Belladone in stripes

I always think it looks in equal parts brilliant and terrifying when there are so many layers of fabric draped over the machine when you are in the midst of a crucial stage. This is the moment during the making of my second Belladone dress when everything seemed like it was almost coming together but there still seemed to be so much going on; I was scared of forgetting which pieces were supposed to be stitched together and which were not.


But luckily it worked out and now I have a second Deer & Doe Belladone dress, this time in light pink stripes!

Small bust adjustment
As explained in my previous post about my Belladone wearable muslin (which has incidentally been worn a lot recently with this lovely early Belgian spring), I had to do an SBA on the pattern. I just went for it and cut it out straight away on this fabric without doing a test first – living on the edge. It worked perfectly though and the fit is just right.

I followed Lladybird’s slash and pivot adjustment method for removing excess on the upper back piece. I took some pictures too so you can see the exact steps of what I did as I always like to see close up images of pattern adjustments!

Step 1:
Slash up the middle of the pattern piece at a right angle to the seam line. Leave a wee hinge about 1.5cm long.


Step 2:

Overlap the edges by the amount you need to take out. (You can work this out by pinching out the excess on your muslin).


Step 3:
Tape the pattern pieces in place and smooth out the seam line to make sure it is straight.


It was also great to read Lauren’s post as not only was it useful in terms of the adjustments, it was very useful in terms of stripe matching! I copied how she did it in terms of matching up the chevrons at the waistband, and did my best to line up the other pieces.

Here it looks OK I think…


…but it is a bit off kilter at the centre back…whoops…


Adding a lining
As the fabric (cotton) is quite thick and not particularly smooth, I thought it would be comfier to line the skirt so I used some lightweight yellow cotton batiste.

I attached the lining to the seam that joins the bodice and skirt pieces. Then I sewed the zip in, attaching it to both the outer fabric and the lining at the same time. I sewed on some ribbon to hide the seams on the inside. This ribbon just happened to be what I had lying around (pretty sure this ribbon was bought in Glasgow going on seven years ago or something silly, so nice I finally got round to using it…). But I actually think the colours go together really well together, as if it was all meticulously planned, ha.

The resulting colour scheme really makes me think of sweets and wrapping paper. So maybe I should wear it with black tights and black nail varnish or something so it is not too sickly sweet.


Don’t look too closely, I see some stray ends of thread….


The lining is also fully contained in the hem, so there is no way it’s going anywhere now that I’ve locked it down completely.


Now, to think about what kind of Belladone my third will be.

My Kim skirt



Say hello to my Kim skirt, so called because this lovely soft wool fabric was one of the fabrics that Kim from Reves Mechanique brought along to the fabric exchange as part of January’s sewing blogger meetup in Antwerp, and I was the lucky one to go home with it at the end of the day.

Thanks, Kim! I only hope that whoever got some of the fabric remnants I brought has enjoyed them as much as I’ve enjoyed making this skirt. Fabric exchanges are great because it’s a chance to give a good piece of fabric a new home if you are not going to use it, and it’s a chance to receive some one-of- a-kind fabrics, the likes of which you might not find again.

I used the By Hand London circle skirt app which I think is just amazing! They’ve done the maths for us! I still think it is useful to understand the calculation behind the app though: just think, one day you could be stranded on a desert island and you’d have to make a circle skirt with no app…

Maybe when I was doing my Higher Maths back in the midst of time the mysteries of Pi would have been more exciting if we’d combined the lesson with a jaunt downstairs to the Home Economics department to make a circle skirt. I am also prepared to eat my words as I specifically remember ranting as a teenager about how I would ‘never use maths in the real world’. How wrong I was!

The best thing about this skirt though was that it was my first attempt at a lapped zipper. Stupidly (or daringly) I didn’t do a practice zipper first. I just followed some instructions and went ahead directly onto the skirt; much unpicking and one very improvised rescue method involving bias binding later and I have what I hope can be described as a lapped zipper!


Coucou, Coco !

coco 5

It’s a Friday night ‘Coco Party‘ with me and my guest of honour – my new Coco dress! (And my self timer camera came along too for good measure.)

