Pattern Reviews: Belcarra Top and Floral Pants [Sewaholic and Simplicity]

belcarra and floral pants 1

Patterns: Belcarra, Simplicity 1696
Fabrics: top – eyelet from Joann Fabrics; pants – stretch cotton from Metro Textile
Size: top – 6; pants – 10

Sandals: Tahari

Before I share two of my newest makes, I wanted to thank everyone for posting their thoughts on my last post about fast sewing – when it comes down to it, it’s really all about what’s right for each individual sewist, and we should (and do!) applaud each other for our efforts.  Imma do what’s right for me from here on out, ya know?

So yeah – I made pants!  Floral ones, to boot!  The fabric is leftover from the dress I made for my trip to Florida earlier this year and these pants were intended to be a muslin for this pattern, but they ended up being a wearable muslin – even better.

belcarra and floral pants 2

I would say I have the fit about 95% of the way there.  I went down a size than I would normally cut out for pants, based off of the way I wanted the pants to fit and to account for the stretch in the fabric.  The fact there’s different pant blocks based off of body shape is great too, I used the slim block based off of my measurements and the adjusting I needed to do wasn’t anything major.  I took in the inseam quite a bit in the back to get the butt to fit better, and took a small amount in at the front center crotch seam.  I think the waist could still use some adjusting.

Here’s my problem with these pants – the longer I wore them, the more they grew!!  When I left the house in the morning, they were nice and fitted, a bit loose in the waist.  By the time I got to lunch, these pants were huge on me all over – maybe because of my body heat and sitting at my desk all morning?  Luckily I had a pair of jeans to change into (I was travelling that day), otherwise I would have needed a safety pin or something to keep these up.  I never saw a baggier-butt pair of pants in my life.

Why did this happen with my stretch cotton, oh wise sewists of the sewing blogosphere?  I’m planning on making more of these pants in stretch cotton after I tweak the fit a little more.  After I washed the pants, they snapped back to normal, but I can’t always change my pants halfway through the day when they stretch out again, hahahaha.

belcarra and floral pants 3

Can I get a “what what” for faux welt pockets?!  They’re my new favorite sewing detail.  I don’t need real welt pockets in my pants, and I never use my back pant pockets, but I like having the look of a pocket on my backside.  They need to be lowered a bit on the next pair, they’re up a bit too high for my liking.

belcarra and floral pants 4

On to Belcarra – this is my go-to summer top this year.  It’s a beautifully drafted pattern!  The shape is really flattering – I don’t feel like I’m wearing an oversized woven top like some other patterns I made in the past.  Raglan sleeves are always a winner with me as well.

belcarra and floral pants 5

Since I made this, I’ve worn it several times already, and I have plans to make a few more with some variations.  This top goes together so easily (I think it took me two hours max to cut/sew this?) and can be paired with high waisted skirts, skinny jeans, jackets, you name it  – this is a brand new TNT for my sewing pattern arsenal.



  1. June 18, 2014 / 4:30 pm

    Great job on the pants and shirt, love the faux welt pockets. I really need to get the blouse pattern, it looks so good. Sorry, I don't have an answer on the fabric stretch problem.

  2. June 19, 2014 / 3:03 pm

    These look great! I've heard people complain about stretching and bagging with stretch fabrics before, too, and seen pictures where the knees are all bagged out and gross after a few hours. I wonder if using a heavier-weight fabric would help with that? But they look great, and the top looks so summery and cool!

  3. June 19, 2014 / 8:22 pm

    Great timing! I'm headed to a pants-sewing meetup a little later today (this is the prelim meeting) and, after some research, I think this is the pattern I'm going to use.

    In terms of stretching, I have the exact same problem with my very first Kelly skirt. The waist and toosh stretch out and look terrible after an hour or so. And the longer you stretch and then wash to fit again, the less elastic it will become. Vicious cycle! I don't think there's a solution other than to not use fabric that does that, sadly. If it's a fabric you can't live without, you could underline with something stable, but that sounds like a huge pain, doesn't it?

  4. June 20, 2014 / 5:15 pm

    Do you have the same problem with non-stretch cotton, as in jeans, etc.? I do! Cotton stretches with wear, it just does. It is the nature of the beast. "Stretch" cotton has much better memory than regular cotton, but it is still cotton. You can line the pants, but the lining has to stretch the same amount as the face fabric or you'll get ripping, so that's not the best solution. You can go back and insert a piece of wide elastic inside the waistband, pulled just that little bit too tight before you secure the ends. It will stretch to fit, then keep the fabric pulled in close to your body as the day goes on. This is a trick known by many Women of a Certain Age, who have to cope with a body that shape-shifts hourly through the day. Or wear a belt. I do like the jolly happy bright floral of this wearable muslin. It is worth finding a way to make it work for you.

  5. June 25, 2014 / 12:59 am

    To fix the same problem I have with a pair of stretch twill pants I sewed a stay on the waist seam after they'd been washed. I just used a bit of seam binding, but a strip of selvedge or any firmly woven strip of fabric cut on the grain would work just fine!

  6. July 1, 2014 / 7:22 am

    Stretch wovens are a nightmare. I keep falling for them – why I do not know – they always bag out. When I used to buy clothes, I used to get the cotton pants from Zara or Mango with stretch in them – and buy 2 sizes too small. Otherwise by the end of the day they'd look awful. I still try them every now and again – in fact I have some stretch chambray winging its way to me right now:) – but I think I'm mad to do so.
    The whole outfit is gorgeous though and the tips above sound great – since i started sewing a narrow twill dress into my waisted dresses as a sort of waiast stay (sans button etc) they keep their shape much better, so it should work here.

    • July 10, 2014 / 11:39 pm

      It's funny, I always thought the stretch would be a good thing in pants! You know, the lycra would prevent wrinkles and help the cotton keep it's shape…not so much, huh! I think the wait stay idea is great, I'm going to try that in my next pair of pants.

  7. December 14, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    I also always buy stretch cotton jeans and get so frustrated with the bagging out around the bum and thighs! I a great recovery knit is the answer (I made a pair of pants in a rayon/lycra/nylon blend that fit wonderfully and don’t stretch out amazingly enough). But I SO wanted to make a pair of pants just like these with a nice bright flower (I have some stretch santeen I bought just for this purpose) but chickened out too when I thought about that bagging out! I think your fit is better than okay by the way with these pants! Amazing fit and they look wonderful!

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