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 ūüė¶

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 ūüė¶
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 ūüė¶ Will have to try again…


MMM’13 – week 4 and 5

Also known as “the MMM’13 disaster weeks”.

I don’t know about you but taking pictures of myself every day is kind of annoying. I decided to wait everyday for Mr Hubby to come home to take photos, rather than dealing with the tripod. And then, I got lazy, I caught a bad cold, I disappeared all weekend in a board game convention (did I ever mention I am a board game player?). Some days, I looked too sick to be on photo!
In other words, this week, I don’t have much pictures to show you :S But let’s recap!

Wednesday 22nd: while digging in my wardrobe in the last weeks, one of my top kept calling my name and I kept ignoring it since it’s not a favorite of mine. But Wednesday was its day and so I wore a top I made a long time ago. Remember New Look 6913? That’s a real shame I don’t have any picture to show since after all, this top is not that bad…

Thursday 23th: not sure, I think I wore the Geodesic cardigan, or maybe not, can’t remember (this is why you want to take pictures!). And I started to feel sick, so I remembered wrapping my Mohr circles shawl around my neck. I didn’t expect to wear it before next fall but since I was not feeling well, it was quite handy.

Friday 24th to Sunday 26th: my cold is getting worse and as I was supposed to help a friend to promote his game at the Kublacon (a board game convention) for the whole weekend in a huge air-conditioned hotel. I wore my favorite fall outfit: my black Renfrew with my Parcel pullover. Too bad I don’t have a picture to show you because the necklines of the t-shirt and the sweater match really well and I can wear both together and feel so warm and comfy! Still, the cold got worse and I lost my voice.

Monday 27th: no hand-made clothes.

Tuesday 28th: as I’m catching up with my late projects and writing the first part of this post, I felt so ashamed this morning that I took a picture of the hand-made cloth I am wearing today: my first pair of Sunday Swing socks! Please apologize for the weird picture, it is not easy to photograph feet and socks!


Wednesday 29th: no hand-made clothes

Thursday 30th: I wore for the first time a knit tank I finished knitting 10 days ago but couldn’t wear since the weather was not great. I’ll write a post about it later next week, it’s a lovely project. And yes, pictures are back!


Friday 31st: Another new project not blogged yet! 2 years after the whole sew-blogo, I made my own version of the Sorbetto tank from Colette Pattern. This is not a color I usually wear but I like it!


* * * * *

So, what is the conclusion of this MMM challenge?
– taking pictures almost everyday is a pain with the back.
– I am now a better sewer: better work, better fitting adjustment and better fabric choice.
– I need more tops, more skirts, more cardigans. I should not wear so often jeans (time to sew some Thurlow pants!). My wardrobe needs more clothes, but on the other hand, I found some clothes I totally forgot about it.
– 3 clothes/week was an easy target, next time I’ll try 5/week. This month, I wore 21 hand-made clothes (some were worn several times over the month) and 1 refashioned blouse, which means 4.5 clothes/week (!!)

How did your MMM’13 challenge went? What did you learn?
See you next week for more details about my tank tops…

Clap your hands and say Yeah!

Why should you say “Yeah”? Because I finally cleaned up my sewing space and it was about time! Yeahh! ūüôā

I tend to be a organization freak but with my engineering courses, my volunteer activity with my job seeking professional group, our last trip south California, well, things started looking messy, uncleaned and stashs of various stuff appeared. Skeins of wool everywhere in the room, including in the office between resumes :S, fabrics cut or uncut waiting for their time on the living room table, on my chair or on the iron table, even on the floor :S I’m not proud of myself, that was kind of an epic fail, so this morning, I decided it was time for that situation to end!

I started by finishing to sew my version B of the Cambie dress. That dress has been waiting for weeks, I just had to sew the hem tapes and wash it! By the same occasion, I also fold and put away the remaining fabric of the dress that has been “sitting” on the sofa chair for weeks. And I started cleaning my sewing table. It’s been quite a scavenger hunt! Let me share all my discoveries:

– an important layer of dust on the table, but also on some parts of my machine :S
– 2 issues of Thread, that I never read (Novembre 2012 and March 2013)
– a lost pin (only one, that doesn’t explain where are the other ones)
– several pieces of a self-draft pattern. I put all together in a zipped bag labelled “Soda Fountain dress/London calling shirt” (this is the weird part, because I sewed these dress and shirt before we moved away from Belmont, so it shouldn’t have stayed on the table… :S)
– lots of notes about modifications. Of course, no mention of the pattern concerned, so everything ended up in the bin. It’s really time for time to start taking note properly!
– at least 3 KnitPicks catalogues… don’t ask me why I didn’t put them in a bin earlier…
– some documents from my job search volunteer group!
– old muslins waiting on the floor to be re-used. Now in a bag, sorted all together
– old muslins not re-usable that should had been put in a bin a long time ago
– an old muslin I did last summer for the wedding of my friend. I suddenly remembered that I tried to draft my own pattern since I couldn’t find a nice cocktail dress with covered shoulders (I did found one, remember). This led me back to the zipped bag for the Soda Fountain dress / London calling shirt, just to find out that I had extra pieces from the cocktail dress mixed with the Soda Fountain dress and London Calling shirt. Well done Claire! :S

So now everything is sorted out and put away in the right place. I should have taken pictures of before and after to show you. I still need to sort out my office desktop but that’s another story. Now my concern is: how long will this last? :p

On a different note, I recently had several comments about the Pine All Mine dress from Modcloth. I have currently a to-sew list that can’t really wait but I would like to let you know that I am thinking about it and will try to sew a copy-cat muslin in the next weeks (sorry, no time for a wearable version, may be later during the summer). So if you are interested in that dress, stay tuned, I might have some interesting information to share about it that would help you to sew your own version!