I have been procrastinating a bit over writing this post because it is out-of-order.
I stitched up two other dresses before this one but I am behind in my blogging so it makes my eye twitch to write this post first…however I am late to The Cat Lady party so here goes…
When I spotted Miss Crayola Creepy’s Cat Lady Sewing Challenge on Instagram I shared it with the WSBN and as is our style is became a Big Deal.
A picnic was planned and we spent several days sharing cat fabric image after cat fabric image with each other.
It took me a few days to decide on my final selection. I trawled the internet like a crazy cat woman because I wanted kitties but nothing too crazy. If I am going to spend time making an awesome dress then I need to be able to wear it out in normal situations…like to work!
In the end I settled on this Kokka fabric called Tossed Kitties. The cats are a small enough scale to not be in-your-face but still recognisable.
Plus it makes me think of this:
I went for the slightly less crazy Aqua and I was really pleased when it arrived because the light blue was actually much darker and more teal in real life. I love it!
Deer and Doe’s Belladone was my pattern of choice, selected for cuteness and lack for bodice/skirt seams.
This pattern has been on my to-sew list for a while. I pulled it out and traced it a few months ago, compared the bodice against another favourite pattern, decided it needed 4cms in length and then got distracted by another project.
So my pattern was all ready traced with a small sticky note attached reminding me about the 4cms. I just needed to decide where to add them! The bust darts are super high so 2cms went there and the other 2cms below. I find it a little bizarre that this bodice is so short when the Bleuet dress fitted me really well with almost zero alterations.
I did briefly consider sewing a muslin of just the bodice to test out my changes but…well I couldn’t be bothered so traced a second bodice piece, added my extra length and tissue fitted it to Scarlett.
Looks good to me!
My only other alteration was to add an extra 6cms to the skirt.
After I had cut everything out and started sewing I found a pretty big drafting error. My pattern is a bit older so I’m not sure if it’s been picked up and corrected.
The upper back bodice pieces square off at the side seam but the squared off section is 2cms wide. With a seam allowance of only 1.5cm this means that after stitching the side seam you would end up with 0.5cm raw edge poking out on each side. Not good 😦
It made me kind of mad at first. Is this not the sort of thing that should be picked up during pattern testing? Lucky I had extra fabric to re-cut these small pieces after altering the pattern. It’s an easy fix to extend the angled edge to a point.
My grey bias tape was left over from one of those dresses that I haven’t yet blogged. I originally intended to use a dark blue but it wasn’t right with the teal. The grey bias strips were already cut and ready to be ironed into shape.
I mostly followed the instructions except that I attached all my front pieces together and then all my back pieces so that I could sew the side seams as a continuous line and adjust the fit.
I also saved attaching the neck binding until last so that after inserting the zipper I could adjust the fit there.
When it came to joining the back of the neck I came across the same drafting error of a 2cm squared off edge. This edge is too large for the bias to cover, it looks nothing like the image in the instructions, which has these edges finishing in points.
I was not going to recut the same piece for a third time so I trimmed the edges to points, adding a bit more scoop to the neck, then I pinned my overlap to test and tried it on
I found the under bodice pieces a bit gapey so I hid a small pleat under the overlap and I will adjust the pattern to take this out for next time.
I put in an invisible zipper and I’m not super happy with how the upper edge is finished. It looks fine from the outside but inside it looks messy and exposed at the top. It’s a bit tricky to line up the bottom of the V so I ended up putting my zip in a little low so I fixed that with a hook and eye. I’m still thinking about how I’ll do it better next time.
Even after the few hiccups and grumbles I have with this pattern I really love my dress and now that I have ironed out the issues I am definitely making a couple more. I’d love to use the bodice with a different skirt pattern and vice versa and maybe even make up the skirt just as a skirt.
Sandra took these fabulous photos at the Wellington Botanic Garden. We had a lovely picnic and everyone had a Cat Lady outfit, even our newest member Alison who was given almost no notice. She made a cute hat with cats on it.
