Saturday, April 5, 2014

Partly upcycled Belladone

Ok, this is not totally made using recycled fabric. But it's cute. It's a Belladone dress by French designers Deer and Doe.  

The blue fabric came from my Mum's stash and the binding I made myself using strips cut from a shirt from one of the Yass op shops. It was a lovely blue green colour but hideously ugly, with 'Fiji' printed across it in several places. Sorry, no photo!

Here's the back view. It has a really interesting back neckline with overlapped sections (which I overlapped the wrong way: sssshhh!)

A close up of the binding. This was the first time I used a Clover bias binding maker for this job, and it does save a lot of burnt fingertips and time, though I had so many joins in the strips that it was a major pain in the bi-as to pull them through.

This was the first dress that I actually made a muslin for, as it looked pretty tricky to fit. I was right to do it, as I had to lengthen the bodice and widen the waistband. Unfortunately I didn't fit the back too well, so on this version, I had to add four extra darts to the upper back to stop it gaping. You can see two of them in the closeup below (the ones that angle 45 degrees to the zip). The other two are hidden under the overlapped section, so it was lucky in the end, that I stuffed up there and did the overlap back to front!

Although I bothered to unpick the binding and zip when I did the visible darts above, I was too lazy to unpick the binding from the second lot of hidden darts. So, they are slightly bodgy. However, my extra darts did not prevent me from taking out FIRST prize at the Gunning Show. Yes, you read correctly. First prize, and I am not telling you how many other entries were in that class...  

I do like this dress, but the pattern instructions, translated from their original French, were not the most user-friendly I have seen. There was no mention of how to finish the zip at the top, for example, which was tricky, as the binding is added before the zip. I emailed the pattern designer and they just said to cut the top of the zipper straight across. That seemed highly dubious to me. I ended up folding the ends over and sewing into the binding when I replaced it. So thanks to Lauren from Lladybird and Jo from Bubula, who have both made this dress and gave me advice on finishing the zip.


  1. Hi Kathy, I've been meaning to comment for ages on your lovely Belladone, you did a great job on it! And as for the gaping back, I think almost everyone has had that problem with this pattern. On my last one I modified the pattern a bit and also pulled the back shoulder pieces together a bit more. Also I put the pieces the wrong way on one of mind too but I don't think if matters :-)

  2. Thanks Jo! And thanks for being the first person to comment on my blog, too ;) What you don't really see in the photo is the well-placed scorch mark from the final pressing, right on the waistline...what a bummer! So I haven't actually worn it, worse luck.