Sunday, 9 January 2011

Second-hand Sailor Sencha

Hai peeps! In case you thought that all I do round here is theorise on the world's ills without getting any sewing done, I'm here today to disspell that myth. Here's a cheeky little Sencha blouse from Colette Patterns I started to make before Christmas and got finished over the holidays whilst at my folks' house.


Forgive the lack of modelled shots, to be honest I haven't worn it yet because it's just too cold. But I wanted to make this project to remind myself that warm days will return at some point, and when they do I will have nice nautical inspired garments to rock. I had to take these shots at work as my mannequin is currently stored away until we move into a place bigger than most broom cupboards. This mannequin is, as you can probably tell, somewhat smaller than myself, so I tried to pin it as such so you get an idea of how the fabric drapes in this garment.

The fabric is some vintage second-hand synthetic stuff that I found buried in a pile at work. It has a crepe-y texture, with a soft handle and nice drape. There's a wierd sparkliness to it as well. Any ideas what the hell it could be?! (Starting to wish I hadn't avoided the Fabric Technology classes I shunned in favour of Photography in my second year.) Anyways, it's awesome. I LOVE that this fabric is basically my current perfect colour combo, and will bring some much needed white to my wardrobe to lighten things up. I've seen some lovely versions of the Sencha blouse including pretty florals and cute polka dots, and this is an interesting graphic-y feeling version I think.

I bought the buttons from a flea market in Barcelona ages ago, and I've nearly used them on lots of projects but I'm so glad I didn't because they look so perfect with this blouse. They aren't quite as orange in real life at the below picture suggests. Although they are post/shank buttons, they are fairly flat so they shouldn't be too uncomfortable when I'm wearing this top and lean back against a chair.

So now I've shown you round the garment, let me address the pattern itself. I made a couple of changes (surprise). For one, I didn't bother with a neck facing, I trimmed away half the seaam allowance, overlocked the raw edge, then turned it under and stitched it down before pressing. Since starting my new job, I've learnt that garments don't always need a squillion facings just to eliminate a row of stitching. If the stitching is neat, it doesn't bother me to see it. As for giving the neckline extra strength, this fabric is so floppy and silly, I'm pretty sure a self-facing would give more grief than benefit, probably slipping about and needing lots of tacks to keep it in place.

I also change the sleeves a bit. After a lot of thought, I couldn't see what the point was of such a large sleeve hem allowance. As with the neck, I removed most of this allowance, overlocked the raw edge, turned it back and stitched it down and pressed it neatly. One more small alternation I made was the finishing of the side seams. I can't remember now and don't have the pattern to hand, but I think it called for open seams (where the edges of the seam allowance are finished separately and pressed open, rather than a closed seam where the edges are finished together and pressed as a unit to one side or the other). I opted for closed seams pressed towards the back, as I do with pretty much everything I make nowadays.

Now, I am a MASSIVE fan of grown-on sleeves (AKA kimono sleeves, AKA Dolman sleeves etc.) like these, in fact I wrote a homage to them a while back. But the trickiest bit about them for me is what to do about the seam allowance at the underarm angle. It needs to be either snipped into or trimmed away so you can turn the sleeve through to the right side without it looking horrible and bunched up. A vintage pattern I used a whie ago which had these type of grown-on sleeves and called for the underarm seam allowance to be snipped into almost to the stitching line, but this looked prety unprofessional, especially after the garment had been washed and that part of the seam allowance started to fray a little. So this time, when overlocking the side-seam seam allowances together, when I got to the underarm bit, I used the overlocker to trim the seam allowance away so the inside edge of the overlocking stitch ran inlibe with the actual stitching line, so there was only 0.5cm of allowance left. This meant there was very little problem turning the sleeve through to the right side, and all the allowances were overlocked so no fraying will occur. I'm pretty pleased with this method for dealing with this part, but was wondering what other people have done or read should be done. If you have any knowledge or thoughts on this please let me know (if you can work out what on earth I'm talking about, this probably isn't the clearest paragraph I've ever written).

