Completed: A Belladone for Bicycling

9 Sep

Ok, time to confess something really dorky: I’ve been looking for the perfect bicycle-print fabric for years now. It’s actually become something of an obsessive manhunt – trying to avoid the quilting cottons, the cruisers and penny farthings, the hideous color combinations. You’d think with bicycles being these super cutesy Pinterest-approved photo prop (forreal, I’m sick of looking at pictures of people using their bikes as props! Ride that shit already!), there would be a bigger selection of this type of print. You’d think. I never found it, though.


bicycle fabric

Isn’t this biciclette fabric adorable?? It’s from Bubiknits‘ shop on Spoonflower. I’ve always wanted to try my hand with a piece of Spoonflower fabric – but honestly, every time I try to browse the choices, I get overwhelmed with so many options. And I’m not gonna try to design my own because, ha, no. Let’s just not even discuss. So when Giusy emailed me and asked if I would like a couple of yards of any fabric from her shop as a gift, I immediately zeroed in on that bicycle print in organic cotton sateen. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, except that it would be a dress.

Bicycly Belladone

A Belladone, to be exact!

Bicycly Belladone

I should apologize in advance for how bad these pictures ended up. Turns out white doesn’t photograph too well in bright sunlight. Who woulda thought? Just imagine the bicycles and we will get to the close-ups soon enough.

Bicycly Belladone

Obviously, this ain’t my first Belladone rodeo. That stripey dress is actually 100% the reason why I decided to make my bicycle dress with the same pattern – it is my favorite dress to cycle in! It’s very comfortable, the skirt is the perfect width needed for riding (but not so floofy that it causes wardrobe malfunctions) and I like to think that it’s pretty enough that it makes the Mary Poppins Effect a reality on my commute. Plus, the dress is finished with bias tape – visible or invisible – which I thought would provide a nice contrast against the white/yellow of the main fabric. As much as I love the colorway, it unfortunately washes me out, so I needed something a little darker to sit next to my face.

Bicycly Belladone

I can’t really say I started this dress with any real direction in mind. Originally, I wanted the contrast to be turquoise, but when I actually got the fabrics side-by-side, I didn’t like the look of the two colors together… too light for my tastes. Navy seemed like the perfect choice (and yes – that’s navy. I know it looks black, but it’s navy.). I used leftover navy cotton sateen from my lace trench (I swear, that fabric… it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. I STILL HAVE MORE OF IT, TOO) and made a few yards of bias tape to enclose all the edges along the top of the dress. I actually applied all this bias tape by hand, so the stitches would be invisible. I think it adds a bit of polish to the overall effect, even if it did mean making this dress took twice as long. I also applied a strip of interfacing to each diagonal edge, as well as staystitching, to make sure the edges don’t get distorted over time.

Bicycly Belladone

Of course, taking a light dress and adding dark trim to the bodice meant that the thing ended up looking top-heavy. I added more dark contrast to the waistband, as well as a couple of inches above the hem, which I think ties the dress together. To finish, I added 2 self-covered buttons at the center front.

Bicycly Belladone

It’s so perfect, I could marry it.

Bicycly Belladone

And the back! Don’t you love the back!?

Bicycly Belladone

One more picture, sorry πŸ™‚

Bicycly Belladone

Here you can see the bicycles! Aren’t they sweet πŸ™‚

Bicycly Belladone

Since I’d already made this pattern before, I didn’t need to make any major modifications (other than the aforementioned contrast additions). I did sew the side seams at the waist with a 1/2″ seam allowance (instead of the pattern’s 5/8″); I noticed that my stripey dress can get a little tight if I’ve eaten a lot of food, so an extra bit of wiggle room is appreciated πŸ™‚

Bicycly Belladone

I also pressed the pleats so they were centered over the stitching lines (instead of pressed to one side). This gives them more of a box-pleat look, as opposed to a soft tuck.

Bicycly Belladone

Can you see the stitching on the outside, huh, can you? NEITHER CAN I!

Bicycly Belladone

Bicycly Belladone

The inside waistband is faced with more bicycles πŸ™‚ And yay, yellow zipper!

Bicycly Belladone

Sewing that strip of navy around the bottom was super easy. I sewed on my hem facing as usual, then centered the seam binding over the stitching and stitched it down on both sides.

Bicycly Belladone

Working with this fabric was an absolute dream – and wearing it is even better πŸ™‚ I know Spoonflower’s fabrics tend to skew toward the pricey side, but this is some good stuff – organic cotton sateen with the subtlest sheen, the colors are rich and saturated, and it’s very easy to sew and press. Plus, the design choices! Gah!

