Belcarra

Today I did another wardrobe clean out. I’ve done a few of these over the last couple of weeks – a lot of my clothes don’t fit me any longer because I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, and some others I’m just over.

All those geeky t-shirts? Still there, but probably they will be worn around the house more and less in public going forward. Although I stand by what I said to a friend recently – I doubt I’ll ever dress “age appropriately”. So all bets are off concerning these t-shirts …

Anyways, point in question – I need some easy basics to fill those gaps. To address this need, I decided to give my first Sewaholic pattern a try: the Belcarra blouse.

Because my relationship with woven tops is a little tense at the best of times, I went for a muslin and used  the last bit of my toile de jolie for it, leftover from this Archer.

It went mostly okay … but after I’d hacked off a good 2 inches from the length, the flare was more a peplum.

Belcarra toile back
Belcarra toile back

And there’s neckline gaping. Which, after carefully inspecting the shop photos for this, I suspect may be a pattern issue as much as one of my lacking skills.

Belcarra toile front
Belcarra toile front

So I shortened the pattern pieces along the proper lines, trued up the side seams and proceeded to make one more out of a lovely remnant I bought during  a recent visit to Brighton, in the totally adorable shop Ditto. If you ever are around there you should totally go – just not on one of the first sunny Saturdays while the Fringe Festival is on. It was madness.

Anyways, the second one came out better, although there’s still some gaping in the neck line and I might have made it a tad too short now – you can see the no longer huge but still present testament to my genetically inherited love for beer peek out here.

Belcarra fo' realz
Belcarra fo’ realz

The matter isn’t helped by the jeans I’ve shrunk out of to the point where the belt just barely keeps them on my hips …

I made my own bias, following some handy tutorials about how to do just that by using the ironing board and a sewing pin, like this one from Coletterie. Which was surprisingly easy and even, dare I say it, a little bit fun 😀

The pattern itself is alright, I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll make more of these, but maybe I just need to wear them a few more times. I suspect that a life time of wearing mostly stretch tops may mean it’ll take a while for me to get used to wovens.

 

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Simplicity 2447 – yet more gingham

After pretty thoroughly messing up my first take on this blouse, I applied the lessons learned and made another one.

I used some more gingham, though of a different colour, from my stash (to be fair, I bought this a few weeks ago to make a blouse).

Simplicity 2447 – front

This make turned out much better than the first one, and I’m fairly sure it’ll see some wear. If the weather ever allows for a lightweight blouse, that is. Seriously, Dear Great British Summer, it’s about time you drop the being british and show more of your greatness.

Weather woes aside, changes I made include:

– added 1/2 inch in width to the shoulders.

– omitted the collar, and used a smaller version of the neckband as mandarin style collar.

– made the pleat the right way round.

A change I should have made:

– place the pockets a bit deeper.

I really like how the shoulders fit now, and that the strain lines are gone. The front plackets are actually exactly the same lengths, which makes me somewhat proud.

Pretty much the only problem I ran into was the intefacing. Since the medium weight I used on the first version was a bit too stiff for my likening, I got some lightweight interfacing, which turned out not to be fusible. I’m not sure if that’s just the way it’s meant to be, or if some other reasons caused it not to bond, but no matter what I tried it wouldn’t stick to the fabric.

So after throwing it away in a fit (and pulling it back out of the trash bag – not a kitchen trash bag, I might add; when I sew I keep a plastic bag next to my workstation so I can dispose of all snips and scraps immediately), I eventually decided to just baste it on by sewing very closely to the seams, and that worked just fine.

I also interfaced only half of the plackets, to avoid them becoming too stiff.

And because the hems turned out really wonky last time, I applied my new favorite trick: a stitched “helpline”. To use this easy trick for an even hem, just sew a line of stitches 5/8″ away from the border, fold over along that line, press, fold over once more and you’ll get a super even hem line with all fraying enlcosed. Yay! Worked a charm.

Simplicity 2447 – the hemming trick

The other thing that still bothers me about this blouse is the weird ballooning effect in the back. I’m not sure if that’s just the fabric … maybe a fabric with more drape would fall better? I might also try to gather the back instead of the pleat … any advice would be great!

Simplicity 2447 – back

Now all I’ve got left to do is sew buttonholes and buttons. This is not a super complicated project, but it takes a few hours, due to the princess seams and pockets and all that jazz, so by the time I was fninished  I needed a break.

But the buttons are picked, and lucky me has a another day off this week, so hopefully the baby won’t have to wait too long to be truly finished.

Simplicity 2447 – button

Yes, these are from my Summer Sewing Swap parcel! Love ’em!

The other great new thing I used while making this blouse? I finally got around to making myself a tailor’s ham, and now I wonder how I ever lived without one.

The not so wearable muslin

A long time before I decided to jump into the deep end with VPLL1912, I wanted to make a couple of blouses. They are the type of garment I was never able to buy off the rack. Many moons ago, I used to be a very sportive person, and it has left me with shoulders too wide for any high-street designer.

So today, I finally bit the bullet and made what I hoped would be a wearable muslin.

The pattern used was Simplicity 2447:

Simplicity 2447 – click to see source.

Continue reading “The not so wearable muslin”