Belcarra blouse & Cascade skirt

Belcarra blouse:

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Pattern: Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic
Fabric: Cotton/Silk blend from Fabricland
Size: 6 (see notes below)
Modifications: french seams, narrow 1/4″ hem, shortened neckline binding by 2 cm

I was so excited about this pattern when Tasia first announced it that I built my spring wardrobe plans around it. I love how light and airy it is, and how it manages to look casual and dressy at the same time. So versatile. It really is the missing piece in my wardrobe. I have so many orphan skirts in my closet that I never wear because I have nothing to go with them. Now I do!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I pretty much just sewed this one up as is with two minor modifications. The pattern suggests a 1 1/2″ hem, which I did at first, but it looked stiff and weird with my sheer fabric, and I had a hard time easing in the extra fabric (I’m so bad at that!), so I ripped it out and did a 1/4″ hem (folded up 1/4″ twice). I think it looks a lot better with the sheer, floaty fabric I used. I’ll probably mostly wear it tucked in anyway, but I like to know I have the option of wearing it untucked.

The other change was to shorten the neckline binding by 2 cm. Again, I was having a hard time easing in the fabric, so I just chopped off the excess and treated it like bias binding. Next time I think I will just use bias binding and trim the neckline seam allowances to 1/4″ since I think the large seam allowance was what gave me trouble.

Normally with Sewaholic patterns I cut a size 6 on top and grade to a 0 in the waist and hips (since I’m not pear-shaped), but this time I decided to cut a straight 6 because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get it over my broad shoulders. I’m glad I did because I don’t think any smaller would be comfortable to put on. But I think there might be a bit too much fabric around the hips, so I might grade the next one just at the hips and leave the waist at a 6. I can’t decide if the extra volume at the hips looks weird or visually balances out my shoulders. What do you think? Honest opinions, please! I plan on making a lot of these, so I want to get it right.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I did french seams throughout, but attaching the sleeve cuffs was a bit tricky to do with all of the angles. I think it worked out reasonably well in the end.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Cascade skirt:

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Pattern: Cascade skirt by Megan Nielsen
Fabric: 100% cotton voile (Valori Wells Cocoon Shine in aqua)
Size: XS
Modifications: moved the button hole to the side seam

This one is also going to be a wardrobe staple for me. It’s the perfect summer skirt for going to the beach in. The smallest size is still 1.5″ too big for me, but I figured it wouldn’t really make a difference since it’s a wrap skirt. I just moved the buttonhole over to the side seam, and the fit is great.

This is my first time using a Megan Nielsen pattern, and I have to say, I love it! I got one of the last paper patterns, which is sad because they come with a cute little booklet, and the patterns are printed on sturdy paper, so they’re great for remakes. Unfortunately, since PDFs drive me crazy (how do you store a mass of taped up sheets?!) and since I don’t quite make their size chart, I probably won’t be making many more, but I will be making lots of this pattern!

The only thing I don’t like about this skirt is how it looks stiff and awkward at the back. I think it’s because of the fabric. I was so excited when the quilting cotton makers started manufacturing lighter weight fabrics because I thought they would be perfect for clothing, but I don’t think they quite work for the flowy, drapey styles I like. Even the organic ones have a crispness that doesn’t work for certain styles. I just spent all day yesterday making a gathered maxi skirt out of Cloud 9’s Palos Verdes voile and it was a total disaster. It looks ridiculous, and I will not be posting pictures! I think I may have to start sewing with silk and dyeing it myself…

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

So stiff and awkward from the back

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Nice and drapey from the front

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51 thoughts on “Belcarra blouse & Cascade skirt

  1. Katie

    Love the Belcarra — have to get this one! I think your instincts are right. Is grade down at the hip and remove some of that width. I do the same thing with Sewaholic patterns.

    Reply
      1. francescapia

        I think your top is gorgeous, I came here from kollabora – and so is the skirt – but the top is too big on the hips to wear out – it’s fine tucked in… And I also think you might want to try a slightly smaller size for the top – maybe muslin it

      2. Chantal Post author

        Thanks! I will keep this one for tucking in and try grading down for the next one. I don’t think I’d be able to get it over my shoulders comfortably if I go down a size on top, though. Thanks for your input!

