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.

Tilly and The Buttons Mathilde

This is my first version of Tilly and the Buttons first commercial pattern Mathilde.  I am wearing this top a LOT, which is a good sign from a wearable muslin.

Please forgive the wrinkles in the back of the shirt.  This was the second day of wearing it and I’d just got out of the truck having been sat in the hair dressers chair for an hour having a practice hair do for babyiest sister’s wedding!  It’s a downfall of using cotton, presses well but also creases well!  Do you like my builder chic back drop – the extension at the back of the house is slowly getting there…

Mathilde

I love this top. The tucks are a cute touch that adds some lovely interest and the sleeves are girly without being OTT. It came together with no problems at all. Well, nearly no problems and the two issues I had to deal with were not the fault of the drafting!

The print of the fabric isn’t on grain so I had to make a decision whether I worried about grain or the print looking right. I went with the print! This meant making the tucks was a little more difficult than it had to be as I was arguing with the way the fabric wanted to fold. Nothing a hot iron and a lot of steam couldn’t fix though! The tucks aren’t perfect but I’m happy enough with them.

The other thing I needed to fix was the cuff band but I only did this after wearing it a few times. The cuff bands for the size 4 needed to be just a smidge bigger as I have larger forearms in contrast to Tilly. But then Tilly is of a far more delicate build than me! Basically the cuffs were a touch too small to move up my forearms easily which caused the shirt to pull when I reached forward.

It was easily fixed; I just removed the cuffs and re-stitched them with a 1/4″ seam allowance rather than a 5/8″ allowance. Thank goodness that I’d ignored the trimming down your seam allowance bit of the instructions when I’d attached them otherwise I’d have been in a lot of trouble.  Having said that, not trimming the seam allowance down makes the cuff much thicker and therefore also tighter.  That issue is definitely down to me!

So with the cuffs amended, I regathererd the sleeves and reattached them. No more binding when I reach forward.  The only other alteration was my usual FBA.  As a wearable muslin this top is an absolute win to my mind!  I may give myself just a little extra room across the bust in future versions though as whilst it’s not noticeable when I’m wearing it, there does seem to be some horizontal pull lines there in the photos…

I have some crepe backed satin in a deep purple that I am going to use to make another version of this top, but with a lace overlay at the yoke. I may omit the pleats though and substitute in some gathers instead  as stitching pleats into a satin fabric scares me!  I’ll use the matt crepe side as the right side I think.  I’ve also found some crepe navy polkadot fabric which is also destined to be another version and a complete rip-off of Tilly’s Great British Sewing Bee version, complete with red piping.  I need to finish my V1247 top first though!

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons: Mathilde
Fabric: Shore Line ‘Life Rings’ in Ocean from Fabric Rehab (2m)
Thread: Dunelm Mill
Buttons: Ex Royal Navy via eBay that have been in my button jar for years!

V2903 – Progress at last!

Dining Room Sewing! (At the point of doing this post, it was tidier when I started…)

Today, I moved all my sewing gear downstairs.  My machine, the serger, the iron and my little ironing board.  All of it got trucked downstairs and onto our dining room table.

My sewing table upstairs

Whilst I adore my little sewing room, when I want to put in some serious hours on a reasonably big project, there just isn’t quite the room I need on my table upstairs.

Downstairs, I’m all set up and there’s space to pin on the flat without ending up on the floor!  There’s also enough space for the table to take the weight of the dress.

I set them all up and then set to the serger with a screwdriver to install the new upper blade.  Man was that little screw tight!  It nearly turned into a job for Husband…  But I got there.  Everything was plugged in, cables were neat-ish and not too hazardous for a marauding toddler.

As you’ve probably guessed, panic has passed and progress is being made.  This morning I finished basting the underlinings to the fabric.  I only had to re-do one panel when I realised I had two identical side fronts and not the required mirror images!  Gotta love basting stitches for being so easy to remove…

Seam One!

And here’s the first seam.  This was done just gone 10am this morning and then carefully pressed.  Yup, that’s Boy’s work bench in the back ground!

I’ve been very very carefully putting the seam allowances through the serger with it’s lovely sharp new knife.  I did not want to inadvertently slice holes in anything as there is no way you could hide it on this fabric.  It’d mean a whole new panel.

Pretty pleat!

Here’s the front of the dress all completed, and pleats carefully pressed in and basted across the bottom.  I edge-stitched along the inside pleat to help those stay where they should.  I’m hoping a ton of steam and pressure will be enough for the outside ones!

Edge stitched inside pleat

And so far I’m one third of the way through the back with the invisible zipper all installed.  Just got to add the side panels, serge the seam allowances and then construct two more sets of pleats.

Invisible zipper! (It’s not wonky at the top, I just didn’t straighten the pull when I took the photo on the ironing board…)

Do you want me to photograph how I do the pleats?  I’m not sure that it’s to the letter of the instructions but it’s getting the finish that I want.  Holler in the comments if you do!

So I hope to finish the back tonight and add the facings.  Hopefully I’ll also get to basting the side seams and trying it on for fit and maybe even finishing the side seams…  I feel so much happier that I’ve made some progress; I’ve gone from feeling that I’m stood at the base of Everest to feeling quite calm and that this is all achievable.

Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words over the last few weeks – both sewing related and about my family.  It means a huge amount and has given me strength when I sometimes felt that I may falter.

Dad’s CT scan came back clear and there were no cancer markers in his blood.  They think the growth was a fibrosis, but the culture has grown ‘unusually quickly’.  But as my Dad said – he’d much rather it was growing quickly in a petri dish than in him.  At the moment the medical bods aren’t planning anything agressive going forwards, but will be monitoring him closely.  They’ve yet to have their meeting and give a formal report, but that’s what we know so far…

Here’s to going forwards!