A Review of the Belladone Dress PDF Pattern by Deer & Doe.
I made a muslin of the Belladone Dress a few years ago using some cotton fabric from the remnants section of my local fabric store in Limassol. The fit was good but I found the fabric a bit too stiff so have never worn it. I tried it on again recently and really liked the design. It has a flattering fit because of the waistband and skirt shape. I also enjoy the way that the back of Version A has been drafted to have an opening.
... cinched at the waist, with an A-line skirt and diagonal pockets. Version A features a back cutout, and version B has a plain back.
I knew that I wanted to make the Belladone Dress using some recently purchased fabric from Loris Textiles. I've bought this stretch cotton a few times as they have a few different colour ways in stock. It is lovely to work with but has a small amount of stretch which makes it very wearable. Recommended fabric for the Belladone Dress is linen, denim, chambray, etc. I thought I could get away with making my second Belladone in the same size as my muslin even though my fabric has a bit of stretch with the hope it would be a more comfortable wear.
I decided to make Version A of the Belladone Dress again because it just makes it a more interesting garment to construct and wear. The back cross-over cut-out design is the first step you complete and its actually very straightforward - the diagrams in the instructions are particularly clear and helpful.
The armholes and neckline are finished with binding. I found the instructions very unclear for the binding. What type (double or single fold)? What width? The instructions advise you to sew the binding to the armhole using the centre of the bias tape as your seam allowance but bias tape comes in different widths! I made my own binding from the main fabric because I didn't have any in my stash that was the right colour. I started with strips 2" wide and pressed them in half and sewed to the armhole with a 3/8" seam allowance. I then trimmed the raw edges to 1/4" and turned the binding to the inside and topstitched. I think that I made the binding too wide and they needed a really good steam to lay flat but the overall finish is neat enough.
Once that I had attached the waistband I tried the bodice of the Belladone Dress on to check fit. I felt that the waist was a bit too low. There are no fitting guidelines in the instructions and no indication of where to shorten or lengthen the pattern pieces. I had sewed the waistband to the bodice with a 5/8" seam allowance per the instructions but ended up taking another 3/4" seam allowance on top of that to raise the waistband. This means that the waistband is narrower than the intended design but I am happy with the outcome.
The slanted pockets are a great feature of the Belladone Dress. They sit on the front rather than being inseam so lay nice and flat, they are also a really good size. The instructions for the pocket construction are really clear and I'm very happy with how the pockets look and function.
The Belladone Dress is fastened with an invisible zip centre back. I don't make many garments that require zips so I always have to remind myself of the best technique. I have found the YouTube video entitled 'A Smart Sewing Technique for an Imperceptible Zipper' by Threads Magazine and Kenneth D. King to be the best way. I have tried many different methods and although Kenneth's is the most time consuming it gives the most accurate results, especially when you have to match up waistband seams. Kenneth demonstrates how he uses a tool called a hemostat which is a medical clamp to pull the zip pull out of the way but I use a loop turner instead.
Overall, I am happy with my finished Belladone Dress. It's a comfortable fit and I love the design. If I make another version I will try to shorten the bodice rather than the waistband and perhaps use narrower binding.
Final Thoughts: When Covid-19 lockdown is over you will find me at the beach side wine bar in my Belladone Dress!