You know those days when you are jumping around from sewing blog to sewing blog (or whatever blog you might read) and something stops you dead in your tracks? After you pick your jaw up off the floor, you know you have to have whatever it is that has graced the screen. This is what happened when I saw Lladybird’s (Lauren’s) striped Belladone dress, a few years back. I had seen a few other versions of this pattern, by French pattern maker Deer & Doe. All of them had been pretty cute, but this one was different. This was the one that pushed me over the edge. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right? (Right?!?!?!) I hope so. 🙂
As with most things in my life, I started to obsess about it. I scoured my stash for striped fabric, and stalked all the online fabric stores (this was before I had opened the shop). I finally rested on the perfect solution: Seersucker. It was two summers ago that I made this dress (Backlog, you say?? Whatever do you mean?), and it is still in heavy rotation as soon as the temperature starts to climb.
As far as the the pattern goes, Deer & Doe is drafted for a C-Cup, which I am not. I ended up doing my normal small bust adjustment but also had to lengthen the waist. My actual measurements did not fall into one particular size, so I ended up cutting a 36 for the bodice (and only using a 1/2″ seam allowance) and then graded out to a 38 for the waist and hips. I did a 1/2″ sway back adjustment as well. The only other alteration I had was the back cut-out, which had excess fabric and didn’t lay flat. I followed Lauren’s tutorial on how to alter that pattern piece (which is at the bottom of her post), which proved to be very helpful. After my second and final muslin of the bodice, I was ready to go!
The seersucker was perfect to sew on, since it was 100% cotton. I took my time matching up the stripes on the skirt pockets and I’m glad I did. I also followed Lauren’s lead, rolling the bias tape to the inside and cutting the belt portion of the dress on the bias…because what is cuter than a bias stripe inset belt? Not much! I ended up using some white cotton that I had leftover from another project for the bias tape. Since I was rolling it to the inside it didn’t really matter what I used. I interfaced all the belt pieces with the same cotton, and sewed it in place. I pinked all my seams, and two years later they don’t look amazing, but they are still holding up. If I use seersucker again, I might serge or zigzag instead. That may help it look a little prettier inside after multiple washings.
When I first sewed this pattern only one view was offered. Now that Deer & Doe is rebranding they have tweaked some of their older patterns, and now the Belladone comes with an alternate view of a fully closed back. I have plans to make a wool one for wearing with cozy tights and boots.
All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography
This is a great dress pattern. However, it is not necessarily a beginner pattern. The company places the difficulty range at a 3/5 and I would agree. That being said, if you have a few dresses under your belt and are familiar with garment construction, I could not recommend this pattern more. It is one of my favorite makes to wear and the one I get the most compliments on.
We carry the pattern in the shop and also have a few seersuckers for you to create your own ultimate summer dress!