Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse: SOS Edition

Dudes, I love the start of September. It always reminds me of the beginning of the school year and everything associated with it: starting the next step up on the educational ladder, whether you wanted to or not. A new set of surroundings shared with familiar people and, often, brand new people. The air starts to cool down in the mornings, causing what I like to call the “wardrobe fake-out”, or the fact that it becomes a real challenge to dress properly for the weather without carrying around a lot more stuff (coats, umbrellas, sunglasses) with you as you go about your business. Back to school shopping means that you begin fall with a lot of new stuff, which did much to raise your credibility in the jungle that is the school yard. Anyway, early fall has a lot of positive associations for me, so I’m totally fucking excited to have the next few days off from work to enjoy this time!

Of course, not everyone feels the same way I do:


Sorry, kid. Hopefully you’ll see one day how great September can be.

Anyway, DAYS OFF!! My favorite time to start new sewing projects is during long weekends, which I think is because I don’t enjoy sewing in short spurts–It’s not as easy to pick up and put down a sewing project as it is with a knitting project, so extra days off give me a chance to make real progress on a project that I begin from scratch. Because my version of a hedonistic pleasure-filled long weekend is all about makin’ shit, I’ve got several projects on the go already (a cardigan, a blanket, a loaf of bread, a fancy dinner), and I promise to let you in on all of them eventually (maybe not the dinner, though. Those tend to get lost in the heat of the moment). But today I need help with my sewing project, the Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns. In keeping with my promise from last time to start showing my projects at their less-than-perfect stages, here are some poor quality shots of my muslin, starting with the front:


And the back:


Okay. Here’s what I’ve done with this pattern:

  • Size: 10
  • Modifications: 1 inch FBA using the seam method of alteration from Fitting and Pattern Alteration (non-affiliate link… I just really like this book!). This was a way quicker method for doing the FBA than the traditional FBA and it gave the perfect amount of ease I was looking for without distorting the pattern or giving me an unwanted dart.
  • Fabric: Plain muslin. Pressed but not washed.

Here’s what I already know:

  • It’s quite long, but I’ve decided that I like the idea of a wide hem on this one, and the waist shaping hits in just the right spot, so I’m going to keep the length as is.
  • I need a sizeable swayback adjustment… it looks to be about 1 inch or so, as you can see (or, I hope you can see) from the second picture and all the fabric pooling / bunching in the small of my back.

I mostly like the fit of this so far. I’ve chosen to make a version with less ease than the designer recommends, mainly because over-sized silhouettes tend to swamp my small-ish frame due to my large bust, which turns shapeless garments into tents on me. Even with less ease, though,  I can get this on and off easily and have no need for a closure (zipper or buttons).

Okay, so far, so good. But where I need help is in deciding what to do with the front. To me, it seems like there is far too much fabric blousing up over my bust and just under my shoulders. See? No wrinkles at all, but it just looks like too much extra. Now, watch what happens when I pinch out the excess, starting from my apex:


The fit, as you can see, is way better with the excess pinned out all the way to the shoulders. But, there are a few issues:

  • I have no idea how to approach making this adjustment on a raglan sleeve top. Fitting and Pattern Alteration doesn’t provide any guidance here either.
  • If I do end up making this alteration in conjunction with the swayback, the top becomes more of a challenge to get on and off as-is and will almost certainly need an invisible zipper down the side or center back.
  • In looking at other examples of the Belcarra Blouse on the internet, it seems that everyone else’s versions of the top look pretty blousy in the exact same location, but the blousy-ness is not exactly unattractive. Perhaps the stiff muslin is making this part of the top look worse than, say, a navy silk twill with  excellent drape might, and no adjustment is needed in this area after all?

Sewers of the Internet, I hope you can help me! Here are my questions to you:

  • Should I take out the excess fabric from the upper chest to the shoulder? If yes, how do I go about making this alteration?  Bear in mind that the shirt front AND the sleeve front need to be adjusted here.
  • Does anyone have any recommendations for how to do a swayback adjustment of about 1 inch without completely distorting the pattern?


  • Should I call it a day on this pattern and save my good fabric for a t-shirt that will look better on me?

Your advice is most gratefully appreciated!!