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.