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.

No 2 Past the Post: Minoru Jacket

This is my biggest project since I started sewing my own clothes:  The Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic Patterns.

I love this jacket!  I didn’t add piping as I’d planned because *looks rather sheepish* I forgot (just in case any of you were wondering where it was).

This is a substantial jacket as I made it from cotton canvas that I proofed with NikWax.  It has some heft to it, but isn’t too heavy to wear.  It’s lighter than a waxed jacket but heavier than my normal winter jacket (a ski coat).

Like others, its garnered compliments from complete strangers, which is rather flattering!  Checking the fit during the muslin stage means that I can wear it whilst driving the car and its also passed the dog walk with a toddler test.  An unexpected bonus is that pre-treating the canvas means that once mud has dried, it just brushes off.  I haven’t tested it in the rain yet – it was full on waterproofs downpours early part of last week and whilst I think this would be fine in a shower I didn’t feel up to testing in that sort of weather!

Lining Detail

The sleeves are lined with regular lining fabric so that long sleeves are a breeze when I’m wearing it.  The body is lined in cotton flannel which is sooo soft.  The side seam pockets and hood are also lined with flannel too and are lovely and cosy.  Boy likes to hide his hands in the hood and stroke the fabric if I’m carrying him.

I had a bit of a headache with the zips.  I was originally going to have plain black ones but I couldn’t find two that matched in the same gauge and that started to bug me.  Then I was in John Lewis for something and just had to pop in the haberdashery department (well, it would be rude not to) and saw reflective zips!  So I now have reflective zips on my collar and the front.  Probably quite a good idea considering how dark this fabric is and I live in a village with no streetlights…

Construction wise the most challenging bit was stitching in the ditch along the body and neck seam.  It doesn’t line up on the inside very well.  There was a lot of bulk on one side and only two layers of fabric on the other.  Thankfully it isn’t too obvious unless you’re inspecting it closely.  You want to inspect closely?!  Oh…

Can you see the wonky stitching?

When I make my summer version I will make a couple of changes in the construction though.  If I include a hood I’ll finish the seam allowances when I attach the collar to the lining and bodice before attaching the two together.  You can see the unfinished edges when you peek inside the hood pocket.  Or I may fold them into the body of the jacket instead, but that may feel a bit odd around the shoulders.  I’ll also be sure to finish every seam before topstitching for my own satisfaction more than anything else!

I will also buy three reels of thread.  I bought two for this version and only used a regular stitch for the topstitching and there was literally just a foot left on the spool at the end and the bobbin had just run out.

I’m really pleased with the fit although I need to reduce some of the ease in the waist as I’ve lost weight since fitting this and its now got too much ease there – I’ll have to futz with the elastic channel to cinch it in a bit, but it’s a good reason to have to futz really!

Adjustments made for this version:
FBA
Shortened the torso
Shortened the sleeves
Changed the hood construction to include a lining

Adjustments for future versions:
Reduce flare from waist
Reduce ease at waist
Alter construction regarding collar
Seam finish all seams before topstitching
Omit internal pockets
Add welt pockets instead of in-seam ones?