Monday, 26 May 2014

'Belcarra' Sewaholic Pattern review

A basic woven T style top is a holy grail for me.  Something short sleeved, slightly fitted, not tent like, relaxed and suitable for tucking in and wearing out.  I have considered the Scout but I think it is meant to be a looser fit rather than a fitted one so I haven't tried it.  When the Belcarra came out hot on the heels of the Gabriola, I raised an eyebrow and had a think.  The PDF pushed me over the edge and I thought I would give it a try.  I was really pleased with the result.

Let's back pedal a little here. I had reservations.  The pattern seemed to take a lot of pages for a simple top and there are large wastage borders on the PDF.  On the upside, there is a great use of grids on the pattern as well as the usual tester print size box and it did jigsaw together well.  As the each raglan sleeve has a front and a back piece, there are a surprising number of pattern pieces although you only need print what you need- there are variation sleeves and cuffs for different looks.

I sewed view A with the addition of a pocket.  The instructions are detailed and have clear diagrams plus there is a sew-along for extra support.  After a little consultation on the sew-along fitting comments, I didn't do a bust adjustment.  I cut a size 4 initially (the fit is quite generous) but I made changes.

I ended up taking all of the sides in to size 2, and size 0 over the hips straightening out the curve.  I generally find that a hip curve seam doesn't work on me, I need more of a gentle diagonal from waist to hip.  The sleeves are trickier than they look, they need easing to fit and to match the notches but it is this that gives the drape and fluidity to the top. The cuffs are a little tricky too, I needed to go slowly but they worked first time and are a neat finish.  They are cut on the bias so would be great in a contrasting stripe.

At the neckline, I used a linen bias binding and took a smaller seam to make the neck a little higher and keep my bra straps under wraps- seemed to work out just right although this area is easy to alter and is detailed in the sew along.  

My fabric is a mongrel mix of unknown linen and something manmade but it  has good floppy drape to it and that is something this top really benefits from.  I would not sew this in quilting cotton, even Art Gallery quilting cotton.  It needs double gauze or lawn or even silk.  A lightweight viscose jersey would be good too although I'm not sure how the neck finish would work.  Hopefully that is covered in the sew-along.

I took 1.5" off the hemline at the bottom and turned up a 1.5" hem (with quarter inch raw edge turned under).  Now I've worn it out to the beach for a dog walk, I can whole heartedly give it the thumbs up.  This is the short sleeved basic that I have been looking for!    It is a relatively quick sew which gives you time to sew everything really carefully for a good quality finish- no buttons, no zips!  I didn't use french seams as each inner seam is curved and I didn't want to compromise this so I served the raw edges.  It is a well designed pattern, deceptively simple and nicely cut.  I can't wait to try more, especially the sleeves with tuck detail.

Pattern: Sewaholic Belcarra Available here as paper pattern, here as PDF
Fabric: Linen mix.  Other suggestions are lawn, voile, double gauze, lighter weight jersey
Size: Cut size 4 upper body, size 2 at the side seams/underarms grading to 0 at lower hips side seam.
Modifications:  Removed 1.5" at hem.  Sewed ¼" seam at neck where bias finished the edge

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  1. I liked the look of this pattern, but didn't really want to pay £13 plus postage for a simple top. When I saw there was a pdf available, a couple of weeks, I took the plunge. Although I hate all the sticking together. Your version looks great and I'm looking forward to following the Sew a Long posts.

  2. This shirt is completely, totally adorable on you. What a great fit and flattering pattern.


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