your stash, you can try to put it on you, with a pin at the level of your neck, and another one at the level of your waistline. Hold the whole piece of fabric on you at your shoulders, and then check if the weight doesn’t lower the waistline pin too much for your taste 🙂
Karen O, November 3 2022
I love the grey dress in the lower right hand corner – but I can’t quite figure out which options were used to put it together! Help!
Karen Provost, November 3 2022
I too love that gray dress that Karen O commented about and am a little confused too. Which fabric was used because it’s gorgeous!
Sylvie, November 4 2022
The collage featuring the grey dress is our moodboard for this pattern: it’s composed of inspirational pictures that are not directly related to Orage.
Hana, October 31 2022
When you say 60% stretch, is that two-way or four-way?