Reveal: Belladone dress from Deer and Doe

Belladone, how do I love thee? Let me count the gorgeous ways.


One, its design. That back cut out is sexy with no hint of trashy. There are pockets too! It is designed for non-stretch, woven fabrics, which are the easiest types to sew. Two, the instructions. The instruction booklet (also gorgeous, by the way) contains concise, but clear instructions on how to make your garment. There are also great diagrams. But if you’re like me and you usually only look at the diagrams and don’t read the content, think again. Not every step is diagrammed! Thank goodness the instructions are not long-winded, so I skimmed everything and didn’t miss anything. Third, the pattern itself. It is printed on good quality paper so you don’t tear the pieces, and you can use them over and over. (Actually, I want to make one for my sister too, so I ended up tracing the pattern to tissue paper anyway). And all of the pieces fit together beautifully. There was no bunching in places. The curves matched each other perfectly, even with my pattern adjustments to account for my small bust and large hips.

Simply a dream to cut out and to sew!


I used stretch denim from my stash, and standard orange bias binding. I even had blue thread left over from a previous project still in my sewing machine. The only thing I didn’t have was a zipper. So I sewed up the top part of the dress, ordered a zipper, then two days later started sewing up a storm again when I saw the zipper in my mailbox. Yay!

I didn’t make a muslin for this garment. In fact, I confess that I don’t make a muslin for anything! Although, I am definitely starting to see the light. I think I may have to start doing them on projects where I use expensive fabric and want a great fit.

I was a little bit apprehensive that it wouldn’t fit. This is my second time sewing with an indie pattern (my first being Megan Nielson). And I already know from experience that out of the big pattern companies, only Vogue tends to be true-to-size for me.

Well, I was right to be nervous. As you can see from this picture, the bust darts are much too high. The waistband hits my lower ribs instead of my waist, so it fits almost like an empire-waisted dress. But I must say, even though it doesn’t fit correctly vertically, the width fits quite well, and it’s very very comfortable! It’s great to wear with a turtleneck and a pair of leggings in the winter and I think it will be great in the summer as a dress because the cutout in the back will keep you cool.




Thanks Mr. Livana for taking these photos!


I love the detailing on the denim, don’t you?

Next time I make this dress, in addition to lengthening the bodice, I shall NOT use stretch fabric. You can see from the picture above, the upper back does not lay flat. Also, although I matched my seams and the top perfectly for my zipper, it stretched and shifted when I sewed, so the waist band doesn’t match perfectly, nor does the top of the zipper. aaarg.

11 replies
  1. lollybee
    lollybee says:

    I also made this dress over the weekend. It fits beautifully and is so nice finished but I had the same problems as you did and I used a 100% cotton with no stretch. I ended up moving up the right side of the back to match the waist band at the zip and then adjusting the top to match the left side (if that makes sense). I also added in two darts on the back underneath the top flap and readjusted the collar of the top back pieces to make it sit flat. I’ve seen so many people on flickr make this beautifully but I had so many problems (and I even made a toile)! That said, it really does fit so well that I will attempt it again.

    Well done on finishing it, the contrast binding looks so great!

    • zoelivana
      zoelivana says:

      Thanks for popping by and commenting on my post. I’m not sure what you mean ‘moving up the right side of the back’. But if it looks good, then you’ll feel good in it and wear it again and again. I’m waiting for some nice weather to wear it without a shirt underneath.

  2. Sølvi
    Sølvi says:

    What a gorgeous dress! I have just ordered this pattern and am tracking down every version of this there is…;-). No, serously, you did a great job, and I really love the denim with the orange detail. Very cute! 🙂

    • Joanne
      Joanne says:

      Thank you! I also stalked every version I could find before I bought the pattern. Since I discovered the wonderful world of sewing blogs I do the same for every pattern I choose.
      Happy sewing!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] and Doe, which I think she would approve of. This is my third attempt at this dress (see attempt 1 and 2). And I think I’ve finally figured it out! The darts are in the right place and the […]

  2. […] of you might recognize the dress pattern as the sensational Belladone from Deer and Doe. My previous attempt looked a bit too much like a babydoll dress. And since I love this dress so much, I figured it […]

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