Monday, 9 May 2016

FO: Belladone

I was unsure if I was ever going to write a post about this dress, frankly it's a bit of a mess and I was just going to sweep it under the carpet. However, it is a garment that I've made and now worn and I've decided I should be proud of it. Also it is useful for me to get down all of my thoughts so that I don't end up making the same mistakes next time, so please bear with me!
Please note this is linen, don't judge my wrinkles!
Deer and Doe's Belladone dress is one I've been meaning to make for ages, it's so simple and smart from the front, but has the lovely cut out detail at the back. It's taken me a while to get round to making it, partly because I was looking for the right fabric and partly because I was wavering on what size to make. I made their Sureau dress last year in size 40 and find it a little large but I was a little worried that this more fitted style would be a bit tight if I made it in size 38. In the end I decided to just go for it with this inexpensive pink linen and prepared to write it off as a muslin if it didn't fit.
To begin with this project seemed to be going ok, the instructions were a little vague in places but I prepared the back pieces and stabilised the diagonals with bias tape with no trouble. Once I got to the armholes, however, I found myself having to use my own judgement, which I was completely betrayed by. I really should know better by now! Basically I had no idea whether I needed to sew the bias tape on using a 1.5cm seam allowance or whether I was meant to just sew it straight on at the edge. I went for the 1.5 cm and ended up with a weird situation where my upper back pieces were very pretty much bisected by the armholes. I haven't bothered to take a photo of that though and it's a bit difficult to explain, but next time I'll just stitch the bias tape on at the edge instead. At that point I considered completely remaking the bodice but because I was beginning to worry about the fit I decided to keep going so I'd not made 2 bodices of a dress that wasn't going to do up!
From that point on things weren't too bad, I did the neck binding without incident and the waistband and skirt came together nicely. Then came the zip. I started by finishing the allowances where the zip would go on my overlocker as usual, I did one side just fine and then at the end of the second side I somehow lost all control and ended up catching the upper back and sewing (and cutting!!) into it for an inch or so. Disaster! I did a bit of a half hearted repair job and ploughed on. I was feeling a bit slap dash by then so I knew I wasn't doing my best work anyway, but because the upper bodice is already joined at the neck I found the whole thing really fiddly and ended up having to unpick a couple of times. Next time I think I might consider sewing the neck hole up last so that the back is completely open at the time of zip insertion. By this time I was thoroughly sick of the whole thing, but I went ahead and stitched on the hem facing, which is a lovely finish and so much easier than straight hemming in my opinion, and that cheered me up a little.
What I'm left with is a mostly wearable dress, albeit with a cardigan over the top to hide the overlocker accident and weird bisected pieces at the back. The bust darts need moving a little next time and I might consider using a slightly smaller seam allowance around the waist to give myself a little more room for a big dinner. Or I could cut down on the big dinners of course and give myself a little more space that way! Despite all of this it was all totally worth it, I know that if I can make a few changes and avoid making stupid mistakes I will come out with a dress that I love. I'm completely in love with the shape of it and, while I'm usually not that bothered by pockets in dresses, these ones are a really lovely feature which I would never leave off. Although I was left feeling like this was a bit of a fail at first it's actually far from it. Even though it is a bit rubbish I found that I really loved wearing it and was happy to tell people that I made it myself. I'll call that a win.

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