Summer daisy Belcarra

Another week, another tee shirt! Though this one is more of a blouse, I suppose…

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Its a Sewaholic Belcarra, to be exact! I’ve been eyeing this pattern since it was released, but was a bit unsure about the style on me. But then Sewaholic had a 20% off sale, so I grabbed the PDF and headed to The Fabric Store for a wee look around. I was originally after a soft, drapey (thanks to everyone who offered opinions about the correct way to spell drapey, by the way!) fabric, preferably self patterned and white. I also wanted something easy to look after, cotton or a poly blend. Instead, I ended up with this pretty silk border print. Its soft and mostly white, but thats about all it has in common with my original list of requiments! I thought it was too pretty to pass up on though, so I bought two panels in the hope that I could squeeze my pattern onto it.

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(I tried really hard to get a shot of the back, but this was as much of me as I managed to fit in the frame for some reason. After 5 similar shots, I gave up…)

The blouse was really easy to make up, I just made the plain version without the pintucks or pocket. It would have gone together in a few hours, except it was a nightmare to cut out! This is the first think I’ve made in a slippery silk, and I thought it would be ok as it was quite crisp feeling, but it still slipped and slithered and warped and just generally gave me hives as I was trying to lay out the pattern! I ended up weighing the pattern down as I usually do, then pinning it as well. I originally planned to cut it in a single layer, to minimise my fabric use, but this ended up helping me to keep everything square as well. It was with great relief that I cut out the final cuff band!

After that nightmare, I waited a few days to start sewing it together. I decided I would try to use french seams, since they always look so lovely, so it took a bit of number crunching to figure out how I should divide up my seam allowances! I’m rubbish at fractions, using imperial measurements makes my head hurt. Eventually I figured out that 1/4″ and 3/8″ made up 5/8″, so thats what I went with. Later I found the tutorial on The Grainline blog which spelt all of that out, so It was good to have my numbers confirmed! Then there was getting the general orientation of the pattern pieces right, wrong sides together first, then right sides…the only time I got it wrong was sewing up the shoulder seams, so at least they were only short lengths of stitching to unpick! I make it sound really difficult, but once I got my head around it it was all fine, and it looks lovely on the inside!

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I also had a minor wrestle with the neck band, for some reason it ended up about an inch longer than the neckline. i think I must have stretched out the bias strip as I basted it together. In the end, I just trimmed it down and re-stitched it. I also decided to hand stitch the binding down, rather than top stitch it, which I think looks better on the silk.

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I made two very minor changes to the instructions, otherwise its exactly as the pattern intended! I cut the cuff bands on grain instead of in the bias, as I wanted to use the border print, and I used a narrow rolled hem instead of folding and topstitching it up.

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I really like the pattern, but I am slightly worried that this fabric (pretty as it is) makes it a bit…mature for me. I’m considering giving it to my mum, as it might be more age appropriate for her! What do you think? Or do you think it’ll look ok with shorts and sandals and bright jewellery for summer?

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Double Feature: the Bronte top

I’ve never had much time for the Bronte sisters, I have to say. I like classic literature, but I absolutely hated Wuthering Heights when I was forced to suffer through it at school and I found Jane Eyre pretty forgettable when I read it a few years later (though I have gained a new appreciation for it after reading the hilarious and extremely clever ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde, I would definitely recommend that one!). However, the name didn’t put me off the Bronte top from Jennifer Lauren Vintage! I loved it as soon as I saw it pop up on her blog, and bought it the day it came out.

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It was so quick and easy to put together, even with the tricky looking shoulder detail. I had originally planned to follow the sewalong, as I’ve never actually managed to sew along before, I’m usually way too late to the party…but the instructions were really clear and everything matched up neatly, so before I knew it I had a finished top! Soon after that, I had two finished tops, because why stop at one when you have a good thing going?

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I cut both Bronte tops out at the same time, both out of merino (surprise!). The stripy knit I used for the long sleeved version is quite stretchy, so it fits over a long sleeved tee shirt confortably. The black knit I used for the second version had significantly less stretch, so I decided not to go down a size, even though I wanted the short sleeved version to be closer fitting. Just as well I didn’t! I’m always amazed how much fabric can affect fit, even though it seems like such an obvious consideration…

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(Cat fur optional…)

For the black version I added some cute black and white gingham buttons to emphasise the shoulder detail, as it was much harder to see in a solid colour. Looking at these photos, I think i need to go and check if I’ve sewn the buttons on evenly, the ones on the left shoulder look wonky…The bands on the stripy version are off cuts from the the same knit as the black top, I think the contrast is really nice. I’m planning another version for summer, I think some little flat bows on the wrap binding could be really cute too…

Comfort clothing- Grainline’s Hemlock

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I’ve had the Grainline Hemlock tee-shirt pattern cut out and sitting in my pattern ring binder for ages, just waiting for the right fabric. I figured it would need to be quite a light, drapey knit to counteract the boxy shape of the top, and I just couldn’t find what I was looking for! I also really wanted a floral knit, but the only ones I could find in Wellington were pretty awful. Then, on my last trip to the Fabric Warehouse, I found this awesome fabric. The wide grey and white stripes called to me in the same way that the last piece of chocolate cake does, and I just couldn’t resist. Then I had some angst about whether or not I wanted to make it into a Hemlock after all. It wasn’t as drapey as I had imagined my Hemlock fabric would be, and then I wasn’t sure if the pattern would suit me after all, and it would be a waste of my lovely fabric…then I got real, spent some time looking at other versions of the Hemlock on the internet, and decided that if I made an arse of it I could just go up the road and buy more fabric.

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And I do like it, after all that. I thought it was a bit frumpy, when I first tried it on, but after I ‘styled’ it (haha) with one of my favourite scarves and my green skinny jeans, I thought it looked better. I think it’ll look good tucked into a skirt as well, to dress it up a bit.

The only changes I made were to shorten it, shorten the sleeves and take them in a bit, and take an inch off the side seams. I also added cuff bands, as my sewing machine decided it didn’t want to sew with a twin needle anymore after doing the hem. So I showed it how well behaved the overlocker was, as punishment.

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I realised last night just how huge the holes in my wardrobe are! I have a job interview at a private hospital tomorrow (argh, talking in front of people I don’t know!!) and I really don’t have any interview-type clothes. I don’t even have a normal pair of trousers, they’re all either super skinny, jeans, or wide legged 1940’s vintage ones! All of my skirts are either short or vintage, and my weather appropriate dresses are all pretty girly-polkadots-and-ribbons sort of things. Major dilemma! At work I wear scrubs, and floral Birkenstocks (don’t judge, they’re super comfortable for running around in all day, and they’re easily washed. Don’t think too hard about why I know that…) I’ll be wearing the same stuff in this new job, if I get it, so I hope they won’t be expecting me in full business attire. It might be time to invest in (or sew) a pair of adult trousers though…

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I’m adding this photo in because my face made me laugh, and so theres a picture of the top without the scarf. Also, I really need to find a new pose…