I love the excitement of seeing new patterns released and imagining all the possible garments that could be created from them, so a whole new pattern company popping up all over my twitter feed and blog reader not so long ago was a particular treat! You've all heard of Capital Chic by now I'm sure (if not, check out the lovely patterns!), well here's my version of the Bellini blouse.
In some ways, I'm not the target audience of Capital Chic - the patterns are designed for work and cocktail wear, whereas I work from home and unfortunately have very few occasions that call for a cocktail dress (I should probably do something about that.....), and my slightly vintage-esque tastes are fairly well catered for by many of the other pattern companies out there. However, I love the idea of patterns that focus on slightly more advanced techniques, and the designs, while not all necessarily being completely my current style, are gorgeous and a bit different. Plus, the beauty of sewing is surely that you can put your own spin on patterns to make them suit your own tastes and lifestyle.
The Bellini is a loose-fitting blouse with cap sleeves, so could work really well for lots of different styles. It also has two different collar options (the cutaway one that I used here and a cute scalloped version), and Sally suggests embellishing the collar, which I'd definitely like to try at some point.
It's designed to be worn fully buttoned up, which I like in theory and on other people, but it suits me a lot better with the top button open.
I really enjoyed sewing the blouse. It uses French seams throughout, the armholes are bias-bound and there's a machine rolled hem. I'd never done a machine rolled hem before, but the instructions and diagrams were nice and clear, and easy to follow (as they were throughout the pattern) so it was no trouble. I think the whole finish of the blouse feels quite professional - my Mum was definitely impressed with how good it looked when I showed her (I'm never quite sure whether to be flattered when that happens or slightly insulted that people didn't think my skills were up to much before!).
Generally, I'm not a huge fan of PDF patterns, and if there's an option for a paper pattern version then I'll always pay more to go for that, but this PDF was the best one I've used so far. It was possibly helped slightly by the fact that being a top, there were way fewer pages than for a dress, but all the pages fit together perfectly, and there was no wasted space on the pages.
I cut a straight size 16 and didn't need to make any adjustments. I usually always make a toile of a new pattern, but as the Bellini is loose fitting I decided to live on the wild side this time, and just did some quick tissue fitting to check that everything looked OK.
Part of the reason why I did this was because I was using some material from my stash that, while really pretty, has definitely already been more than worth what I paid for it. I got somewhere in the region of 5m of it on ebay for less than £5 years ago, and it has been used for a huge variety of accessories and things for me and for presents, so I wouldn't have been heartbroken if this hadn't turned out completely right. Luckily for me, that wasn't a problem and the blouse fits me nicely.
I wanted to pick out the red in the print so used some cute little flower buttons from a local shop. Since I've finished the blouse I've also decided that I now need a red skirt to wear with it too, so expect to see one popping up here at some point soon!
There'll probably be another Bellini at some point as well - I got some pretty viscose a little while ago that I think would work nicely for version 2. Has anyone else tried a Capital Chic pattern yet? If not, I'd definitely recommended them based on the Bellini, and I quite fancy trying out the White Russian at some point too!