Very Bear-y Belladone

LInda Lencovic FO (finished not flying), sewing

Many, many months ago I impulse bought some amazing Japanese grizzly bark cloth fabric from Frances at Miss Matatabi and waited for months to decided what I would use it for as it needed to be just right. It was too fantastic to waste on something mediocre.

I finally found just the thing – a Dear and Doe Belladone dress. Simple lines to show off the pattern, but with an amazing back cut out detail, it was just perfect. I had a sneaking suspicion that this dress might be beyond my fledgling sewing capabilities but loved it so much I needed to give it a go!

Those of you that follow me on Instagram and Twitter will have seen many images of my project already and heard much of my dramas with getting it fitted by myself! As usual, I had to do quite a few back adjustments because of my beloved swayback (arrgh) and smaller width across the back shoulder.

There was quite a bit of slicing and dicing needed – however, on the upside, I learned TONS about pattern adjustments on this one.

Here is a list of what I had to do to get this to fit properly on me:

  1. At the back I took width out at the top of the back arm
  2. I sliced out a dart from the armpit to the back triangle cut out
  3. I added more room in the arm. I also had to slice out darts from the top triangle bits to have them sit flat and not gape
  4. In the front bodice I moved the darts around to match up with my own body shape…
  5. ….then moved them off the actual nipple area so they sit around the boob, as they are meant to – seems a lot of people had this issue, with the dart coming too high, so this wasn’t just my body for once!
  6. I also added length so this would hit at just below the knee, which is much more flattering with my thighs
  7. And lastly, added a little more length in the back for my behind-icus.

SMUG. Me in my first Belladone with snugly smooth back! Yay!

It fits like an absolute glove now and I love the way the pattern is drafted. The waistline sits comfortably slightly above the bulge of belly, so you can eat comfortably and not have to worry about being cut in half…and as a bonus the two crisp pleats at the front HIDE any extra bulge, so you can wear it on pudgy days!


My one regret is that when I cut out the back panel for the second time I screwed up the pattern matching. Sigh.

Phew! What a learning curve. I just pray I’ve managed to transfer all the changes to the pattern correctly so that I can duplicate this again!


As an added bonus, the dress also goes with both of my new cardi’s so I have 2 layering options for fun! Yay! Win.