My sewing juices were so well revived after making my black Sewaholic Belcarra, that it wasn’t long until I had another cut and ready to go.
I saw the main fabric for this top (a printed viscose) on the Minerva Crafts website last summer and was instantly drawn to it with this vision of a Belcarra using some black trim for the cuffs and around the neck, but at £9.99 a metre it is the most expensive fabric I’ve brought so far and back then I was too scared that I would mess it up.
Now I’m trying to be less fearful and get better at embracing mistakes as part of the learning process, so decided to treat myself and I’m very glad I did!
I was rather concerned when I opened the parcel as the fabric felt crisp and stiff, not at all the drapey loveliness that I was expecting from viscose! Thankfully it soften up nicely after a pre wash. Not quite as soft and drapey as the black viscose used in my previous Belcarra (and for the contrast pieces in this one) but it still has enough drape to be suitable for this top.
One slight gripe was that the grid pattern sloped off grain about 30 cm from each selvedge and since I’d only brought a metre I couldn’t avoid using this part. You can see the pattern sloping down more on the left side of this photo, but hopefully wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t point it out!
Although not a precise grid, I did take care when cutting to try and get the pattern roughly lining up.
After taking my time cutting out, the top came together pretty smoothly. The only additional pattern change I made was to use the bias strip (half and inch narrower than the original pattern one) for a bound neckline instead of as a facing. I really like the solid black cuffs and neck edge and was even brave enough to use black thread as a contrast for the cuff and hem stitching.
I’ll move on to a different pattern next, but I doubt this will be my last Belcarra. I’m already feeling the need for an ivory or cream version for summer…
After all my recent fitting and toiling, making this Sewaholic Belcarra blouse felt wonderful! I could enjoy taking my time getting a good finish as I knew I’d have a well fitting garment at the end of it.
The black one is actually my fourth Belcarra blouse – I made this third flowery version shortly after my second from a lovely viscose fabric brought on Goldhawk Road.
For the third Belcarra, I used a narrower bias strip and sewed it on using a 3/8 inch seam allowance to make the neckline a little smaller. It doesn’t feel like the neckline actually is any smaller, but I wonder if I had stretched the neckline out a little, so for the fourth version I made sure to stay stitch the neckline as soon as I’d cut out the fabric.
I also had a valuable lesson in paying attention when using scissors near fabric when I snipped some of the sleeve while trimming the french seam. Oops! Luckily, it was only small and near the underarm so just took a little darning and isn’t really visible.
The only niggle I have with the third version is that the fold on the cuffs doesn’t want to lie flat after washing. I suspect this could mean that I didn’t cut the fabric exactly on the bias. Hence for this fourth Belcarra, I really took my time over the cutting.
The fabric for the black Belcarra is my first online fabric purchase – this viscose from Minerva Crafts. It is wonderfully soft and drapey and it comes in twelve other colours so I’ll no doubt be ordering more soon.
I had thought about going for the pin tuck sleeves version since I was using a solid colour, but a plain and simple (but well made) black top was what I really wanted. Perhaps not the most exciting blog make, but a top I am very pleased with and one that should get lots of wear 🙂
As I was so happy with my first Sewaholic Belcarra blouse, it wasn’t long before I made a second one:
This time I used cotton lawn (from Goldhawk Road), so it doesn’t drape as much as my first viscose version but it still looks ok and is great to wear in the hot weather we’ve been having in London lately.
While shopping for the fabric, I was choosing between a few lovely (but very colourful and busy) cotton lawn prints and so decided to step out of the shop for a little breather while I debated the look I wanted. But then as I was leaving the shop, I noticed this fabric by the door – pretty unassuming in comparison to the others, but I was drawn to it (and it didn’t hurt that it was a lot cheaper!). I decided to go for this one as a trial run since I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the look of the top in cotton. However, I’m now very glad I went with this simple print as it is so easy to wear. I’ve also noticed that I don’t have many light coloured tops, so this is a welcome addition to my wardrobe.
Must try to remember to give plain and simple fabrics fair consideration on future fabric shopping trips!
Since it is a simple print I thought it would be a good one to try out the shoulder pin tucks of view B. I like how this detail adds a bit more interest to the top.
