Sunday, 7 December 2014

Simplicity can be difficult - a silk Belcarra

I finished this project this morning, after starting it in July! The Belcarra was supposed to fill a gap in my summer work wardrobe. I wanted something simple, cool but stylish. Sounds easy, right? I mean the pattern isn't a difficult one to stitch and it should have been completed in a day or so. 

Silk Belcarra

Why did it take me five months to complete? The fabric. I choose this delicious red silk with white stars. I picked it up in Zadar, Croatia on holiday last year. It is lightweight, drapes beautifully and feels like air next to the skin. Needless to say, it is incredibly delicate and this makes it difficult to sew with. You can't put much pressure or tension on it otherwise you're left with pulls throughout the fabric. 

I tried everything I could think of when putting this together. I cut the fabric single layered on the carpet which provided more grip and stopped the fabric moving. I used small needles and tissue paper over and under the fabric to protect it from the feed dogs and needle. Gently hand stitched the hem and neckline in an attempt to ensure that the stitches are invisible. Unpicking is extremely difficult as the fabric retains the original stitch marks. All of this required patience, which I only had in small quantities for this project. Thankfully there aren't too many pulls in the fabric but those that are there are along the neckline and the sleeve bands. 

Silk Belcarra

Construction of the Belcarra is relatively simple. I used French seams throughout as it provides such a delightful finish but this would look just as good if you used another method. Attaching the band to the sleeves was the most difficult part as the silk wasn't stable enough. In addition, I don't really like the method of leaving 1.5cm open at the edges as I find it hard to match up the seam lines neatly. I didn't make any changes to the pattern, except my usual grading between sizes although I probably should have moved the neckline inwards by a couple of centimetres so it doesn't slip to one side and reveal the strap of my cami. 

Silk Belcarra

While I missed the option of wearing this during the summer, the colours lend themselves very well to Christmas, don't you think? This was the impetus behind finally getting this top finished. I will definitely be wearing this a few times this month as the party season gets into full swing but I'll be honest - I'm not sure how long it will last. The seam lines and hem are causing some concern due to the pulls but still, it will be fun to wear it even if it is only a few times! 

Are you stitching anything fun for the party season? 

14 comments:

  1. The fabric looks gorgeous Claire, but I can imagine it was an absolute nightmare to sew with! Very appropriate top for Christmas though - it was obviously meant to be ;)

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. Lucky Christmas is just round the corner otherwise this might not have got finished for another year!

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  2. It looks great! I hate when a simple project becomes a difficult one - it can kill my sewing mojo.

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    1. Yes, I tend to switch to another project pretty quickly if it becomes too difficult! Hopefully it doesn't happen often for you.

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  3. Sounds tough, but looks great. And yes, definitely a good Christmas option :)

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  4. I'm so glad you finished this - that fabric is too lovely to waste! I've just muslined my Xmas dress. A vintage pattern!

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    1. It is gorgeous fabric and I felt guilty when it was in the UFO pile for months. Ooh, looking forward to seeing your dress - I love vintage patterns. Which one are you using?

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  5. Congrats on finishing it! Isn't it satisfying when you take an UFO off your pile? It is a beautiful shirt, and very appropriate for the festive season =)

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    1. Thanks. It is so satisfying - especially after so long!

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  6. Wow! Your top is gorgeous, and the silk looks amazing. It was definitely worth taking your time over.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. Now it's complete I agree with you!

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  7. I think it is perfect for Christmas - it is gorgeous. I'm working on a Christmas star quilt but progress is slow but then again I wouldn't even be attempting it if I hadn't been inspired by all your lovely sewing this year. Happy Christmas Claire and I hope you enjoy wearing your beautiful Belcarra.

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    1. A Christmas quilt is a great idea! I'm sure it will look great once you have finished it. I'm really pleased to hear that you've found inspiration here - it's nice to have been of some help!

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