Bicycly Belladone

Thank you again, Giusy, for the amazing fabric! If anyone was wondering… yes, I have taken this dress for a bike ride, and yes, it was a little magical πŸ˜‰

One last thing – and I swear, it’s important – I just heard through the grapevine that Colette Patterns is running in second place in the Martha Stewart American Made Competition. The #1 spot is currently being held by a scrapbooking company, boo! If you’ve got a minute to spare, go vote for them (you can login with your Facebook if you’re lazy like me, and you do not have to be a US resident to cast a vote!). Colette Patterns will be dumping the entire $10k prize back into their employees as bonuses, which is pretty fucking amazing and I think totally deserving of winning. Plus, do we really want to see them get beat out by a scrapbooking company? NOPE!

Go forth and vote! Every little checkmark counts πŸ˜‰


68 Responses to “Completed: A Belladone for Bicycling”

  1. Jo September 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    It’s so cute! I really like the back feature. The bias tape really highlights those lines. It’s really pretty on you (as usual) πŸ™‚

  2. sewcharleston September 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    This dress is the most AWESOME dress you’ve made yet! I LOVE it! I just made a belladone ( and it is sooo boring compared to yours! Did the cotton sateen wrinkle?

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Not too bad! I mean, I get wrinkles from sitting on it all day, but it’s not like linen where just looking at it makes it a wrinkled mess πŸ™‚

  3. Helen September 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Love this, it’s so cute and the navy really makes it! I find Spoonflower completely overwhelming so am impressed you found anything there!

  4. makesphere September 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Seriously, I think this is my favourite of your wonderful creations yet. The bicycles…I just can’t even…. and the navy really makes it pop. Simply beautiful!

  5. Jane September 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Oh god I love this dress Lauren! Yup, it’s so perfect I could marry it. x

  6. SeeKatSew September 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Marry the dress. It’s freaking amazing, I am in love with it !

  7. carolinascallin September 9, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    What a fun print! Love it – and the dress is another great addition to your fabulous wardrobe πŸ™‚ Must check out Spoonflower now!

  8. Tia September 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    I love the dress, especially the back detail. Oh and I voted for Colette Patterns. I’m so competitive. We must win!!!

  9. Kat September 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    The bicycles are adorable! I’m hoping to get my hands on the Belladone pattern sometime because I love the dress. There’s a bicycle print silk that I have been eyeing for a while, but it’s just not in my budget at the moment:

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      That’s so pretty! Is it bad that “Shampagne” is making me giggle? πŸ™‚

  10. Susan September 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Aaah this is so perfect! I love prints like this that aren’t even obvious unless you’re looking closely. Lovely work, and the navy trim touches are SPOT ON. I’m curious about how you did your binding — did you machine-stitch to the front, then fold over and hand stitch to the back? It looks incredible.

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Pretty much! I sewed the outside edge down by machine, folded it to the back, and then used an invisible slip stitch to secure it down. It took a while, but it was totally worth it!

  11. Clare September 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Love!!! The black trim on the back detail looks amazing. check this bicycle print.

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Oh, that’s so cool! Little bikey clusters, haha πŸ™‚

  12. awfully nice September 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Ooh, I LOVE this! I’m on my second Belladone and this one of yours is my favorite of all I’ve seen. I’m also starting to realize the possibilities with contrasting bias tape and I LOVE what you did with it here!

  13. Janey September 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm #


  14. annekecaramin September 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    That’s so cute! I made a dress covered in bicycles last year, and with a spoonflower print as well (it was easy enough to modify one of my own scribbles)… How is yours holding up in the wash? I looked up my original post on it and was sad to see that the green has faded a lot since then, even with cold hand washing 😦

    • June September 10, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      Spoonflower recommends a no-phosphate detergent (I thought I read somewhere that phosphate makes colors fade faster), but none of their colors appear to remain vivid if washed repeatedly (eg, clothing). I’ve long hesitated to buy Spoonflower yardage because Teh Internets are sprinkled with comments/complaints about general fading – OK if you like the vintagey look, but not great if you want bright colors.

      • annekecaramin September 11, 2013 at 5:45 am #

        It’s because it’s a digital print, so the dyes don’t react with the fabric the way a traditional print would… For now I just don’t think the price is worth it when you’d use the fabric for dressmaking! I’m about to learn how to silkscreen my own yardage of fabric with my own designs, so that should be awesome… Creating photographic prints is out of the question, but my own illustrations are definitely possible!