  2. sewamysew

    You look so great in this outfit! I can’t wait to get my hands on the Belcarra. When I first saw the image of it untucked I thought it did look a little big in the hips and I think she designs for the pear shape lady. Might just be the shot though and totally just my opinion. Love them both.

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks, Amy! I chose that shot because it’s pretty true to life the way it flares out, so I think I will grade down for the next one. Thanks for your input!

      Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      White is definitely a great basic – it goes with everything! Thanks for your opinion. The consensus definitely seems to be that there is too much fabric at the hips!

      Reply
  3. Mette

    I just found your blog just now. I absolutely love your Belcarra! It looks so elegant in white cotton/silk and I’m sure you will wear it alot since it works with lots of different clothes. I made a belcarra too last week in light blue cotton voile with the shoulder pleats as a wearable muslin. But seeing yours I will have to make a simple white one too…
    I will add you on bloglovin – if you like to see my makes you can check them out on sewbluedresses.blogspot.com

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks, Mette! I have already worn it several times – it just goes with everything! A light blue voile Belcarra sounds lovely. I’d love to see it!

      Reply
  4. Barbara Drake Lasky

    I think you could take in the hip area of the blouse slightly, however I think your first creation looks lovely and not out of proportion. The skirt does not look stiff and awkward in the photos but I’m sure you are a better judge of how it flows when you wear it. This is a beautiful outfit and looks fantastic on you.

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thank you, Barbara! I will try grading down for my next one since everyone seems to be in agreement on that. Thanks for your opinion!

      Reply
  5. Nina

    I’ve hesitated to buy a Sewaholic pattern because I’m also not at all pear-shaped. Your blouse looks so nice, though, I’m tempted! I think you could take some width out of the hips, yes – but possibly you could even try going a size down all over??

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      You should definitely give sewaholic patterns a try! They’re so great (fit and instructions) and you don’t need to be pear-shaped – I normally just grade between sizes and it works perfectly. I don’t think I’d be able to go down a size all over with this one and still get it over my shoulders, but I will take in the hips a bit. Thanks for your input!

      Reply
  6. laurajane

    I think it’s a gorgeous outfit, front and back, very sleek. I understand about fighting with fabrics. I drove myself crazy yesterday trying to pattern match an oversized print pique in a shift pattern by Sew Over It. How hard could it be? I asked myself. Well, evidently too hard for me! But as far as fabrics, sometimes I’m in the mood for a crisp fluffy dress and then the quilting cottons are wonderful. But when I want soft and flowing, cotton lawn or silk are the way to go! By the way, you can get pdf patterns printed on large format printers at Staples or Office Depot. No taping! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thank you! I totally understand about matching prints – I don’t enjoy it at all, so I often just don’t bother! Large format pdfs? That sounds awesome! I assume that only works for the companies that offer large format for download? I will look into the price next time I’m at Staples. Thanks for letting me know!

      Reply
  7. crab&bee

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! I love both of these pieces. I actually like how the Belcarra flares a bit through the hips in your sheer fabric, but I don’t think I would like it as much in a thicker fabric. And I don’t think the skirt looks stiff at all!

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks, Morgan! I think I’ll try grading down for my next version and see how it compares. I agree, the flare would look really weird in a thicker fabric!

      Reply
  8. Liz

    Maybe printedsilkfabrics.com for more flowy fabric? I agree with everyone above, the hip grading is the right choice. Love the sheer blouse tucked in though, gorgeous with those french seams!

    Reply
      1. francescapia

        My comment yesterday wasn’t quite clear, I think – I wrote it just before leaving the office and didn’t re-read it… this top is gorgeous as it is on you so long as it’s tucked in, such lovely light flowy fabric needs to be generously cut. Do you really think a slightly smaller size would be hard to get on, considering it’s raglan? I wish I had the broad shouldered problem:)

      2. Chantal Post author

        I didn’t think anyone wanted broad shoulders, ha ha! I don’t think the raglan sleeves make any difference as far as getting the top on – the main difficulty is contorting my shoulders through the narrowest part of the top (the waist), and I think if I went any smaller, it would take some effort to wiggle myself in!

  9. Sarah T

    This top is lovely in the sheer fabric – you’ve done a beautiful job! I agree with you and the other readers that you could go down a little in the hips but I think the rest looks great. Just goes to show that with a simple fabric and lovely top design less can definitely be more!

