A few weeks ago I had a big toile day! By this I mean that I spent a day making up calico toiles of various patterns that I have had for a while.
THREE of these were Colette patterns- to those of you that follow this blog that probably won’t come as much of a surprise as I fear I may have mentioned my LOVE for these patterns more than once or twice. Hehe!
I seem to work like this these days, spend a day or two making and fitting a number toiles and transferring the alterations back to the paper patterns and then gradually making up the garments in my fashion fabric.
Some days it feels nice just to whizz things up in calico without doing anything time consuming and fiddly like buttonholes or hand stitched hems.
Plus there is the added bonus of the overwhelming sense of achievement you get when there are five new garments hanging up in the workroom at the end of the day- albeit ones that slightly resemble strange looking peasant costumes!
I made all of them up in my Ikea calico fabric that I buy a bolt of every time my sister and I decide it’s time for another road trip to Ikea to buy random things we really don’t need for our houses!
So since then I have been a busy little bee making up the final versions. I thought I would start by sharing Sencha with you as I think if I was forced to choose this would be my favourite of the bunch!
I made the pattern up in straight Colette size 2 and I only made two teeny alterations to it.
Firstly I lowered the neckline 2cm (I get a bit claustrophobic with high necklines for some reason!) and because I have a long body I shortened the tucks by 1.5 cm as otherwise they kind of came up to an odd point on me. I made the version with the plain neck and the put buttons up the back
I LOVE this pattern. It is so, so comfortable, not restricting at all and tucks into waisted skirts and trousers beautifully. It is rated by Colette as a beginner’s pattern and that definitely seems right to me.
The instructions are clear and simple and it really has very few steps. No set-in sleeves to worry about and no zip and if buttonholes aren’t your forte one of the versions has poppers/snaps up the back instead.
I chose to make it up in some navy blue polka dot silk twill- yes I did just shamelessly copy one of the versions on the Colette website (blushes).
I had the fabric in my stash and every time I looked at it I couldn’t help but see the Sencha blouse. I would normally try and be a little more individual I promise!
I underlined the entire blouse with the finest, lightest weight silk cotton blend that I bought from classic textiles on Goldhawk Road for £4 a metre.
It’s one of their staples so I pick some up whenever I go as I actually underline pretty much every lightweight garment I make with it.
The silk twill I used is a good medium weight silk and not at all see through or flimsy but I still wanted to underline it as it makes getting a beautifully smooth finish on the outside of the garment so much easier (definitely not quicker, but easier!)
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the concept and/or benefits of underlining there is a fantastic article on the Threads Magazine website that explains all the wonderful advantages of this sewing technique.
In a nutshell you cut a duplicate of your pattern pieces in a very lightweight fabric, baste both fabrics together and then work with them as if they are one.
In the case of my silk Sencha I mainly chose to do it because I wanted to use the underlining to conceal all the hand finishing I planned to do on the blouse. Silk twill is a highly fraying fabric and I detest using my overlocker on such delicate fabrics as it just seems so inappropriate.
Instead I pressed the seam allowance open and then folded under each side separately and stitched the folded edges down to the underlining fabric only. This gives a nice flat seam and completely encloses all the raw edges, I did the same for all the facings and the hem.
Obviously this adds quite a bit of hand sewing time to the project but I just love the finish it gives so much. It also stops your garment creasing so easily. I first started doing it with Liberty tana lawns as the ones with pale backgrounds can be a little bit see through and I cannot bear seeing seams or facings through a garment. Pedantic much? Oh yep!
For the buttons I chose to use white pearl buttons, I thought they complemented the little white polka dots perfectly. Plus I have a real weakness for these buttons and tend to try and put them on anything I possibly can!
I think these particular ones were from Macculloch and Wallis but you can generally find them in most haberdasheries. I have definitely seen them in Peter Jones before.
I know I say this about everything I make but it’s just always true- I plan to make this up in some other colours. As soon as I have completed a project I just can’t help but imagine it in different fabrics.
I think this would be perfect in a floral print cotton lawn or a solid silk satin as it’s such a classic and simple blouse. I’m also super keen to make up the version with the pretty little neck tie!
In the photos I am wearing the blouse with an ivory wool pencil skirt that I drafted from my block and some LK Bennett shoes that I bought on ebay. I will be writing more about the pencil skirt very soon.
Have you made the Sencha blouse yet or is it one you’re considering?
Thanks for reading!