So, in short, although making a garment that cannot be worn for a few months is probably a bit naughty, I did manage to produce a hopefully wearable and comfortable item that fits with my wardrobe colour scheme. As per my New Years Resolutions, it was made from second-hand fabric and buttons from the stash. All in all, cheap and cheerfully guilt-free.

24 comments:

Catherine said...

Ooooh I LOVE it!!! The fabric and buttons are gorgeous and I have a thing for button back tops/blouses! Will definitely put this pattern on the list - I've some vintage fabric that would look great in this! And it says 'beginner' on the pattern!

Kestrel said...

It's lovely and perfect for spring/summer. Well done on using elements you already had to make it too. I've made 3 Senchas and can see more in the future as it's such a great pattern. Interesting to read about your mods too.

Miss P said...

Ooooh, love this one, and the buttons couldn't be more perfect.
Portia
xxx

lazystitching said...

So cool! I can totally see how this is going to coordinate with the rest of your wardrobe :)
~Alana

Jane said...

It has all my favourite things: red, navy, stripes, cute buttons, it's lovely. I made one about a year ago and will definitely make another for the spring. I had to lower the neckline though as the original line was too high and choky for me. Thanks for all the making tips. x

Carlotta (now Stermaria) said...

I never considered graphic prints as a possibility for the Sencha blouse, but I was terribly wrong! I'm sure it will look lovely with your denim sailor pants or one of your high-waisted skirts. Sometimes it's good to think of summer, too!

Darlene Diaz said...

I think it's a good idea to sew ahead, gives you more time to actually wear the garment.

Cecili said...

Awesome top! That fabric is perfect, love the buttons too :) Thanks for the tip on underarm seams with thee types of sleeves, I usually zigzag the edges then clip and hand-zigzag the small edges on each side of the clip, talk about a hassle^^ I'm eager to see this top worn!

Marie said...

This is my dream blouse Zoe...the colours, the stripes, the back-button detail! Looking forward to seeing it on you when the weather perks up...could be a long wait though :o(

rubyslippers_86 said...

I really love this, the fabric looks great in this style! and the buttons you've used are perfect!

charlotteauzou said...

Fantastic striped fabric !

charlotteauzou said...

Fantastic striped fabric !

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Great blouse! I love all your sailor themed/inspired clothes :)

Tilly said...

LOVE this version! Nautical chic works very well with Sencha - I'm surprised no one thought of it before.

I might give this pattern another whirl, but will definitely change the neckline as the other one I made chokes me.

Sarah said...

I love it!! It's so cheery and fun!!

Gail said...

I'm no expert, but the fabric looks like crimpolene. This was a double knit synthetic that my mother used to sew with in the late 60s and early 70s. It has very little stretch.

Dalígula said...

Love love love the buttons.

Minnado said...

LOve it. I have seen quite a few senchas now but this is my favourite. The horizontal strips makes it look like a different top altogether, much more graphic. Loving those buttons too.

Suzie said...

Your top is gorgeous! Love the buttons, they really are perfect for it. You have such an awesome job, they only thing I fnd lying around my work are paperclips!

Christine said...

I love the fabric, but even more... I love the buttons! So adorable! I'm loving that nautical is so in right now.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see you rock this out. It's beautiful
H

Ashley said...

I love your Sencha, it's one of the most unique I've seen yet! I actually have this pattern, it's been on my "to-make" list for a while now. I guess that's what 2011 is for. ;)

Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood said...

those little button details just make this blouse even more epic. I nominated you for THE STYLISH BLOGGER AWARD! Check out the details at this blog post http://sew-misunderstood.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-awards-and-stuff-you-never-wanted.html

Melizza said...

I saw this shirt pop up on my search on Sew Retro and had to let you know how much I loved it. I am a huge stripe fan and this top made my heart leap a bit :)

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