My Deer and Doe Belladone Dress

I’m playing catch up with my blog posts again, this is one I made way back at the beginning of July. I’d been making an effort to get on with projects that have been left on the back burner for one reason or another. Top of the list was a Deer and Doe Belladone dress. I made a wearable muslin in January last year which turned out to be unwearable. The main problem was cutting a post-Christmas dress using my pre-Christmas measurements resulting in a general all round tightness (I chopped the bodice off the dress and got a wearable skirt out of it so all was not lost)

Luckily I’d had the foresight to make a list of what changes I needed to make (thank you past Helen!) I really love the design, the cut out back is unusual and it’s got a great silhouette. The skirt is slightly A-line with diagonal pockets and a couple of little pleats (basically my favourite type of skirt)


The fabric is a cotton poplin, yet more from my Fabworks bundle win. One of the great things I remembered about the Belladone was being able to squeeze it out of a metre and a half of fabric.

My current measurements are 42-35-42 which is an inch or two above the biggest size (41-33-43) I’ll just list what I did to make it easier to read:

  • Cut a size 44 through the shoulders and back grading up to a 46 through the bust, waist and hips (I usually cut a size smaller as I have a relatively narrow back and shoulders in relation to my bust)
  • Did a 2 inch full bust adjustment
  • Shortened the bodice by an inch
  • Added two inches to the waist
  • Pinched out a 1 cm wedge from both of the back cut out pieces (there was a bit of a gape before, pinching this bit out helped it lay flat)
  • Brought the shoulders in by an inch (not a fitting issue, just personal preference)
  • I think I may have cut the smallest size along the hem, just a lazy way of shortening the skirt!

This time I made a muslin of the bodice before cutting into the good stuff and all my tweaks seemed to have worked.  I cheated a bit and cut the whole dress out with my scalloped pinking shears (from eBay, search ‘scalloped pinking scissors’) Finishing the seams before sewing saves so much time!


I had planned on using a contrast navy binding, I had two metres which seemed like enough but after pinning it on I realised I’d run out halfway through the second armhole so resorted to plan B and used a less contrasting china blue instead (my plan for contrast piping on the waistband also went out the window, need to remember next time that I need three times as much binding)  I omitted the hem facing and used some ‘rainbow’ blue bias binding instead (also from eBay)



As with all Deer and Doe patterns the dress came together surprisingly quickly. I must admit to being a bit of a Deer and Doe fangirl, their patterns have some lovely design features and the drafting is very good. I’ve never had a bad experience and they are always a dream to sew.




I’m incredibly pleased with the finished dress, the fit is very nearly there. I think for my next one I could add an extra inch to the full bust adjustment. There’s also some pulling on the back so I’ll try cutting a 46 next. I really love the skirt though, it’s very similar to the tweaked Peony I have used before, technically an A-line but not so sticky outy as some patterns. I also love the little pleats at the waist and would like to use that part of the pattern for some Autumn skirts.





Speaking of Autumn I can’t believe it’s September already! I should be able to get more wear out of the Belladone as I can wear it with tights and a cardigan (and possible a long sleeved top underneath for extra warmth) I’ve got a very autumny length of fabric in the stash that I bought specifically to make a cold weather Belladone (it’s a sort of bronzey brown with dark red flowers on it) hopefully I can fit it in while it’s still seasonally appropriate!

I’m actually looking forward to getting back into the old routine, I haven’t had as much time to sew as I’d have liked over the summer. The nights drawing in doesn’t seem so bad when I get a bit more time to sew in the evenings. The prospect of having to put all my summer clothes away ‘til next year is a bit sad, but then getting the winter ones out is quite exciting as there’s always things I’d forgotten I had! I’ve also just got a stash of winter fabric down from the loft, again there were things I’d forgotten about so it was like going fabric shopping for free! While we’re on the topic of fabric shopping I’m off to SewBrum again on the 24th September, this time I’m going to make a concerted effort to restrain myself and focus on finding things I need (yeah right!) I’ll be taking a couple of extra bags though, just in case I ‘need’ more than I think I do!