This sounds pretty cool but wait…the cats are wearing hats.
It’s like hat inception…Cat in the Hat-ception.
Here are a few group photos taken by various kiddiewinks who tagged along.
Teresa, Me, Juliet and Sophie-Lee
Sophie-Lee, Teresa, Joy and Johanna
Does anyone else own the Belladone? Does your pattern have the same drafting errors as my older pattern? I’m keen to find out.
Pattern – Deer & Doe Belladone, size 42
Next time I will remove 1cm from below the bust darts because it feels a tiny bit long now. I need to adjust the inner upper back bodice to remove the excess fabric. Outer upper bodice piece has already been adjusted at side seam but I need to adjust CB at neck as well.
Fabric – Kokka Japan Tossed Kitties in Aqua from Voodoo Rabbit
Other notions – Me-made bias, grey cotton from Spotlight
This dress is fabulous in all of the ways. Such a great print!
I’m pretty sure my Belladone wings go right to the edge. And I too put the zip in down a centimetre or two, but I’ve found that I didn’t need the hook and eye, I just tacked the two edges together with a few stitches above the zip, and I still have plenty of room for getting in and out of the two versions I’ve made.
I just saw your post, I’m behind in my blog reading! Loved your dress, and it was such a fun meeting. Thanks for putting in the photo of my hat! 🙂
Ok, that gif had me laughing so hard! It’s so awesome, just like your dress. And thank you for sharing photos of your group meet up! It’s so cool to see a group of fellow cat ladies hanging out. Just wish I could have been there too 🙂
I just made one of these recently http://createhopeinspire.blogspot.co.nz/2014/11/make-my-week-deer-and-doe-belladone.html and didn’t have those issues but I definitely want to lengthen the bodice and grade mine in at the waist. It is such a cute pattern though I will definitely be making another! Love the colour of yours.
Your dress is great! I’m pretty sure that I didn’t have this drafting issue (I’ve made the Belladone twice). With the invisible zip, I inserted it starting about 5cm down from the top seam which looks a bit neater. Perhaps it makes the dress a bit trickier to get in and out of but it’s not been a big problem http://funkbunnysgarden.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/tiger-print-belladone-frocktails-dress.html
Wow thanks for all the details! I love the design on the back. It is a very unique dress.
what a lovely dress, worth the trouble I hope, you look great in it and love the group photo, you all look cool!
That dress is lovely and I am sure my daughter would like it. Thanks for pointing out the problems you had with the pattern – I will be sure to check those if I make it.
I had to go back and re-read this because I was so awed by your self-made bias tape. I have been sewing off and on for over 50 years but only recently learned to make my own bias tape, so reading you had some just lying about was inspiring and, well, awesome.
Your dress is adorable, looks fab on you, and I’m not surprised about the drafting error. Back when I first learned to sew, commercial patterns were reliable – know your measurements-choose a pattern-sew and go. But since the late 90s that’s changed, I haven’t been able to sew any pattern from any commercial maker without first doing a muslin to make adjustments and corrections – even the most simple, marked as ‘learn to sew’ patterns. Very annoying and time consuming but heigh ho, we budget the time and get on with it:)
I had exactly the same problem with the back neckline, I assumed it was me but perhaps it was an error with the pattern. I also made exactly the same tuck in the list back bodice (now changed on pattern piece), and have the same pulling at the back neckline as you.
Your version us very cute though!
The fabric is adorable and the dress looks so cute. Congrats!
I always create my own patterns and still sometimes you only find out which adjustments need to be made at fitting. It is a bit frustrating to cut and sew over and over again, but it is part of the process of having one-of-a-kind outfits with perfect fit. Please keep sharing your sewing experinces!
Ooh what fun, nice to see a gathering of feline sewists!
Your dress looks lovely! I love the style, the back is really cute and looks especially cute in the kitty fabric. So very interesting about the pattern faults, look forward to knowing if others have had the same issue.