Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic

Hello my lovelies!  I’m so excited to share with you the Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic!  Back in February I got an email to ask if I wanted to test the pattern and after doing a little shimmy of joy I sent back a very happy ‘yes please!’ to Tasia.

You’ve seen the Belcarra Blouse quite a bit on the Sewaholic Blog already as Tasia was wearing it to model the Gabriola maxi skirt.  It is such a quick make but has some lovely details that really set it apart from your usual knit T’s.

Belcarra 2

View A is a simple raglan sleeved top with bias cuffs, View B has the cute pleat / tuck details and View C has the little pocket.  Me being me just had to overload my tester version with all the details so I made View B with the addition of the pocket from View C.

There are no darts in this top so it’s quite a loose fit but to accommodate the bewbs I did need to do an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment).  I used the ‘Fit for Real People‘ Method which adds a side dart.  I did consider rotating the dart out but this added more fabric to the front and that’s not a look I’m a fan of.  However, Stitches and Seams has an FBA method that gets rid of the side dart and that extra fabric.  I’m going to give this a go on my next version.

Whilst I love the fabric I made this top from (a japanese slubbed cotton) it is probably a little too stiff for this stort of top – something much more liquid and flowing would give softer lines and would not crease nearly as much as mine does!  As a result of my fabric choice, my version looks far better tucked in than it does left out.  I wear it a lot to work with this Rachel Comey for Vogue 1247 skirt that I made over a year ago which is another wardrobe staple.

Belcarra 1

In the defence of my fabric choice, because of the slubs in the weave it makes it really easy to find the grain line and also makes the bias areas (cuffs and neck binding) a bit more interesting than just a change in direction of the print.  You could have a lot of fun with stripe placement on this top!

This is a really satisfying and fast make.  It has the potential to be a wardrobe staple depending on your fabric choice and it wouldn’t surprise me to see people with multiples of these in their wardrobes.  I have a number of future versions planned including one with lace sleeves (omitting the pleats and cuff) as I think that will look really cute with a solid coloured bodice.  I have a couple of other drapy fabrics in the collection that are destined for this top now too, particularly as it’s not too fabric hungry – mine came out of less than 2 yards of 44″ fabric.

Who knew that something as simple as a T could be made so interesting?!  Thank you for the experience of pattern testing for you Tasia, I loved every second of it.

Not Waterproof, But Shower Proof?

This is my water test on my NikWax’d and dried fabric.  And you can finally see an accurate representation of the colour!

I simply flicked a load of water on it and ignored it for five minutes- not hugely scientific!  Most of it has beaded on the fabric which is good, although a little has soaked in, but hasn’t spread.  Tasia did a post about assessing waterproofness (is that even a word?!) of fabric yesterday.

So, my jacket isn’t going to be waterproof, but isn’t going to be a sponge in a short shower either which is great!

I’ve also constructed my muslin and believe me when I say that Tasia has produced not only a pattern that looks pretty good in calico, but also sews up super fast!  I only used the pieces for the outer, but even then, including pining in elastic at the waist and making the cuffs and attaching them, it was sewn up in about 90 minutes!  It looks like the envelope illustrations too!

I do need to make a few changes though to perfect the fit:

The first is to shorten the torso length by about 2″.  I don’t know if my waist is high or I just have a short torso, but the elastic looks better 2″ higher than the placement marks!  So I’m going to take a tuck out above the elastic and see what that does rather than just moving the elastic placement.

The length as is though is just perfect for me, so I’ll be adding any length I take out back into the skirt part of the jacket.

I also need to take about 3″ of length out of the arms as even with the sleeves folded back at the cuff they’re a touch too long, so I’ll pin that out as well and see what I think.

Other than those pretty simple adjustments and the original FBA I think it’s pretty much there.  Once I’ve made the adjustments I’ll subject you all to the muslin to make sure that there isn’t anything I’ve missed…

What Is This?

This is a rather lovely (in my opinion) fabric that I bought on Etsy.

It's lustrous, matte and drapes beautifully. But what is it?

The seller wasn’t sure what it was made from and could only tell me this:

“5 yards – 62″
vintage silky fabric
never used
silky material – not sure weather satin or silk”

It arrived a while ago, I’ve only just got round to thinking about using it and I want to pre-treat it before I do.  Which means I need to know what it is!

So, using Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide I did a burn test on a bit of it.

Singed!

It burns – fast!  With a yellow flame, and has an after glow that creeps.  It smells like paper when it burns.  The burnt edge is tinged brown and the ash (what little there was of it) was light and fine.

This makes me think that it’s either Rayon, or a Cotton Rayon mix.

The burn characteristics for Cotton, according to the book, are:
Burns rapidly, yellow flame; continues burning afterglow.  Smells of burning paper, leaves, wood.  Brown-tinged end; light-coloured, feathery ash.
and for Rayon:
Burns rapidly; leaves creeping ember.  Smells of burning wood.  Very little, light fluffy ash.

So I think it’s a cotton satin or a cotton/rayon satin.

So as far as pre-treating it goes, I think I’ll hedge my bets and go with the treatment for Rayon which according to the book the washability is dependent on the type, weave and garment design!  It does help a bit though by saying that it should be a mild detergent and hand washed in luke warm water and that excess should be pressed out not wrung or twisted.  Or do I get brave and bung it in the machine?!