Sewaholic’s Belcarra Blouse is a winner

After all the alterations (I needed to do two muslins of the front bodice piece), I cut and sewed Sewaholic’s Belcarra Blouse in a day.

I love it!

Here’s the completed top on Gene:

Simple lines and easy to make. A great basic top.

Simple lines and easy to make. A great basic top.

It’s an easy-to-sew top that has nice details and is very comfortable. I was hoping I could substitute tops made from Belcarra for the cheap knit Target tops I buy every year, and I think I can.

But the sewing wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through.

The neckline is finished with a bias band that is folded wrong sides together the long way, then sewn to the right side of the neckline, flipped to the wrong side and sewed down. Somehow, I REALLY goofed this up. The band piece ends up 1-inch wide when folded, and you’re supposed to use a 5/8-inch seam allowance. That would leave a 3/8-inch flap to turn to the wrong side all the way around. I used my 5/8-seam allowance pressure foot and still ended up with an uneven flap. It varied from 3/8 of an inch to 1/8 of an inch. Rather than rip it out and start again, I trimmed the seam allowance close, folded the flap to the wrong side, and used a decorative topstitch on the right side that would be sure to anchor the flap down no matter what the width.

It looked OK.

Until I attached the sleeve bands. Here’s how one looks:

These look nice and clean.

The pattern refers to this as a cuff, but I’d call it a band. The fabric is more interesting up close. You can really see the detail of the fluffy pindots here.

The bands looked so clean and nice that I decided I hated the topstitching. HATED IT.

So I ripped out all the topstitching and attempted to rip out the neck band seam. Well, I had trimmed the seam allowance so close that I was just ripping the edge of the neckline.

So I cut it all off as close as I could. Ugh.

I had some single-fold bias tape in my stash, and I’ve always liked the clean look that makes when used on a casual neckline, so I sewed right sides together, flipped it to the wrong side and sewed it down. Here it is, inside and out:

This looks SO much better than the topstitch I had before.

This looks SO much better than the topstitch I had before.

Nice and tidy inside.

Nice and tidy inside.

Clean and pretty. And still done in a day.

Eliminating the neck band would reduce the fabric needed by a decent amount, so I may skip it in the future and just use bias tape. Or, I might see if I can actually execute the neck band properly. I think I’d take a smaller seam allowance next time.

Here’s the completed top on me:

Bel

It’s very comfortable, and I’m happy the fluffy dots are straight across the fabric. The dart looks a little droopy. I think that’s because it’s a smidge too low. Perhaps I should press my darts up instead of down. (Photo by teenage daughter Maddie.)

As well as this fits, I will make a few adjustments next time around:

  • I’ll raise the darts another 1/2 inch.
  • I’ll lengthen the top 1 inch so I can do a more substantial 1 1/4-inch hem instead of a 5/8-inch double fold hem.
  • I’ll straighten the side seams. I don’t need hip room. At all.

With these adjustments, I’ll have a perfect top that sews up quick. I’ll keep it in mind for any nice cottons I see at Jo-Ann’s. I’ll be looking to the great Belcarra Blouses I saw on Sewaholic’s site (I particularly like the ones in eyelet) for inspiration on other ways to use this pattern.

It’s so satisfying to sew up a quick project here and there. Now I want to make a full denim or chambray skirt to wear with this top.

 

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2 thoughts on “Sewaholic’s Belcarra Blouse is a winner

  1. Penny Dresses & Me September 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm Reply

    Lovely Belcarra! I love the fabric you’ve chosen 🙂

    Like

    • Jeanne Marie September 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm Reply

      Thank you! I really want to whip up another one or two.

      Like

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