Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Sewing Pattern from Sewaholic Patterns! The Belcarra Blouse

Sewaholic Patterns does it again...creates another fabulous design! And we're so lucky to have this pattern in stock! This semi-fitted, pullover blouse creates the illusion of a loose fitting blouse, with shaping in all the right places. 


We have this pattern in stock! Click here to buy it now!

The pattern calls for lightweight woven fabrics to be used. We have a nice selection of wovens in both natural and synthetic fibers. Here are some of my favorite picks: 


This gorgeous Clematis Blue China Silk would be perfect in this blouse, especially in view B, which has pleats along the shoulder line.



Light pink and blush fabrics are trendy this season. This Dusty Pink Poly Crepe de Chine would make a lovely blouse!



This Orchid Stripe Silk/ Cotton Voile is the NOW color! (2014 Pantone Color of the Year!) Lovely color with a delicate stripe. 



This Abstract Swirls Silk Chiffon, a designer fabric, would be fun to play with print placement. 

This is just a sampling of the fabrics that are great for this blouse. Browse through the website and pick your favorite fabric. If you purchase something from the website, don't forget to purchase the pattern! 

Share with us what fabric you would pair with the Belcarra Blouse! Copy a link from our website below and we will pick at random, a winner, to get the Belcarra Blouse pattern for FREE!! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew-Along: Sleeves

We're in the home stretch! Just the sleeves and the finishing touches...then we are done! If you're following our Flickr page, you can see the progress that is being made by many of our participants. Click here to see what's going over there. We even have two ladies that have been sewing their dresses together! What a great thing to do with your sewing friends!

Today's step focuses on the sleeves. This pattern has two options: short sleeves and 3/4 length sleeves with a tab. Sewing the sleeves to the dress is a pretty straight forward process, but I will share a trick that I learned in setting the sleeves. I used the 3/4 length sleeves with a tab, so that is what I will focus on.   Also, I usually have to grade my sleeves to fit to my liking, so I will share that information with you too.

We won't be creating your regular 3/4 length sleeve with this dress...there is a tab! Sew together the tab like the directions state. Sew a buttonhole as directed. I decided not to include buttonhole directions in this step because every sewing machine does it a little differently. I have a Bernina and I love that it has a memory function to save the size of the buttonhole so each one can be the same. No guessing on my part! 

I never sewed a buttonhole onto a knit before. This was somewhat challenging. The stitches creating the buttonhole were not as close as I would have liked. You can see that in the photo below. (See the white sticking out through the stitches!) Plus the top-stitching around the tab didn't get as nice as I would have liked, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.


And of course because I'm the "figure it out as I go" type, I've now looked up how to eliminate these problems! The Last Stitch has a great tutorial on sewing buttonholes on knits. Johanna suggests using interfacing to stabilize both sides of where you are putting a buttonhole. Because we already interfaced one side of the tab, I would recommend cutting a small piece of the same interfacing you used for the tab and fuse it on both sides of where the buttonhole will be going. If your fabric is heavier than an ITY knit, interfacing on one side of your tab should be fine.  If you have a suggestion, please share!

Now it's time to sew the tab on to the sleeve. Hopefully you marked the tab placement on your sleeve! When the sleeve is finished, the tab will cleverly gather up your sleeve for a really nice RTW touch!



I don't know about you, but I find that most patterns make their sleeves huge. Of course there are so many shapes and sizes to accommodate, so if you're more thin armed, this step will work for you. I did not want the sleeve to be baggy, so I measured my arm circumference to alter the sleeves. I measured the circumference of my upper arm and slightly above and below my elbow. 

Upper arm measurement: 12" around


Elbow Measurement: 10" around


I don't want the sleeves to be skin tight, so I pinned about 3/8" more than my measurement. The top of the sleeves, which will connect to the dress, was close to the measure of my arm circumference, so I did not change that, but used that as the starting point for tapering. I marked 10 3/8" near the elbow then, tapered from the top of the sleeves to my markings. 



Trying on the sleeve for size! The purple line shows the 5/8" seamline. The pink line shows the grading done to make the sleeve fit to my liking.  Because this will  end up being a 3/4 length sleeve, I did not measure my wrist to fit the sleeve. You can see in the photo below that it is looser at the wrist. Since it will be bunched up in the tab, I wanted to make sure I had room to move! 



Use a 3" hem on the sleeve, press to get a nice clean fold and you're finished! 



Just attach the sleeves to the bodice and try it on. How does it feel? Share your progress photos on our Flickr page! Or share a photo (link) with us in the comments section.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Reader's Pick Sew Along #5 - Attaching Skirt and Bodice; Inserting Elastic

In today's step, I will focus on inserting the elastic. Before you do this, be sure to attach the bodice to the skirt pieces, matching side seams and other markings. Use the waistline marking as your seam allowance. Then sew a second seam line 1/4 or so from the edge of the fabric, leaving an opening for you to insert the elastic. You've now created the elastic casing! 





When first looking at this pattern, I didn't realize it had an elastic waistline. It actually made me happy because then any size adjustments can be altered with the elastic! 

I had someone ask me in a previous step what elastic to use. There are a variety of different elastics out there, but two of the most common are woven and knit. Woven elastic is sturdy and knit elastic is softer. I used a woven elastic because that is what I had in my stash. (I keep a variety of different elastics on hand.) But if I had the option, I would probably pick a knit elastic because the knit I made the dress with is a lightweight knit. So I would say it is personal preference. When you start using wider elastics, you will notice a big difference between knit and woven. Then I would say that you should select one over the other depending on your project.

If you're new to sewing, maybe you've never inserted elastic into a garment. I use a safety pin to fish it through the casing. I have the safety pin "stitched" through the elastic so that the elastic does not bunch up on the pin as you fish it through. As I was fishing the elastic through, I couldn't get it through the pocket area very easily. Because of all the thicknesses of fabric, it was hard to pick the right slot. (It's hard to explain it until it happens, so I'm sure you will find this problem when you do it too!) I had to keep moving the safety pin backwards a few inches and then trying to guide it into another opening until finally the safety pin went through. So just watch for that as you go. 



 Once you have the elastic inserted, attach the safety pin to the other end of your elastic and try the dress on. Adjust to your liking. I sew the elastic ends together by machine.  This ensures that it's not going to come apart in wearing!





Now that you have the bodice and skirt sewn together and the elastic inserted, press the casing toward the bodice and top-stitch the casing to the bodice section. If you have a hard time doing this, no worries, you can cover it up with a belt!

That's it for today, pretty easy right? Next time we will work on the sleeves. 

I know some of you have asked how long the sew-along will be and when the finished garment will be due to be entered to win a $50 gift certificate. I'm thinking we will wrap up with the sew-along late next week. Then I will be giving everyone two weeks from the last post date to finish the dress and submit it to be entered to win a gift certificate!