Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sencha Blouse or... (Beginning Sewist's Can Take Notes)

... How to Turn a Beginner Pattern into an Intermediate-Advanced Pattern

This is not the Butterick dress pattern in that cute hot pink cotton. No, this past weekend, I thought I'd whip up the Sencha blouse from that new pattern maker, Colette Patterns. Looked easy enough, what with only 4 pieces. And I had some vintage 1980s silk from my mom's fabric collection that looked perfect for this blouse.

Well, let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start (humming do-re-mi is allowed here).

 I love the pattern's format. It's like a little bound book, with a pocket in the back that holds the pattern tissue. I'm making Version 3 which has the instructions on p. 16 to 21 in the booklet. Sized 0-18 with all sizes on each piece, I decided to trace. Let me tell you that, unlike the Big 4, I was thrilled that after taking my measurements, I was a size 8. After tracing, I did a tissue fitting, and above the waist it fit perfectly, but I needed to narrow the tucks a bit to give more ease around my non size 8 hip area.Also, if you are tall and thin, you will definitely want to pay attention to the length and adjust accordingly. I'm short,and short-waisted and it was perfect for me. (By the way, it's been mentioned in other reviews, but there is a typo on the back facing piece, and you should cut 2, not on the fold.)


Here's where I move from beginner to making it hard for myself. When I got ready to cut out the fabric, I discovered that the stripes were actually horizontal, not really what I was envisioning. So I cut it on the crossgrain, and hoped for the best. And then there are the stripes themselves. There's a pretty big repeat going on here, and I wanted the stripes to match at the shoulders. That meant that after cutting the front on the fold, I cut out each side of the back individually. Then I made sure the facings matched the stripes so a dark stripe wouldn't show through the white. Is your head spinning yet? Mine was after all that matching and cutting.

Now it's time to start sewing. First you apply the fusible interfacing to the facing pieces. Oops, no lightweight fusible, but I dug up some sew-in interfacing. No problem, as I just sewed about 1/4" around the hem edge, and 3/8" from all the other sides. Then I skipped from p. 16 to the section on Facing, p. 20. And it's a good thing I did.


I've jumped ahead in my narrative with these pictures, but sewing the shoulder seams of the facing was when I noticed that I had cut one of the back pieces out wrong! There was barely enough fabric, but I managed to "make it work", and I decided to leave the facing as is since it wouldn't show through here. Things proceed pretty well after I get the stripes to match up correctly.

A note about the seam finishes: I decided to use French seams. It is a bit more complicated for the side seams with the way the  "sleeves" are made, but it is doable. Also, on p. 18, I do #2, hemming the sleeves, and then #1, the side seams.

Attaching the facings goes really well, as instructed, until...

the back opening. Stay tuned, and I'll tell you about a very important change that will make your Sencha blouse easier and wonderful.


  1. I love the blouse. Very pretty and flattering cut.

  2. You did a great job on this blouse. I love that fabric and I, too, would have cut it so the stripes would be vertical. I do not wear horizontal stripes any more.

  3. Cute blouse. I like the look of ocut-on cap sleeves. Very nice.



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