Having cut and prepped my Sencha blouse on holiday, I was determined to sew it up on my first day back. If only as an escape from the interminable rows of my Percy shawl!
I can see why so many sewists have struggled with the fit of this blouse. When laid out flat, it looks, frankly, HUGE! I was tempted to cut a size zero, if only for the comic value of telling my daughter I was a potential supermodel. But commonsense and a measuring tape prevailed, and I cut a size 6 (US sizes) on the principal that it was more likely to fit... even if it looked more like a size 22!
The Tana Lawn was a dream to work with. Seriously, it didn't misbehave at all - no fraying or thread-snagging whatsoever. FL thought it was silk when he saw it. It has the fine weave of a voile, but a certain amount of body too - it doesn't go all limp and droopy as you work with it.
I really like this blouse! I used some vintage buttons from granny's button box on the back. They are brassy metal with a mother-of-pearl inlay. I only had four of these, so finished the lower section with hidden snap fasteners. They are below the waistline so nobody will be any the wiser as I definitely intend to wear this top tucked in...
...because this top has some very... pointy tucks, as in: they point. They aim downwards from the neck with such a powerful outward trajectory that when I look down, I feel like my boobs are being thrust sideways and down, while the waist tucks give a contrasting upwards poof of fabric. The net result is that I feel like the star in a Carry On film. Yes, for the first time in my life I am channelling Barbara Windsor. I am really not accustomed to drawing so much attention to my bosoms! Tucking it in keeps the fabric under sufficient control. Leaving it loose is... not good! Possibly I need to reconsider my upholstery. A bra with rather more pushed-togetherness might be a good idea.
A heavy necklace helps too. I am wearing my granny's double string of glass beads today, and they pin the fabric down beautifully!
I am surprised to find I like the extended-shoulder sleeve. This was my main reservation about the pattern when I first saw it: I thought it would make me look broad-shouldered and hit my arms at the chubby point. In fact, the opposite is true: it is very flattering. It is almost sleeveless yet it covers the underarm area - fantastic! Cool without being over-revealing! Result!
Sencha blouse pattern from Colette, won from Karen in a blog comment competition. Thanks again Karen!
1.4 metres of Liberty Tana Lawn, in the Carline print, won on eeebaaay for £12. This was exactly the right amount of fabric for a size 6 (and would probably be enough for several bigger sizes too).
What did I think of the pattern?
Very clear diagrams, though some of the written instructions were a bit opaque - so I just used my experience and did what I expected to do. For example, the description of Understitching confused me. But maybe it's just that the terms used were US-friendly rather than English..?
The method shown for the back opening produced a very neat finish - full marks for that!
Oh - and the sleeve with its invisible Catchstitching (no proper explanation given in the pattern, but that's what the web is for!) gave a thoroughly professional and vintage-looking hem - very nice!
I was worried that the neck would come up too high, but it seems to sit lower than the neckline I've seen other sewing bloggers produce. I have no explanation for this. Maybe I inadvertently took a bigger seam allowance?
Would I make it again?
Yes, I most definitely would. In a super-drapey voile or perhaps a slinky satin! Maybe in a plain colour next time, or at least a smaller print.