Morning friends, how are you? I'm going to a wedding today wearing this very dress, which I was inspired to make when Sara asked me to join her Dress Up Party! It didn't take me long to settle on Deer and Doe's Belladone Dress, because I'm a sucker for back detail and minimalist skirts that can still accommodate my junk. Truth be told, I can't believe I waited this long to whip up a Belladone...I'm delighted with the result!
The gorgeous stretch cotton was an impulse buy from Barry's in Birmingham when I was out with stitching friends. I cut out a 36 across the neckline, armholes and back, grading to a 38 everywhere else. I always find it a bit tricky to choose a size when finished measurements aren't provided, but my choice worked out well for me, though I suspect I may have needed to grade up for a fabric with less stretch.
Predictably, my favourite part of this dress is the lovely crossover back detail. The edges are finished with bias binding, as are the neckline and armholes, lending this pattern to a whole load of fun with contrasting binding. There are so many fun Belladones out there, but I wanted to keep my version streamlined so I turned my bias binding under and topstitched.
The other thing I love about this pattern is the pleated skirt front. The two big pleats add enough volume to the A-line skirt, without adding unnecessary bulk to the waistline. For extra brownie points, there's pockets too!
Unusually, Belladone comes with a hem facing reminiscent of vintage patterns and rarely seen in contemporary patterns. The finish is fantastic, especially if you hand-pick the raw edge of the facing to the skirt, which I happily took the time to do. Given this luxurious detail, I found it slightly disappointing that the pattern doesn't come with some kind of waistline facing for a tidier finish inside. I know it's simple enough to draft your own, but that's not really the point.
I really, really wanted to add a skirt lining for layering up with tights in colder weather, but I made a silly mistake that I didn't have enough time or fabric to rectify. If you want to successfully add in a lining, then remember that the skirt front piece is shaped around the pocket facing. So you'll need to overlap the two pieces and trace in the full skirt front shape.
Overall, I give the Belladone Dress a HUGE thumbs up! It's pretty and versatile, coming together easily thanks to a clear set of instructions and diagrams. I can't wait to make it again and again, and to try give the other Deer and Doe patterns in my stash a go!