There. How was that for a title and a name of a dress? What is the thing with naming dresses anyway? And why do I always get distracted by questions, rather than just getting to the point?
Belladone has been in my WIP pile for a long, long time. I got the pattern back in January, and in a burst of enthusiasm, traced my size (straight 36, if you’re wondering) *and* cut the fabric for it pretty much straight away. I even knew exactly how I would bling it up, using bias binding I had made from my one and only (but very enthusiastic) use of my bias tape maker. Then I hung it up amongst my WIP ‘pile’ (which I’ve always hung, in case you’re wondering about that too).
Oh, and WIP stands for Work In Progress. In case that acronym has been bothering you.
And then I made 2 shift style Simple Modern Sewing Pattern 3a summer dresses, a Bali Cambie, a Citrusy Sureau, a couple of random never to be blogged no way nah uh you cannot make me tshirt sack dresses, an Eva dress, a few Maria Denmark Birgitte tees, two lady skaters, Colette Clovers, an avocado hoodie and a whole lotta little drawstring bags,and lo and behold, nigh on 11 months have passed.
Hey. I made a lot of stuff in that eleven months. Well done, me.
Somehow, somewhere, talk of adding reflectivity to a dress happened. It may have been the fault of Tin Lizzie who has made her own awesomely reflective dress. At least, she started me talking about it. It may have been one of those serendipitous, stars aligning with the moon during the age of reflective biking outfits, but Rachel of My Messings also wanted to make a reflective dress, and she thought the Belladone would be a good candidate for that, and I trusted her much greater sewing expertise and then we spent a while trying to persuade others to join us in our reflective Belladone endeavours.
It’s not too late. You can still join us. (Jooooiiiinnn Uuuuussss.)
And then we made our reflective Belladone dresses. You can read all about Rachel’s here. The photos are fantastic aren’t they (I am a modest person).
Belladone without flash
Belladone with flash
There was so much grinning in my sewing room I thought I would be vacuuming up teeth and sparkles for months afterwards.
I did piping for the first time. Did I mention it was reflective piping? It is probably my favourite thing about this dress. Now I must add reflective piping to All The Things.
Piping on the waistband.
By the way, dealing with reflective bias binding is a pain. It is thick and you have to coax it (swearing may be required) along the feed dogs (that’s the name of the bumpy things under your sewing foot. Honest.) My hot tip? Use a long stitch. Swear a lot.
Rachel also helped me fit the back, with a bit of a cheat, hidden dart. I will be learning how to rotate that dart out of the flat pattern in the near (oh, I do make myself laugh) future, for the next Belladone. Because I will be making more of this dress. And perhaps more of them will be reflective. Anyway, I’ve got to use all that rainbow plaid bias binding I made back in January.
Cheaters fitting dart. Also known as genius.
Rachel also also helped me do a hand picked zipper. It was a watershed moment. Life before hand picked zippers, and life after. One door closes, a window opens. Or something like that. I did not even hate hand sewing while doing it (although I did machine sew a second line of stitching in the zipper seam allowance because I want a second line of defence in case my hand sewing doesn’t hold up to the rigours of being worn by me.)
Check out my totally not completely crap hand sewing!
AND THEN we went for a bike ride. To get frozen yoghurt. In our reflective Belladone dresses. And the angels sung, and fireworks lit the skies, and cherubic children blew bubbles. Also, a few people did double takes when we cycled past them and one young couple were hellbent on getting their puppy run over, first by Rachel, then by me and – because Rachel and I did not oblige and instead swerved to avoid them – tried to let their puppy run in front of a car. Some people should not be allowed puppies.
At the puppy nursey, the puppy guardian should ask, “Do you intend to let this sweet, innocent but very silly creature run in front of bikes and/or cars?” If prospective puppy parents say, “Yo. Sure. Why not?” Then the puppy guardian will say, “You are never allowed a puppy. Not now. Not ever. You may only say Yo ironically. Be gone.”
Me, bike wrangling. Also, the only shot of the front of the dress. It’s not as awesome as the back.
Rachel’s Belladone in action.
Where was I? Oh yes. Reflective Belladone. It made us happy.
(This photo stolen from Rachel’s Instagram feed. Please forgive me, Rachel.)