I’ve been sewing a lot of quick and easy projects this past month (staple dress, date night dress, ginger skirt). I felt like I needed to challenge myself with an intermediate pattern this weekend. I decided to give the Belladone dress by Deer and Doe a try. Deer and Doe is a new pattern company for me. They are located in France, so when I found out about them I went ahead and ordered 4 of their patterns. I justified this purchase by saying, “If I’m going to pay for international shipping, I might as well make it worthwhile). So far, I have made the Chardon skirt, which I LOVE! I also purchased a 3/4 sleeve dress called Sureau and the Pavot Jacket. I think I’ll put the rest of the Deer and Doe patterns on my Christmas wish list!
The neck and armholes of this dress are finished with contrasting bias tape. I didn’t really realize this until I had already cut my fabric out and started sewing it together (this is why you should read the directions before getting started). Lucky for me, I picked a fabric that went well with some navy bias tape I had. Imagine all the interesting variations you could do with bias tape for this dress! The fabric is by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery. It’s called Quietude in Dusk and I love it! I purchased it from Hawthorne Threads when I ordered my Amy Butler rayon challis for my Saltspring. I was either going to use it for the Belladone or the Sewaholic Hollyburne. I’m glad I chose it for the Belladone, because I love the navy bias with it. I think it helps make the navy flowers pop.
The skirt of this dress is very similar to the Sewaholic Cambie dress. There are 2 pleats in the front, darts in the back, a belt, and my favorite kind of pockets to sew! For the bodice I cut the 36 and graded out to the 40 for the waist and hips. The bodice fits perfectly! I probably took in a total of an inch at the center zipper to get a good fit at the waist. Now that I’ve worn it, I could have taken it in another 1/2 or so.
The back of this dress is really what the Belladone is ALL about! It’s also what makes this dress a little more intermediate, mainly to fit correctly. A lot of bloggers have mentioned they had a hard time getting the back to lay flat. I had the same issue, but if I stand with good posture it lays perfectly flat! I should really be standing like this all the time anyways so no biggie 🙂
I recommend trying this dress on as you go and having an extra hand to help pin the back. You might have to adjust where it connects at the very top. Taking the dress in at the center zipper also helps. It wouldn’t be as big of a deal that it puckers out when I slouch, if I hadn’t used white thread in my bobbin when I sewed down the bias tape. I barely had any navy tread left and I didn’t feel like making a special trip to pick up more. I wish I would have realized how bad of an idea this was before the dress was complete, but Oh well….good posture for me in this dress!
lladybird has a great post on how she made the back of her Belladone lay flat. She made her dress with very strategically cut stripes and it is AMAZING!
One more thing about the back. This button is not supposed to be here. I put my zipper in too low and I didn’t like how there was a gap at the top and the hook and eye was just pulling it really funny. I tried a million different things to try to fix this. I did not want to have to take the zipper out because it took me forever to match it up at the belt. Soooo….I covered the gap up with this non-functional button. It’s kind of silly, but it looks a lot better than without it!
The extra time the back took is definitely worth it!
The directions suggest sewing bias tape to reinforce the diagonals in the back. I guess this helped, because I think my diagonals look pretty neat and straight.
Another reason you might consider this pattern intermediate it all the matching up of seams, darts, and pleats. Lets count…. skirt pleats to bodice darts in the front, skirts darts to bodice darts in the back, bodice side seams to top of the belt, skirt side seams to the bottom of the belt, and the belt at the zipper. If you count each match up…that’s 10! The Cambie is also similar in this way.
There are few tricks to help make this process easier. If you finish your seams open then you are able to stick your needle straight through one side seam and into the side seam you are matching it to. If you finish your seams together this is not as easy and it’s more likely to shift under the needle. To get your darts and pleats to match with the belt blocking the way in the middle, just draw a line from the dart on the bodice through the belt and pin your skirt dart or pleat onto this line that you drew on the belt. I always sew at the correct seam allowance at each place I need to match up before I sew the 2 pieces together. That way I can check that each place matches and make adjustments as necessary. It’s so much harder to fix if you pin and sew the 2 pieces together and try to fix it after the fact. I also find that if you use a basting stitch to do this that sometimes it will shift when you go back and sew the whole thing at your standard stitch length. I usually go ahead and use the correct stitch length and just don’t back stitch so it’s easier to remove if I need it to.
Piper is patiently waiting for this photo shoot to be done so she can get her daily allowance of squirrel chasing in.
The wait was well worth it! The battery was full of squirrels this morning!
These planter boxes were too pretty not sure share with you!
Piper thought this photo shot was a great opportunity to take a break on our walk back home.