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Well, I only finished it last weekend so I haven’t had a chance to wash it yet. That’s no good about the color fading, yikes! Your dress is BEAUTIFUL though, and I love the print you created!

  15. Sarah W. September 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Looooooooooove it!

  16. Shannon September 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Ah, I love this! I love Spoonflower and there’s so many designs that I’ve considered ordering, especially since they have organic cotton! My only hesitation is the price… so I’ll have to save it for some special project.

    This dress, though, is amazing. I love all the bias trim and the buttons!

  17. lisa g September 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    i swear, every dress you make is my new favorite of yours! so cute! love the fabric, and the trim is a great touch.

  18. artgirlrachel September 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Seriously. Freakin’. Adorable.

  19. ShanniLoves September 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    You are right, its.fucking.perfect.

  20. Carolyn September 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    I really like the dark contrast! It is the perfect accompaniment to the dress! Fantastic job! Lovely dress!

  21. Zarah September 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    I’ve been looking for bike fabric for a long time, too–this one is great! Love love love the dress–everything about it seems just right. The navy trim really makes it.

  22. Juliet September 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    This is so cute! The black contrast is just so pretty!

  23. Gjeometry September 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    I am going to marry this dress first Dibs! I love it. It still reminds me of a very posh tennis dress.

  24. Maggie Cawthorn September 10, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Such a stylish dress. I’m a beginner and just had a disaster with a hem, how do you do yours?

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      This particular one was faced and topstitched, but I generally prefer giving them a nice wide allowance (2″-4″) with a machine-stitched strip of lace or seam binding at the top, and then handstitched invisibly.

  25. Kimmie September 10, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    So you know how when you’ve never heard of something before, you suddenly hear about it 39x in one day…well that happened. I’ve heard of spoon flower never until this AM and since, I’ve come across it several times without seeking it out. Crazy. Anyway, I love the spoonflower patterns!! So much choice. So graphic and pretty. I know I’m no Lladybird but I can make pillows so I’m thinking of all the cute pillows I could make with the fabrics. It’ll probably turn me into one or those obnoxious people with 30 decorative pillows on everything but oh well

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Man, I want decorative pillows on everything too, but I never get around to actually making them. Which is why we should have a pillow party πŸ™‚

  26. Reana Louise September 10, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    Aaaaarg all of these amazing Belladone’s are pushing me over the edge, and now you go ahead and make a BICYCLE one?! The internet’s against me and my teeny, tiny bank account!

  27. aem2 September 10, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    This is fabulous. And I agree that I’d rather see models actually riding their bikes than standing near them.

  28. Elena September 10, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    Ooh, I love the little details on this dress – the navy trim, the buttons… it’s beautiful!

  29. Roisin Muldoon September 10, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    Where I work you can get an interest free bike loan to buy a bike to commute to work, and they take the repayments out of your paycheque. I used to work with a girl who used this to buy the sweetest, girliest bike so she could do that. Like, it had a basket for her cat and streamers on the handlebars and all that, but she didn’t know how to ride a bike. I used to see her walking it to work. Tragic.

    Anyway, reminiscing aside, this is totally awesome as always. I love a themed garment! Good call on the navy sateen, I think it stops this from being too sweet and gives it some edge.

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      Whaaaat, that is so cool! Sounds like you work for a pretty great company πŸ˜‰ That is some dumb shit about that girl though hahahha. Hopefully she at least got some good pictures out of it, yeah? πŸ™‚

  30. ZoSews September 10, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    Oh. my. god. I. love. this. dress. The contrasts are perfect.

  31. Lori September 10, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    That is such a perfect dress, love the contrast of the trim and the dress fabric. Great job.

  32. tillybuttons September 10, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Awesome dress! Amazing fabric, and the black bias tape makes it look chic. x

  33. Carolyn September 10, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    GAHHHH! SOOOOO CUTE!!! This totally makes me want to fix my Belladone pattern and try another one right now! Now I want it to be summer for just one more month! The line of bias on the skirt just sets the whole thing off, I’m totally copying that idea – imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, right? The fabric print is beyond darling, too.

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      It sure is! Copy away!! πŸ™‚

  34. gingermakes September 10, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Really cute! Honestly, I think this is my favorite pattern ever– every single version I see of it makes me love it more!

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      It might be my favorite pattern, too! Don’t forget that you’re the one who inspired me to want it in the first place πŸ™‚ So thank you for that, ha!

  35. Michelle September 10, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    The devil is in the details! And, the contrast on this dress definitely takes it from pretty to pretty awesome. Nicely done.

  36. zilredloh September 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Oooh I love it! The black accents really work wonderfully with the bicycle print.

