Belladone Opposites

Remember the contest I talked about early this year?

I also picked up the Deer and Doe pattern Belladone, which I am in love with!

(Granted, I fall in love with a lot of patterns…)

But seriously, I’ve made 2.5 of these in the first quarter of the year…

The ice blue one is version 2, and the green skirt is version 1, but I am combining them for this post, along with the bonus of the skirt I made from the same pattern (Version 2.5). Because they’re all done, with almost no changes between the versions, so why not? And though I know I should make some more adjustments, I didn’t pause in between making these.

The Belladone is one of those patterns that I’ve seen around for so many years, and yet I haven’t gotten my hands on it mostly due to the shipping from France thing. And I don’t have many paper patterns from indie companies (read: none), so I couldn’t really see buying the paper patterns. But so many people have made fantastic versions, and I wanted to join the legion!

I made the cutaway back version for both dress options, and I had to make one (rather large) adjustment, which I assume has to do with my broad rounded back. I had to sew a huge dart from just underneath the overlay to the armscye. And now the back lies smoothly against mine! The hem was also “very long” on me, meaning at knee length, but I prefer my skirts to be a bit higher, so I went back and hemmed each version a couple inches.

Version 2 (which was finished first) is made from an ice blue cotton with neon slubs woven in (that aren’t visible from more than one foot away), and is fully lined. Granted, that means its mostly interlined for the bodice, and then actually lined for the skirt. Version 1 has a chambray bodice (woot for scraps!), and what I think is a cotton/poly lawn (woot for scraps part 2!). And then I made a skirt version out of the same wax print cotton that I made my Uganda dress out of a few years ago. I had just barely enough to make it happen, but it’s infinitely more wearable than the dress is, which is a great thing!

I made up Versions 2 and 3 for my this big conference in Seattle, since I don’t have much of what you might call “business casual” and then decided to alter them. The skirt only got hemmed a bit higher, but the ice blue dress got a stencil treatment. I laser cut a stencil with a vaguely floral geometric design, and I used silver Jacquard Lumiere paint to put it on the waistband. The design is not terribly visible, even though I used a Micron pen to outline it a bit, but I like the small amount of definition it gives to the dress.

Because Version 2 was fully lined, I didn’t need to bias bind the neck or armscyes, but when I finally finished Version 1, I had to bias bind them, which I did in a lovely green, and I’m considering stenciling the waistband with a gold fabric paint. We’ll see what happens in a couple weeks.

These are wonderful dresses/skirts though. They worked well for the transition from winter to summer, and so far are doing well for actual summer too! Wait until I show you my hack of this! It’s going to be awesome (judging by the wearable muslin, at least)!

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Uganda

Out of all of the places that you can choose to study abroad, one of my friends chose Uganda, and had a lovely time in Kampala, the capital city, and toured some of the countries that have been in the news for not-so-great news over the years.

When she got back, she was just as bubbly as ever, but having read her blog of her adventures, it was clear that the experience had changed her deep down, which is really what such and adventure is meant to do.

Our schedules didn’t match up much for that winter break, but the one time we were able to get together she gave me this lovely African wax print cotton fabric that she had picked up there! It’s a gorgeous color and feel and just plain lovely.

front

I’ve worked with batiks before, when I’m quilting they’re my favorite, but this was different. This was special. What was I going to make?

So I delayed, I waffled, I forgot about it for a while, and I waffled some more.

My mom suggested a suit, like a pencil skirt and jacket. Now that I know more about construction, I know that would likely have been difficult construction-wise, since I would end up wanting a long sleeve jacket, and pencil skirts out of wovens take up fabric because the grainline really does matter… And I don’t like pencil skirts, which counts against this plan too.

back

I did like the idea of a jacket, and in the future, I may use the scraps to manage that. But in the meantime, I made a dress.

I happened to be muslin-ing a pattern for my Susan costume, and realized that the corset pattern I used for that costume, when actually fitted to my body without the insane ease, had pretty nice lines. So I muslined half the pattern for Susan, which I have not continued working on yet, and the other half for a woven dress.

My methods from this point on grow a bit…sketchy. I managed to get the bodice made up quickly, and even cut out a lining and sewed that up too. Then I started on the skirt. I measured the fabric and it was only 40 inches wide… Which was not anywhere near long enough to make a 3/4 circle skirt, which is definitely my favorite kind. It was barely going to be decent with a full circle skirt (at least in my mind). So I cut out a waistband, which hadn’t been planned. Even with that addition, I’ve still got to wear tap pants, mostly due to the sitting-down factor. I like to sit down, and I especially like the extra insulation of not sitting down and getting my legs and maybe butt stuck to the seats. Just a personal preference.

pockets

But the dress is lovely, and I’m so glad I was able to use my special fabric in such a pretty and useable way!

And… pockets.