fall belladone

This dress is the reason I bought the Belladone pattern… my first one turned out to be the best wearable muslin I’ve ever made (well, that’s sort of a stretch, I did intend it to be a real, live dress too).

IMG_3898 IMG_3899Something about this fabric seemed French to me.  Who knows.  I picked it up from the DC/MD/VA blogger meetup last year.  This dress was supposed to make it the the layaway box, along with the boots, which were in there briefly,  but it is just too perfect for this time of year with the in-between weather.

IMG_3894IMG_3891Rummaging through my inherited stash, I found this coat zipper and loved it.  But it reminded me of something I couldn’t place at first… you know what it is?  This kick-ass dress by Heather Lou that made me discover her blog and her amazing sewing talent.  So maybe I ripped it off of her, but copying is the sincerest form of flattery, AND I’m like several seasons behind, so….  basically, I’m really not as cool as her.

IMG_3895I made the same modifications as with the first one (a 38 top and a 40 bottom), but I think if I was to make it one more time (likely), I will add another inch or two to the bodice.  I’m a little too tall. It was also the first time in a long time that I did not use french seams – I thought the fabric would be too bulky so I just finished with a cheapie zigzag stitch and ironed them flat.

This time around I hid the bias tape because I could not find a good color match and didn’t want contrast on this one.  But I did add a pop of orange inside from my Nonna’s hem tape collection.  I’m nuts about blue and orange.

IMG_3913This one might be a new favorite in the closet…


belladone the first

IMG_3477OKOKOK I’m back.  Why was I gone so long?  That’s how long it took my Stone Age computer to upload these pictures.  Sort of kidding.  Beautiful weather and a fun guy to hang out with got in the way a little too.

Now it is HOT and my man is on the road for a while, so sewing can commence.

And we can pretend that the reason these photos are out of focus is so that they can be… dreamy.


IMG_3484 Yes, wrinkles, crooked skirt, yes, yes, shhhhhhhh……

Who has not seen the Belladone pattern from Deer & Doe and loved it?  Also, it’s very fun to get a package from France.  (Funny story about idealizing Europe:  I get the package and I’m all “see, even the envelopes are cooler in Europe;” I open the envelope and it’s from Office Depot.  What a dork.)

This fabric is from, where else, the $2.99 remnants at G Street.  It did not look like this when I bought it.  It was stiff and the print was bolder and darker.  Then I washed it.  Woops.  Perhaps it was meant to be dry cleaned, but I consider it a happy accident, because now it’s soft and drapey and pastelly (people who know my style are like what?!).

What?!  Yes normally, pastels are not my style, BUT it is the eerie tree graphics that I love.  Closer look?

IMG_3487Very pleased with my placement of the front {pat on back}.  Not pleased with the wrinkles.

What to say about this pattern?

  • I made no technical modifications, but I did cut a size 38 for the top and size 40 for the bottom, according to my measurements, then tapered the waistband to fit both.
  • This fabric was sheer so I had to line the dress.  Given that funky [AWESOME] back opening this was tricky:  I lined the front and the bottom half of the back, but for various reasons I can’t remember, this resulted in sewing the lining into the same seams as the dress, including the zipper and the hem.  Not pretty, but you’re not going to look inside my dress, right?!
  • Uh, I accidentally sewed a pin into my hem, then forgot to remove it before I washed  the dress, and then it made itself a nice little hole to escape through.  Fixing that while I write this post.
  • And I love the hem facing rather than the more common fold-over business.

This is Belladone the First because I have yet to make the Belladone with the fabric I originally bought the fabric for.  This was my most wearable “muslin.”

Oh, another thing.  I have seen different Belladones with the top of the back overlapping the bottom and some with the opposite (like mine).  I chose to do it this way because I didn’t like the way the top gapes when it’s done the other way, but any thoughts for my second one?

i wish i liked this dress better…

…but I don’t.  It’s been a rough couple weeks, thus the lack of sewing and posting, and it seems like this dress is a symptom of all that.  This is Kristen from Burdastyle and it is a cute style with lots of interesting details, but I think the combination of a fabric/print I don’t like and the fit being a little off = frumpy granny dress?


Funny story about this fabric – I got it at The Knittn’ Kitten in Portland, OR (which I love), thinking it was a vintage fabric (I’m such a sucker, I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I knew it was new), and noticed later that the selvadge had a website stamped on it.  I don’t think we’re that old yet.


  • All the darts and pleats in the top that you cannot see because the fabric is too busy, particularly the deep center back pleat, it’s very classy.
  • The plackets down the front if you use a more lightweight fabric.
  • It really is a dress with a lot of potential; I made a size 38 top and 40 bottom and used the waistband to transition the difference (does that make sense, I sat here for like two minutes wondering what the right phrase is?) and I’m happy with… the waistband.

IMG_2938What I learned:

  • Fabric is too busy to see all the pattern details (see above)
  • I have SUCH a hard time with side seam zippers, I just can’t seem to line the fabric up right, it’s wonky, and if you look closely, it just doesn’t sit right along my hip.
  • I wish I had made the top a little more narrow and adjusted the bust.  Others who made this dress said the top was too big and they adjusted it.  When I tried it on repeatedly, I thought it was just the blousy style, but looking at these pictures, I see that it’s too big.  I have a very small bust and I think the lesson learned is that when there are darts, I will inevitably have to make an adjustment (which I don’t know how to do yet!)
  • The collar is too wide in my opinion.
  • Because of the thickness of my placket fabric (leftover from this dress), not only does it not sit nice, but the edges of the front opening don’t press well either, even though I graded the seam allowance.  See:


Initially this dress was fun because of all the details, and one day, far from now, I will try it with adjustments and better materials, but I got SO SICK OF MAKING THIS DRESS that it just dragged on forever.  And of course Burda instructions are so cryptic, so I totally fudged the sleeves and had to redo them, and the collar took a couple tries too.  Neither are terribly complicated, you just to have to read between the lines of the instructions.

I am so out of love with this dress that I can’t be bothered to wash off my fabric pen markings.  So please disregard them in the photo below!


Overall grade:  Eh.