It's been almost a week since Capital Chic Patterns exploded onto the scene and I'm excited to finally show you my Bellini blouse, which I was lucky enough to pattern test! If you've been living under a rock for a week, you can read my interview with Sally here and enter her generous giveaway before the end of tomorrow.
Bellini is a loose fitting, cap sleeve blouse with two different collar options to choose from. Predictably, I went for the scalloped version to satisfy my inner granny. I also chose to work with a beautiful misty-coloured, peachskin crepe, which was a serious pain in the butt! People, there's a lot of pressing required during the making of this sweet blouse, so my advice: pick a fabric that presses well!
Troubling fabric choices aside, Bellini is all about the collar for me. It can be made in a contrasting print or even an edgy fabric like leather, but I decided to go demure and subtle with some delicate bead-work. If you like what you see, tune in tomorrow for a tutorial on embellishing your collar.
Although Capital Chic Patterns are aimed at the more experienced stitcher, I have no doubt that a confident beginner can happily tackle the Bellini blouse. It's a simple design, so if you're confident with buttonholes, the rest of the instructions and diagrams are super clear. You learn some lovely finishing touches along the way too, like bias-bound armholes, a machine rolled hem and French seams throughout.
Now, you may be wondering why I'm not modelling my beautiful Bellini and why you haven't seen a back shot yet. Well, I made some rookie mistakes, but before I go into them I want to hold my hands up and admit that they were entirely of my own making.
The reason I'm not modelling my Bellini is because it's too snug. During pattern testing the turnaround is relatively quick, so I don't often get to make a muslin. In this instance, because Bellini is billed as a loose fit, I went with vanity sizing (12) instead the size that best corresponded to my actual measurements (14). And I'm paying for it now, because I'd love nothing more than to wear this blouse! Oh, well...I'll just have to make another one pronto!
The reason I haven't shown the back yet is a little more complicated. When I came to attaching my collar, it was too wide and overlapped significant notches. I couldn't bear to start again - due to the bead-work and my tricky fabric choice - so I slightly gathered the back to make it fit. This does mean that I didn't get to try the pattern's clever method of finishing the collar and I had to draft a new facing for the back part. I know Sally's made some improvements to the pattern since I tested it, but I suspect this was never a drafting problem in the first place. I think the fact that I neglected to stay-stitch my curved edges, coupled with manhandling my collar pieces during the bead-work, is what caused this. The moral here is that it never hurts to just line everything up before you finish constructing your collar, whatever pattern you're using.
Although this tale has a particularly sad end, I really love my Bellini and I'm so pleased with my embellished collar. I seriously recommend this pattern to anyone interested in filling their wardrobe with fun and versatile blouses, which are also a breeze to make!