Adjustments wise, I narrowed the neckline and broadened the shoulders as with my first Belcarra and I shortened the front by 1.5cm (gently curving to meet the original hem line in the back) so it sits better on me.
Not too much to say about the construction as it was straightforward the second time around. There was a bit of unpicking when I realised I’d folded to a seam notch instead of a tuck notch on my first shoulder, but luckily the holes from the incorrect stitching line pretty much disappeared with a bit of steam pressing . As with my first version I found the cuffs a bit tricky to insert, but this is definitely getting easier with practice.
My first two Belcarras are getting a good amount of wear, so there could be another one soon…
When I made a toile of the Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse the fit was pretty good, the only niggle I had was that it felt too tight across the shoulders – it was a bit uncomfortable when moving my arms and the neckline was being pulled wider.
Here’s how I adjusted the shoulders: (note – I don’t know if this is the “correct” way to do this kind of adjustment, but I was happy with the results (see my first finished Belcarra here) so thought I’d share in case it is useful to anyone else)
In the pictures, the blue pen shows the markings traced from the pattern, the red pen shows the adjustments.
- Measure 1.5cm (the seam allowance) in around the corner of the seam that connects to the blouse front (or back – you need to adjust both shoulder pieces) and the underarm seam, mark point A where the stitching lines here meet
- Draw a line from the centre of the shoulder seam notch going through point A, to the edge
- Cut along this line from each edge towards point A, do not cut all the way along – you want to leave point A as a pivot point
- Tape one side of the cut edge to some additional paper (I’ve just used standard tracing paper)
- At the shoulder seam, measure from the edge of your taped down side and mark a short line B to indicate how much you want to lengthen the shoulder seam by (I lengthened by 1.5cm)
- Pivot the free side such that the shoulder seam meets line B and tape in place
- You’ll see that the shoulder seam now has a step where you’ve broken the line. Fix this by using a French curve or go free hand to draw a new line from the lower part of the sleeve to the neckline. (You have now both lengthened the shoulder and added a bit of extra width)
- Make sure your notch is clearly visible
- If you are making view A or C of the blouse, that’s it, you just need to cut out your new shoulder piece and repeat these steps on the back shoulder
- If you are making view B, extend the tuck lines to the edge of the piece so that you have straight lines again. Repeat adjustments on back shoulder
Do you know of a different, perhaps better, way to adjust raglan sleeves for broader shoulders?
I LOVE this top! I’ve been admiring Sewaholic‘s designs for a while and am tempted by pretty much all of Tasia’s patterns. When I saw the Belcarra (beginner friendly) released and heard about the sew-along I knew this was the next top I wanted to try.
Was pretty happy when I tried on my toile as the fit was generally good without any changes. The only problem was that it felt too tight across the shoulders to the point that I’d be unlikely to wear it. I searched for raglan sleeve broad should adjustments, but didn’t find anything helpful so I made a guess at what to do (you can see what I did here). I think it turned out quite well, the top certainly feels comfortable, although that could be due to the softer/drapier fabric used in the final version. I also narrowed the neckline by 1cm as per the instructions here.
The fabric is a lovely soft viscose from Goldhawk Road. I brought this fabric on the recent NYlon meet up, it seemed to be one of the fabrics of the day as I meet quite a few other sewists who’d brought it too, look forward to seeing what they create with it!
This was my first time sewing with viscose and I love it. Needs a little more care than cotton, but I love the softness and drape, definitely think it has worked well for this top.
The top is quite straight forward to sew up, good instructions and the sew-along provides more details/photos. I did find the cuffs a bit tricky, so on the final version I hand basted them in place before sewing and was much happier with the result. I used French seams throughout, which even though there are curved seams worked well.
Please excuse the creases in the photos, I’d been wearing the top for a few hours before they were taken, will have to remember to think about that for future blog photos!
I’ll definitely be making some more versions of this top, just what I need for extending my summer wardrobe. So happy with this top that I couldn’t resist a jumping photo!
Things I learnt:
- Sewing raglan sleeves
- Sewing with viscose
- Using a bias strip as a binding
- Sewing cuffs