I was very keen to get my hands on the Coco pattern ever since Tilly started teasing us with hints about it – and I certainly was not the only one!

But just over a week ago the wait was over. I returned home to find Coco had crossed the Channel from London to Brussels and had been delivered safe and well.

In terms of the pattern and the accompanying instructions (both in the pamphlet and in the various in-depth posts on her blog) Tilly has succeeded in what she set out to do: create a simple yet well drafted knit pattern that would be appealing to seasoned stitchers and beginners alike.

Coco 4

I decided to make the size 2 and it fits perfectly even if it is a little loose at the side seams (hence the red bow-belt I’ve added). I really like it this way as if I want it to look smarter and more defined I can add the belt and if I want it to be slouchier I can just wear it as it is. Next time I might make the size 1 out of interest to see what that will be like.

The great thing about knits I think (or relatively loose fitting knits anyway) is that if the fit is not perfect then it is not as big a disaster as it would be if you were using a woven fabric.

I didn’t embellish the dress in any way. I’m just really happy to have made a bright red, comfy, and slightly 60s’-style dress with a lovely boatline neckline!

The fabric is a red medium-weight jersey that is not too stretchy. It came from Berger (I’m still eternally grateful to Jo for telling me about this wonderful fabric emporium not very far from my house at all). I also discovered that Berger has a BASEMENT, i.e. double the fabric perusing pleasure. I somehow managed not to catch on to that on my previous two visits!

Now I’m on the hunt for some nice striped knit to make one in Tilly’s Breton style.

Big hurray for Coco!

coco 6


Not only is Belladone the name of a lovely bar a stone’s throw from where I live in Brussels, it’s the name of the Deer and Doe pattern I’ve been admiring beautiful versions of online for what feels like an eternity.

I was almost scared to try Belladone as it looked like my ideal kind of pattern so I knew I’d be really disappointed if it went disastrously wrong. I bought some lovely light pink and white fabric from the Marché Saint-Pierre in Paris a few months ago and it has been earmarked for a Belladone, but I decided to do a test version first.

I definitely favour making muslins but sometimes it can be quite a thought to put all that effort into making something that you won’t wear! I had bought a flowery cotton/poly blend (possibly curtain fabric) on the Belgian/Dutch blogger meetup which I was actually a bit non-fussed about. I was not really sure why I bought it and afterwards I kind of regretted it as I couldn’t really see what I would use it for: so I thought it would be the perfect fabric to use for a muslin. And at only 3 euros a metre (not much more than what you pay for calico toile) I had nothing to lose if it was a disaster.

But now it is all made up I’m actually really pleased with it and I think I’ll wear this dress a lot!


I cut out the size 34 with no modifications, but I anticipated that it would be too big in the bodice and I was right. So I carried out a sort of improvised post-sewing SBA to remove the excess by making two long darts on the front of the bodice. It works fine for this dress as the fabric is really busy so you don’t notice it but I wouldn’t use that as a method for my special snazzy fabric or anything.

I’ve now carried out an SBA (following this method) on the front bodice pattern and pinched out some of the excess on the back.

Adapted pattern pieces in hand, I’m now ready to tackle the pink and white stripey fabric.

Stay tuned for another Belladone…

Pipe dreams


Another Violet blouse, this time born out of an oversized shirt I never wore.

I added red piping at the yoke, sandwiched into the French seam. Something very satisfying about sewing piping.
I decided not to add a peter pan collar this time and finished the neckline with bias binding instead. I used the mid-length sleeve but adapted them to give them a narrow fit.
The best thing about upcycling a shirt in this way is that you don’t have to sew the buttons or button-holes! Just position your pattern pieces in such a way that they encompass the already-made buttons.

Here is a photo of the original shirt. I can’t even remember where I actually bought it now (probably the flea market or Les Petits Riens), but it had been in a box for a while earmarked for adaption.

I was half tempted just to wear it as it was but it was really just far too large, and not in a cool ‘oversized’ way. Just in a ‘your shirt is ridiculously too big for you’ way.

Feel quite relieved to have finally found a use it. What I really like about fabric stashing (or in this case old clothing stashing) is that sometimes you can’t make something with it before the time is right: its time will come when the right project comes along – and not beforehand!