Belladone in nightshade…

Deer and Doe BelladoneI have been planning a Deer and Doe Belladone dress for a while after seeing so many lovely versions around – my favourites are Anna at Paunett’s spotty version and Lynne at Ozzy Blackbeard’s amazing wax print version.

I actually got this pattern way back in May and there have been several fabrics I was going to use but somehow I didn’t get started over the summer. Instead this is my first official autumn make (though when I went to get photos it was an incredibly sunny afternoon so there isn’t a real autumn vibe yet apart from a few dead leaves..)

The fabric is some kind of linen mix – I initially thought it was green but it is actually somewhere between a murky dark green and dark grey. The fabric is on the crisp side rather than soft and I am not sure what the mix actually is. I think it worked well for this pattern though? The pattern doesn’t include a lining but I just recut the skirt and waistband pieces in a grey satiny lining. The waistband isn’t faced in the original instructions so including a lining gives a cleaner finish inside.

Deer and Doe BelladoneAs this was my first time using a Deer and Doe pattern (except for my various Plantains) I made a complete muslin using an old cotton duvet cover. I initially cut a 40 at the shoulders and bust grading out to a 42 at the waist and hips. The muslin worked out pretty well. I ended up taking a small dart shape out of the shoulder pieces as described by Lauren at Lladybird here to make sure they lie flat. I also moved the bust darts down about an inch and shortened them slightly. I could have reduced the length of the waist darts as well but when I tried that it left a bit of excess fabric under the bust so I stayed with the slightly longer dart. After making the muslin I found I didn’t need to grade out to a 42 so I trimmed the pattern back to 40 all round. You can see on some of the pictures below that I have some pulling where the sleeve edges are a bit tight. I am not absolutely sure how to resolve this – maybe just curve the armscye in a bit more? There is also a little bit of gape at the neckline that I need to get rid of.

Deer and Doe BelladoneI was slightly confused by making the pleats – I know it isn’t at all difficult to make pleats but I can never visualise where the folds should end up. Luckily Samantha at Millydodo had the same problem and posted a picture of her mistake  – this really helped me to work out where the pleat edges should be so I was saved from unpicking!

Deer and Doe BelladoneI used a ready-made bias binding which was black poly cotton (and smelled of very evil chemicals when I pressed it with a too hot iron – mmmm). I didn’t want the contrast edging look so I turned the binding completely under. I tried machine stitching it down but I didn’t love how that looked so I ended up handstitching it all down which was time consuming (two shoulder pieces and both armscyes!). I didn’t stabilise the back bodice pieces which I probably should have done, will have to see whether they start to stretch out or not..

I did keep the pockets – I am really not a huge fan of pockets in general. I know lots of people love them and add them into patterns if they aren’t there but as someone with a definite pear shape I have always steered clear of any extra bulk in this area and I would never use pockets. But I did add the pockets and I found I liked putting my hands in them!

Deer and Doe BelladoneOverall I am really pleased with my dress and I love the flared skirt shape. I think it will get a lot of wear into autumn and winter since the lining means I can wear it with tights when the time comes! Autumn sewing has started and I am switching to darker, stronger colours – more to come soon!

Have you started sewing for autumn yet or are you holding out for a bit more summer?

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Lynne says:

    This is gorgeous! Isn’t Belladone such a great pattern? I had problems with the pleats on my first one, I just couldn’t get my head around how they should be sewed, and had to unpick them twice. I love the pockets too, and think that they sit well because the pleats give a pick of extra room in the front of the skirt. Your fabric is lovely, and it will look great with a coloured cardigan, or tights (or both!) in the winter.

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank you! I don’t know why I waited so long to make this – and I have fabric ready for another (when I get through all the other things I want to make next!) I thought I wasn’t a big fan of pleats but they do give room on the skirt without adding volume

      Louise

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  2. Carolyn says:

    Louise, this is a really beautiful dress that I’m sure will get a lot of wear this fall/winter. I love that you lined it for wearing with tights! I do this with all my skirts and dresses now, especially because winter is much longer than summer where I live. 🙂

    The back looks particularly good – you did a great job getting the shoulder pieces to lie flat!

    I have the same 2 recurring problems as you re: armhole opening and neck gaping. I usually cut a lot out of the front armholes (maybe this is a forward shoulder thing?) and take a wedge out of the neckline, rotating it into the bust dart.

    Enjoy your new dress! I really love the rich color.

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank you for the very lovely comment ! I haven’t had neck gaping before – on this dress it looks like hollow chest maybe (which makes me feel a little sad!) I do want to make another so I will fiddle with it more next time

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  3. Your belladone looks gorgeous and this is such a timely post as it is also on my autumn sewing list! The fabric you’ve used really shows off the design lines of the dress. I’ve only tried the plantain before (which is my favourite tee) but I’m curious to see if the other patterns work for my shape.

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank you! This one was easier than I thought and I love the slightly flared skirt shape and the pleats make it easy to wear. I bought datura but haven’t tried it yet . I also really like sureau – considering the new shirt pattern as well! Too many plans and not enough time (or fabric budget!)

      Louise

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  4. Almond Rock says:

    This looks classic and chic! You’re going to wear it to death I can tell 😊

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      Have already worn it to work twice and absolutely love it – more planned!

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  5. I’ve decided that – screw my hips, I love pockets. Although I almost never actually store things in there (that would be terrible for the hips), I just like having my hands in them

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      I do like the pockets on this dress- I don’t know yet if it is enough to make me rethink my pocket aversion in general!

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