I'm a huge fan of Sewaholic Patterns as is evidenced here here here here and here and I always look forward to the new patterns. However, I was on the fence with the Belcarra blouse. I initially thought it was really casual, which I don't really need more of; I'm really on a mission to make more work-appropriate garments. But then I saw Miss Crayola Creepy's version and I became convinced that it could fill a void in my office wardrobe. The fabric (color, print, and material) can really transform this pattern.
Despite knowing better, I used a quilting cotton to make this version. It's a Pat Bravo design "premium" quilting cotton fabric (NouvElle - Femme Fatale) that I bought at Sew Modern. I was hoping to find some rayon challis or voile, but I kept going back to this print even though I knew I shouldn't be using quilting cotton for shirts/blouses. However, I just couldn't pass up this beautiful print. In case you're wondering if this blouse can be made in a quilting cotton, yes, technically it can, but it would be so much better in a fabric with a lot more drape and a lot less stiffness. Let me tell you why.....
While I love the print and think it's absolutely beautiful, the fabric type is all wrong for this pattern. It's interesting how when you first try on a garment after making it you may think, "it looks ok, but I could see how maybe I should have tweaked this", but after you wear the garment for a full day you really notice what fits well and what doesn't.
I wore it to work the other day and all day I couldn't stop futzing over my blouse, tugging it down, moving my bra straps, making sure the front neckline didn't poof out in front fully exposing my bust.....ugh. I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how I could modify it so I wouldn't risk exposing myself with every slight movement. I'm thinking of adding some pleats or tucks to the front neckline.
For awhile I thought maybe I needed a forward shoulder adjustment, but nope, the shoulder seam is perfectly fine when the blouse is tugged down and I stand up straight with my shoulders back (or in other words, I hold myself in a perfect posture). But as soon as I start moving, especially hunched over my keyboard, all hell breaks loose.
I tried capturing these movements in the photos, but every time I took a photo I was disappointed to see that it looked fine. I swear it doesn't look fine in real life! The quilting cotton is way too stiff and every time I move it just poofs out. I most definitely should have used a fabric that drapes well (and so should you!).
Anyway, enough complaining about my poor fabric choices.....on to the pattern.....I made the Belcarra in a straight 0 with no modifications other than the cuffs. I didn't even shorten the blouse, but I think I should have shortened it about an inch. I would like to wear this blouse untucked most of the time and I think it's currently a tad bit too long.
I had a really difficult time sewing on the cuffs. I don't know if I stretched the sleeves during cutting or construction, but they were significantly longer than the cuffs and I pretty much either had to gather the sleeves or stuff them in near the underarm seam (that's the route I took....why??? i have no idea because it looks ugly.) I ended up sewing on the cuffs differently than instructed. It was really late at night when I was finishing it and didn't want to take out my serger one last time to finish the seams. So I sewed the cuffs on the wrong side of the sleeves, then turned the cuffs over to the right side and stitched them down. I'm actually strongly considering removing the cuffs and just turning the sleeve hem under because my massive guns feel too constricted.
In case you can't tell in the photos, there is a lot of extra fabric at the high bust edge/inner armhole. I think I need to tuck out an inch of fabric between the bust and shoulder. Also, the blouse is a bit snug across my bust so I plan on grading out to a size 2 just at the bust.
Overall, I like this pattern. It looks basic and simple, but there are so many options for customizing it that once I get the fit down right (and use the correct fabric type), it could be a great block to make a variety of blouses. What do you think??
I bought the pdf pattern and was very impressed to see it included an index of the sheets and clearly labeled which pages you would need to print out for each version. That is a detail I think most pdf pattern users would appreciate.