Fail #3: the Belladone dress

Today I will talk about a very frustrating project, the Belladone dress. In fact, as I am writing this post, I am very frustrated (by other topics), so it’s time for me to exorcize this frustration, especially since Lladybird just wrote a post about it.

So, the Belladone dress. Do I really have to tell you what I am talking about? To make it short,  this is a dress pattern from an indie French company Deer and Doe, who designed sweet feminine flattering patterns (which is a huge change from the bean bag Japanese style [sure, it’s feminine but does not flatter curves] and from Burda I-only-design-ultra-basic-stuff-because-i-m-a-fraud)
So last year, in November, after the first collection was released, I asked my mother-in-law to bring me the Belladone dress pattern. But last year, at that time, I was crazy busy with my engineering class, so the pattern waited for a long time in my stack of patterns. I decided this pattern would be great to go for the wedding of my friend by the end of June so it was time to give it a chance and let the pattern reveal its power.

Sadly, I failed that project. Which is a real shame since everybody says the fit is perfect and there is no need for modification. And it frustrated me a lot, I now feel frozen in action 😦

IMGP8504I know, it doesn’t look that bad, but seriously, it’s tight in here. I can’t eat or the dress gonna explose!

I started with a muslin and while trying the bodice, bam! The first alteration was there: lower the darts! It didn’t come as a surprise since I have a long torso and a long history of failure with tops and French fashion. Seriously, while living in France, my top were always too short: full sleeves that became 3/4 lenght sleeves, belly button almost showing… It was quite a change for me to shop in the US and finally having sweaters that cover my wrists…

As the waist band was pretty tight around my ribcages, more alterations were needed:
– I made the body 2″ longer and lowered the darts by 2″ by the same time
– I reduced the shoulders in the back by 1.5″, because the top panels were going weird.
– since I shortened the shoulders in the back, the back of the diamond shape opening was higher than expected, so I lowered it by 1.5″.
– I made the skirt longer by 2″. For my height (5′ 8″), I have short legs, but even with the extra 2″ for the bust, the skirt was a little too short! The pattern is designed for a 1m68 woman, since I am 1m72 tall and the skirt on the model is a little short, my increase makes sense.
– I lowered the neckline as I don’t like close necklines and fell in love with Ping’s version
– the back pieces were stabilized with tape.

And as I tried the dress, it was pretty uncomfortable, quite tight around the rib cage and armholes were too small. Does it surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. Just by reading the first 2 modifications in my list, my mistake became suddenly pretty obvious to me. But I will talk more about it in my next post: epic fail #4 (yes, the Belladone dress is a double fail, but everything is related).


Do you see the ridiculously small armholes? Tsk tsk… what was I thinking?

So I have a dress that is too tight for me. Needless to say, I had to change my plan for the wedding of my friend. And it didn’t get well either 😦
The back is doing weird stuff too, but not all the time. Look at Lladybird’s post, she gave great tips to fit correctly the top panels in the back. Will use for next time.


Overall, let’s talk about the pattern and instructions.
The pattern is not a fit for me as I definitely have a long torso and have, anyway, frequently alterations to do to fix that oddity. The instructions (in French for me) were easy to follow. I regret there no advice like stabilizing the back pieces but it’s well written, helping drawings, and not overwhelming, perfect for beginners.
Now, I have to say I was pretty annoyed with the fabric advices. It is recommended to use a heavy-medium weigth fabric,  like garbardine. So I spent hours looking for something that could work and didn’t find anything interesting, except lovely lightweight fabric. So I decided to use a light cotton and to line it, and guess what? It works perfectly well! Tsk tsk… The downside is I had to line the dress, which was manageable.

I like that dress and the fabric is really beautiful, I am just so sad it doesn’t fit 😦 Will have to try again…

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