Ah. Yes. It’s another summery print dress. So much for autumn-minded resolutions. But this fabric was calling to me and I was loath to resist!
Aha, the giveaway back… yes, it’s a Belladone! I thought of this pattern immediately when I clapped eyes on this amazing Moda fabric – both are are a little kitsch and unexpected so I thought they’d be a fun match. Plus using stag print for a Deer & Doe pattern is a delightful coincidence, non? I bought the pattern, fabric and notions at lovely Ray Stitch – thank you Michelle for your help in the all-important fabric, zip, and bias tape selections.
I suspected I’d be doing a bit of adjustment to make this pattern work for my body, and that was indeed the case. I ditched the waistband, shortened the bodice and skirt by about an inch, and gathered rather than pleated the front skirt. It just felt a bit more ‘me’ this way, and it was the right call as the result is super comfortable to wear.
The back needed a bit of work too to reduce gaping around the cut-out: I elongated the darts almost to the top and tapered in the centre seam at the top. I could almost wriggle into the dress without the zip (the fabric has more give than other craft cottons), but added it anyway so I didn’t put stress on the seams. I did a machine blind hem instead of facing the bottom hem – first time trying that and it worked well, thanks in part to this tutorial.
I took a little more care over my technique than usual. I bought extra fabric and tried to place the pattern thoughtfully, although it was tricky with such a large repeat so there is the odd disembodied stag head floating around. I haven’t done bias bindings since my very first dress so it was good to revisit that skill. I bound the pocket edgings too to bring them out a little more, although they ended up pretty small due to my fit-fiddling. Next time I will probably bind the back openings too for a really polished finish.
I found the sewing process really fun. It was nice to sew a woven again after doing a lot with knits recently, and though I was nervous about using a craft cotton for a garment it worked out great in this instance. The Deer & Doe instructions are brilliant with just the right level of detail. My sister has already requested her own Belladone now, so I’m sure I’ll be giving this lovely pattern another whirl soon.