  37. sorbetsurprise September 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Lovely dress, I really want that pattern now! Have you seen this? Cycling elephants!

    • LLADYBIRD September 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Dear lord, that’s adorable!

  38. Kim September 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Beautiful Belladone! I love how you added the trim to the bottom part, and great tip on how to do that! I wore mine to work today and it is such an amazing pattern!
    I’ve been voting everyday for Colette, really hope they’ll win!

  39. Jeanneeanne September 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Yes, I’m voting for Colette Patterns! Everyone else who commented should get on the bandwagon, too! Vote every day, six times a day, until September 22. She can win with our help.

    • Jeanne September 10, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      And, I forgot to say how much I love this dress!

  40. Funkbunny September 11, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    Cycling and a Belladone, two of my most favourite things in one post. Awesome. the band round the bottom is inspired.

    I just finished a tiger print version here:

    Love this pattern and both your versions of it!

  41. angela September 11, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    I ordered my Belladone pattern and I am on my way to order my Bella Jean pattern. I will have to make them in some transitional fabric so I get the chance to wear them before the season changes on me πŸ™‚ Love both your dresses so much and want to make them both. You inspired to make me order way too many patterns in the last few days!!! Good thing my kids are back in school so I will have time to sew them up…

    Love this Belladone…so super cute its ridiculous!!!

  42. vinthillvintage September 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Before I read through the whole post I saw that you were searching for the perfect print in an apparel fabric and I was about to jump right to the comments to suggest spoonflower. Glad you found it! I keep lusting over all the designs and the possibilities make me drool but that price tag gives me a major reality check.
    Love the way you wear the Belladone. It’s fantastic! I don’t think I could pull off that opening in the back like you do but it’s fun to admire it from afar.
    BTW, I finally started my own blog after lurking around and following you forever wanting to be you for a day (year) just so I can wear your awesome clothes! Drop by and visit me.

  43. Birgit September 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Beautiful dress! I really like the contrast of the navy trims!

  44. theknittingarchaeologist September 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Absolutely amazing! Love the bicycles and the trim. Sigh. I really want to make this, but they don’t carry my size. Like the hips are off by a good 6 inches 😦

  45. Becca September 12, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    The navy and yellow combo looks so good on you. You always make the most adorable dresses! That print is perfect. Doesn’t it feel so good when you’ve been looking for just the right fabric for so long and you finally find it?! The strip of navy around the bottom is the perfect touch; I love how it echoes the binding and buttons up top.

  46. Stephanie September 14, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    What a great job on this. I love the navy and yellow. Although I never would have considered wearing a cut-out before you are convincing me! Really pretty and beautiful sewing. PS I actually own a bicycle dress, but it’s faded red silk with black bicycles and I bought it a few years ago instead of making it. πŸ™‚

  47. Kimberly September 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    ugh that back, i want it so badly…. so perfect every time! must eke out time to try it!
    super cute fabric, too!

  48. MSkiKnits September 9, 2014 at 7:24 am #

    As I was reading today’s post I wandered to this one — late, but only by a year… and you know what? I may be reading this a year after everyone else, but this dress is still right on! So much so I have a tab up for another window with the pattern in my cart. Love love love the contrast bits. Clever and beautiful! Well done! No matter what year this is now!


  1. Completed: the Meissa Blouse | LLADYBIRD - February 28, 2014

    […] but the bicycle print really haunts me. I’ve seen some cute little stylized bikies (see my Bicycley Belladone for an example), but I was holding out for that literal […]

  2. Completed: Chevron’d Ginger Skirt | LLADYBIRD - April 4, 2014

    […] yeah, I used the bicycle fabric left over from this dress to face the inside of the waistband. It’s a cute little […]

  3. MMM14 Week Three | KristiCraft - May 22, 2014

    […] I’m going to wait to post more about this dress until I can make another one, cause I frickin’ love it (mostly); but I will say thatΒ when I searched the pattern to linkΒ to, HAHA there’s those prop bikes Lauren hates! […]

  4. Completed: Vogue 8664 | LLADYBIRD - June 27, 2014

    […] used it multiple times on multiple garments (including my lace trench, these Maritime shorts and this Belladone. And I STILL have more of this fabric! Man, that shit is […]

  5. Tribute august: who inspires Joanne? | Sewcialists - August 11, 2014

    […] so we have that in common. What is your favourite make by your favourite blogger? Lladybird: A Belladone for Bicycling (if any of you read my blog, you’ll know I’ve already made 3 Belladones and I’m not […]

Yay, comments!

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: