Deer&Doe: A Blue Belladone

Deer & Doe Belladone 1


My goodness, what a crazy January it’s been. You know, the kind where you look up and by some magical occurence it’s practically the end of Febuary? Ha!

I was seduced by the Belladone at January’s Social Sewing (thanks to Helen’s rockin’ red robe, and Amanda’s polka-dot version), and decided to drop all my existing sewing plans to knock it up. For a such a nice easy and simple pattern I screwed up numerous times – chalk it down to my non-sewing life being overly demanding at the moment and having less brain capacity for sewing as a result.

Deer & Doe Belladone 2

My finest Belladone moments:
– Toiling in non-stretch calico and sewing with stretch cotton. DUH. I had to deal with major gape-age at the back and due to the pattern design, the centreback seam had to take the fallout.
 – I thought I was being smart when I decided to add facings to the back to clean up the zip finish. That totally backfired when I realised I had to take in the centre back seam.
 – I initially raised the neckline. I then decided, AFTER hand sewing on the silk chiffon bias binding that it was too high, and had to rip that off, cut it back down and hand sew the binding on again.
 – Sewing with silk chiffon. The baddest boy of the fabric world (and probably why I always want it). I proceed to promise myself I will never sew with silk chiffon ever again. Also, Chiffon was NOT destined to be bias binding.
 – Realise the next-in-line in my sewing queue demands a silk chiffon ruffle.  *head-desk*.

Belladone muslin zip finish
The zip finishing on my toile, as per Deer & Doe instructions. Hmm.
Deer & Doe Belladone 8
Avec Facing. Much nicer. (and the scene of the centre-back seam crime)
Deer & Doe Belladone 6
My favourite kind of seam finishing!
Deer & Doe Belladone 7
Killer seam matching and pretty pockets on the inside

Somewhere in amongst all that I got so frustrated at my lack of progress I started and finished sewing an entirely different project (appearing soon at a blog post near you).

The one thing that I do really love about this dress is the combo of fabrics – the blue stretch cotton sateen (shiny side to the inside) I bought in Buenos Aires last year, and some digitally printed silk chiffon from Tessuti which I used at the back and at the waist-band pieces for contrast. The silk kinda reminds me of that short-lived fashion craze of the galaxy print. From looking at the back of me in these photos though it looks like I may need to fix up some of that chiffon binding. 

Deer & Doe Belladone 5

I cut a straight size 44 – which of course meant I needed to take it in at the waist, a usual thing I have to do when I’m too lazy to grade between sizes when I’m tracing it off. Silly really, because it takes twice as long to adjust a calico pattern than it does to make the changes at the tracing stage. Proof that shortcuts at the start end up making the journey longer?

Deer & Doe Belladone 4

I haven’t heard anything specifically, but Deer & Doe clearly draft for a C cup, because the bodice darts of this dress fit me really well. No pooching or excess fabric at my arm – impressive! I won’t say perfectly though, because I was taught that bust darts should always point towards your bust point (just a politically correct way of saying nipple) but finish an inch or so before the actual point. I know this kind of theory can be a grey area and not everyone adheres to it – but these darts are a little odd. The dart coming from the side seam goes up and across my bust point, and points to my armpit rather than my bust point. Ok, so my boobs doesn’t sit as high as they did prior to gravity and I becoming mortal enemies, but hey. The dart coming from the waist band stops bang on my bust point. A google image search for ‘belladone robe’ shows this occurs on most everyone whose made it, so I know it’s not just my physiology that’s a factor. Yeah, I could have adjusted this… but I wanted a new dress, and I wanted it NOW.

That’s really my only quibble though,, so it’s not that bad really. I took the chance to clean up the insides with some petersham ribbon at the waistband.

All in all, I don’t mind this dress. I like it a whole lot more when I catch the back of it on a reflective surface – it reminds me how funky this dress is :)

Deer & Doe Belladone 3

The Stats:
00:35  Pattern Preparation (tracing/draft changes)
04:20  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
01:35  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing)
10:45  Sewing
17:15  hours

Fabric Utilisation = 1.8m + 0.5m
Stash total now = 96.2m (Goal = 50m)



  1. this is beautiful, and that blue looks great on you!! i love your seam finishes. since owning a serger, the number of times i've bothered with fancy seam finishes is almost nil. and i'm just a wee bit jealous that you're standing outside in a sundress… i could totally use a warm day!

  2. Such a beautiful colour! Love the contrasting fabrics and the perfect details – Wow!! See what you mean about the bust darts… but regardless the fit is perfect and this dress looks adorable on you. And ugh ugh ugh…chiffon…ugh. You did a damn good job of that!

  3. Thanks Lisa! I keep telling myself, oneday I'll buy a serger/overlocker… but then I kinda enjoy the seam binding process, even if it does chew up my available sewing time. Looking at it makes me smile :) Come to Melbourne – we've just had 14 days in a row over 30 degrees (86F) – it's been a glorious summer! Your turn will come soon though ;)

  4. That bloody chiffon. I can't believe I still actually want to sew with it after this experience! But thank you :) The bust darts may not be perfect, but the end justifies the means in this case I think!

  5. Lovely dress. The back is very funky indeed. The blue looks lovely at you. I love the contrasting fabrics – such a nice unique touch. I felt frustrated just ready about your list of frustrations – we've all been there so I feel your pain. Great end result though.

  6. As everyone else has commented, this is a lovely dress and great for those hot days we seem to be getting all the time in Australia. Add gumboots and it will be perfect for QLD!! I am so impressed with your inside the dress skills. All is so neat and beautifully finished. My sewing teacher back in the very early 70s would have put you on a pedestal for all of us mere girls to aspire to. Once again, you should be very proud of your dress.

  7. Loving the Belladone! I've finished one version, but haven't really worn it because it attracts so much cat hair and lint (in my case, mostly cat hair!), so I need to get going on a new one. I had the same fitting issue you did in the back, so I e-mailed Eleonore for advice. She suggested that I interface the back pieces, so I'm going to give that a go on my next one. Hopefully that will minimize the back gaping!Thanks for your comment the other day BTW. It was appreciated :)

  8. I like your version a lot! I noticed the same weird thing with the bust darts when I made Belladonna for a friend, so I moved the dart a bit lower etc. Nice fabric combination!

  9. There are some great details in the dress…the pockets look very sleek and the back is obviously the sand out feature. Thanks for posting this…this pattern company is new to me.

  10. Great color and beautiful dress on you! The details are lovely!I think Anne Hathaway's Oscar dress is THE cautionary tale about bust darts ending before the bust point. At least for me it is. Your darts look fine. Chiffon – can you cut your next project on the bias? It really helps with the fraying.

  11. I had *exactly* the same kind of January – in fact, I still keep thinking it's January when in fact it's basically March! I can also relate to the want-it-now leading to sad ripping and doing-over… but it did turn out great. I love the back too, it's so cool!

  12. Bring on the Belladone, Lara. Great idea on the interfacing – I'll remember that if I ever make this again. Thanks! And I really hope you're in a better head space now :)

  13. Couldn't agree more. It was Gwyneth Paltrow all over again. She looked…. saggy? It was bad!!I'll keep that chiffon tip in mind – I'm going to try using some corn starch as a stabiliser. Apparently it washes straight out! Thanks :)

  14. This blue accentuates even more your blue eyes! You've done such a neat job on finishing seams! *clap* *clap* *clap* I gotta plans for this pattern as well; urrggg I wish I had more free time!

  15. I agree with most of the comments that this shade of blue looks great on you! I am also impressed by the finishing you did on the inside of the dress. Did you use that ribbon-like seam binding? When I made mine the only finishing I did was adding a waistband on the inside from the same material as my pocket lining.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s