    Reply
  10. Jodie

    Your Belcarra looks great! I had a pretty similar experience – trouble with the neckline and I had to sew that pivot point at the cuff underarm point really slowly to get it right. I’m pear shaped and I think that it’s a little too generous in the hips for me so I like the idea of you slimming it down across your hips. I’ve worn mine a couple of times now and it slides around on my shoulders revealing my bra straps and is generally a little looser than I’d like so I’m thinking of sizing down for my next one. Such a great top though!

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks, Jodie! That’s interesting to know that it’s generous even on a pear shape – I will definitely slim down the next one. Yours looks gorgeous!

      Reply
  11. thenerdyseamstress

    I love your top. I didn’t really consider this pattern, but may be I should reconsider it. I do think that it’s quite roomy at the hips, but one side sits differently than the other. Your skirt, I think it looks great, even from the back view!

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thank you! When I fix one side, the other side pops out, so the picture is actually true to life! Hopefully slimming it down will help for the next one.

      Reply
  12. Rebecca

    Beautiful outfit! I love the top in the sheer, and the slight flare at the hips doesn’t bother me in this material. The skirt is lovely! I want to try both patterns after seeing yours πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks, Rebecca! I could definitely see you wearing these, especially at one of your gorgeous beaches (I’m trying not to be jealous)!

      Reply
      1. francescapia

        Ha! I love broad shoulders! Everything hangs better when you have broad shoulders. And if you put on weight it’s not as obvious:). Anyway – every time I come here to post I heart your outfit – both such lovely fabrics and beautiful together as fabric and style… so long as it’s tucked in. To be honest, I really don’t like fabric topsout unless they’re worn over narrow bottoms and have a shape – unless they’re purposely boxy. Re size, I wasn’t talking about the waist. I’d think of trying a smaller bust size. not in a very fine fabric like this, but in anything even slightly heavier. I am sure the raglan shoulders will be fine on you with a bigger size too – that’s the beauty of raglans, they don’t need shoulder adjusting – but if it’s slightly narrower through the bust it might be better. About the tilting at the sides, have you snipped that curve in the side seam? It’s an instruction a lot of modern patterns leave out, but waist indentations and hip curves need clipping, just like double pointed darts do.

      2. Chantal Post author

        Thank you. I didn’t do any clipping on the curve because I didn’t think that was possible with french seams, but I think it’s just the extra fabric that makes it stick out like that. I’ll find out when I make my next one!

  13. Melina

    Your make has finally convinced me to give the Belcarra a go. It looks lovely on you! I’m off to buy the pattern right now!

    Reply
      1. francescapia

        Oh, silly me – of course you can’t clip with French seams. duh.
        I just saw your Midsummer Night’s dress – wow. So pretty. And so clever of you to gather the side bust.

  14. Carolyn

    I love the sheer blouse – so flattering and will go with everything. I agree that the hem looks a little wide around the hips, but I bet you’d be fine either way. I think we tend to be over-critical of ourselves, when nobody else would ever notice these things! Same goes for print matching in most cases. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      Thanks! It’s true, when you spend so much time looking at the details while sewing it’s hard to zoom out and see the big picture. Usually after a few weeks I forget about most of the small mistakes and I’m much happier with what I’ve made!

      Reply
  15. Katy

    Just found your blog – SUCH a beautiful Belcarra! I love the sheer floatiness of this fabric, and I’m super impressed with your French seams. Can’t wait to look through your other creations πŸ™‚

    Reply
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  17. Suzanne

    I’m not an advanced sewer, but with the Belcarra sew along going on I decided to give fitting this a go. I’m not an odd shape, but I had ridiculous flare out at the hips. I tried grading down, still flare out. But I figured out what my problem was…the back. I needed less room in the back. Once I took in the back the flare out problem stopped. And I didn’t grade down.

    Reply
    1. Chantal Post author

      That makes sense now that I think about it because Sewaholic designs for pear shapes so there would be more room in the back for a generous behind (which I wish a had a little more of!). Thanks for commenting. I haven’t cut out my next one yet, so I’ll keep that in mind when I do!

      Reply
  18. gingerjac

    Oh this is great – I was just deciding whether or not to make my first Belcarra out of a sheer-ish white fabric and so seeing yours gives me confidence that it will look great! (fingers crossed, not sure how my french seams will go!!) :))

    Reply
  19. Pingback: Beautiful Belcarra Blouses! | Ginger Jac

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