Oh noes, you guys – I’m running out of fabric from the huge haul I bought at Mood in NYC. Can you believe it? I only have two pieces left! What happened! WHEN DO I GET TO RESTOCK?
I am happy to say that the striped cotton I bought finally found a home in a new dress. Yay!
I actually had different plans for this fabric, but then Eléonore sent me the Belladone dress pattern and my plans immediately changed. Stripes are PERFECT for this dress – you have so many fun stripey placement options! And y’all know how much I love playing with stripe direction ;)
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am with how this dress turned out. Sometimes when I’m going crazy with my stripe (or plaid, for that matter) directions, I start to wonder if I’m going to end up with a giant clusterfuck in the end. Fortunately, I think this one turned out pretty perfect – there’s plenty of interest, but it won’t make you dizzy if you stare at it too long!
My Belladone is a size 34, with no alterations except a few tucks at the back to get it to lie flat (I’ll talk more about that in a minute). I went with the invisible bias trim – which is topstitched in white – as I didn’t want a bunch of contrast competing with the stripes. The upper back pieces are cut on the cross grain because I liked that stripe placement better, and the waistband is cut in four pieces on the bias, and then pieced together. I also interfaced the waistband because I was afraid the bias would distort over time – it’s pretty fitted. Otherwise, the dress is basically sewn straight out of the envelope -length and all!
I love this dress! Look, it has pockets!
And a cool back cut-out!
The stripes made some cool chevrons down the sides, ha.
This is a fairly simple pattern to make, but be warned that the back may take a little finessing to get a perfect fit. You want it to lie perfectly flat – no gaping! I’ve noticed that most reviews tend to not need any adjusting, so I think I may be a bit of a rarity in needing it – I also have a pretty small back (I wear a 30 band, fyi), so most stuff is big on me anyway.
I made a muslin of the bodice – zipper and all – and pinned out the excess at the upper back when I tried it on. Obviously, this is kind of difficult to do without assistance – but it’s totally doable, I mean, I did it. I just kind of eyeballed it, took the top off, pinned at my guesstimate, and tried it on. Over and over (ok, it was like twice, haha). A dressform would be helpful for this, but mine has a bigger back than I do sooo I had to do it the hard way. Anyway, once I pinned out my excess (and then sewed up tiny darts and tried it on a final time), I measured the amount I needed to take out.
(Also, I just realized I was drinking out of an American Pride coffee mug while working on a French pattern. lolz.)
To make the adjustment to your pattern (since you don’t want darts in that piece, you want it nice and smooth), just slash right up the middle of the piece and leave a little hinge. Overlap the edges by however much you need to take out (I think mine was 1/4″, not much) and then tape it down. Make sure the line is smooth and straight, and you’re done!
I also ended up overlapping the upper back pieces an additional 1/2″, as well as taking about 1/4″ out of the center back seam (along the zipper).
The back looks pretty good, though, yeah?
Ignore the lump at the waist of the zipper, I had a lot of bulk there, so the zipper doesn’t want to lie flat! Wah!
Oh, and check out my new necklace! This is from ChatterBlossom, my newest sponsor! Jamie has some of the prettiest reclaimed vintage pieces I’ve come across (and enviable hair to boot, I mean, ugh, that’s EXACTLY what I wanted mine to do when I cut it short!!), and I love that she gives each of them a story. I picked a couple of pieces from her shop – and that was hard, there are soo many things in there that I need – and I am so happy with what I got. This necklace is Egyptian, circa 1880-1918. I’ve really gotten sucked into Egyptian history lately (the pyramids! Nefertiti! The Spinx! Aliens!! lol just kidding on that last one :P), so I’m really excited about this little treasure. Fair warning: I’ve worn this every day since I received it, and I don’t plan on taking it off. You’ll be seeing this necklace a lot, jsyk.
Anyway, back to Belladone…
Even though my bias tape is invisible from the outside, I still wanted it to be pretty – so I used polka dot bias tape :) I used the bias tape left over from my Blue Lace Robson (and I still have more of this stuff, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving haha). I also faced the waistband with a piece of navy cotton sateen (also from that same lace coat, gah), since I didn’t want the interfacing all up in my biz. Unfortunately, the sateen is a bit heavy, which is why the zipper is lumpy at the waistline. Oh well, live and learn!
Oh god, ignore that rogue navy thread on the upper back btw.
I’m pretty happy with how this dress turned out – it’s fabulous on it’s own, and I think the navy stripes will also look good with different colors, such as yellow and kelly green. The dress is perfect for bike riding, even if it does give me a funny tan line ;) Ha! Worth it :)