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Finished Bellini

I like to let the hype die down with pattern companies and patterns when they appear (too much hype on the interwebz in general!), but I kept going back to the Martini dress from Capital Chic Patterns.

I like the cropped view, so when I got that pattern I got the Bellini as well since I always like tops. I wear jeans to work most days after all! It also so happens that they have a sew along, so perfect timing?

The first thing I liked about this blouse happened right after I opened the zip file I received by e-mail. It's only 15 13 pages long! Anyone who tapes PDF patterns together will know this is a really nice achievement - only 13 pages is extremely good (the last two are just blank pages). In the end I printed only 12 pages since page 13 is the scalloped collar and I'm not a great fan of those - I do however, like scallops in general. The eating kind.


I started by comparing the pattern pieces to my sloper:

They looked similar enough, although notice how the front shoulder seam is a good 2inches lower than my sloper's front shoulder. The rest looks OK. I wasn't sure about the shoulder seam, so I decided not to go with my Liberty fabric for this make.


I used the same cotton fabric as for my blue afternoon blouse. Not sure what type of cotton it is, but something light - a voile perhaps. This fabric isn't great now  - actually I decided while sewing this up that it's pretty terrible, all things considered. As an aside, I bought this fabric at the same time as a lovely lovely other cotton which I ruined on an ill-fitting Laurel blouse. Talk about priorities.


Construction went together relatively easily. I had to revert to instructions for the collar. It was a new-to-me method because the blouse has facings, but the collar itself is finished cleanly with the raw seams to the inside, so you have to do some strategic clipping to get things to align. It was a bit fiddly, but easy enough overall. The drawings in the instructions for this stage were good, so probably achievable by an advanced beginner.

I steered away from the instructions after that, but from what I can tell from the sewalong I sewed it up in a similar manner.

The pattern calls for 5 buttons - I ended up using 4, as I never button up the collar. The only difference was that I sewed the buttons horizontally rather than vertically as the pattern instructions said. In hindsight, this was a mistake - I checked later and all my RTW shirts have vertical buttons, and there is a good reason for it: fabric pulls otherwise.

The facing felt a bit wide during construction, but then I wore it 3 times last week and I didn't think it was too wide so who knows. I finished it with hand overcasting. I did it just so it was there, but I don't think most fabrics (this cotton included) need a finish when they have fusible interfacing applied.

There is a simple row of topstitching on the collar and the fronts.

The instructions say to use bias binding for the sleeves. I'm not a fan of making bias binding, so I just used a faster method. What I did was cut 1" bias strips from the fabric (continuous bias method) and pressed in half:

Then I attached as you would a neckband: stitch band to right side of the fabric, raw edges together at 1/4". Trim seam allowance. Turn band to the inside and topstitch from the right side just inside the 1/4" line, so you catch it with the stitching. The results are similar to the use of bias binding, but I find this more straight-forward.


Let's start fit with the good parts -  no swayback necessary. This is all kinds of amazing, because I have a love-hate relationship with that adjustment. The back of the sloper predicted this would be the case.

However, after wearing it to work, I realized that the front fit is rather off. Here's a picture of the problem in a picture where I was sitting straight:

Not enough room around the bust, making the blouse ride up, which makes it show midriff and puts the collar in a weird place.

Given my sloper fit the pattern pieces, I wasn't sure what was wrong here. Now, some of this is due to the fabric, and some due to the unfortunate buttonhole direction. But overall I thought the measurement itself was off.

So I took out my measuring tape...  my back is 3/4" wider than when I made the sloper.  I also had a "shoulder measurement" taken at the gym - it's a standard one they use, and I last had it taken mid-July. They take it with arms by one's side, just underneath the shoulder joint. That measurement showed an increase as well, by roughly the same amount. My other measurements stayed the same, so this is a direct result of the gym.

So now I need a new sloper. 

I'll keep wearing this, because I like the blouse. But now that this version is done, I want to do better. I'm planning to cut a new version, one size up, which I think should do the trick since the problem is the back measurement rather than the front measurement.

I leave you with an Oktoberfest bier shot:


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