Thank you so much for all your lovely compliments on my Sencha blouse! As promised, here’s a photo post detailing all the steps… well, most of them, anyway :) It’s hard to remember to stop and photograph when you really get going!
This is going to be a pretty picture heavy post, so let’s put it behind a fold, shall we? All the photos are up on Flickr, so if you want to just browse through those, click here. Hopefully all the photos will show up.. I had to rotate a few and that caused them to be “temporarily unavailable”…but if you’re having trouble, go check them out on Flickr!
After doing a muslin of my sencha with the pleated neck variation, I decided that the pleated neckline wasn’t really very flattering on my frame. It draws a lot of attention to the bust, which I don’t really need help with! I also found the neckline a little close-fitting… I like my collar bones, so I made a very small alteration to make sure they showed.
So I took the lessons learned there and applied them to the keyhole neck. I shifted all the darts, and graded it up one size, to allow me to do french seams without worrying about having enough room in the allowances. I also decided to do the darts last of all, just before the hemline. This was a good decision, because it meant that I could try on the nearly complete garment and get the positioning of the darts just perfect.
So I started with my rotary mat and cutter… laying out the silk, doubled over, and then placing plates all over it to weigh the pattern down and keep it from slipping. I also made sure to true up the fabric as much as I could, so it would be on grain.
I also decided to go with a single dart in front, rather than the double darts. This worked better with my lumpy tummy… I could have adjusted the pattern and done a double dart, but I decided I liked the single dart.
<a title="PA130137 by velokitty, on Flickr"
Before I started sewing, I played around with a few scraps, to build up my courage. It is here that I would learn that my technique — known as “pin the crap out of it” — was well justified with this slippery fabric.
When I pinned the organza to the silk, I found that the pieces I’d cut so carefully were different sizes. That’s because the silk got all wobbly across the bias. So I smooshed it back into the shape of the organza, and deployed the PTCOI technique mentioned above. Smooshed is a very technical term.
I am TERRIBLE at sewing in a straight line when it comes to darts, so I cheated. I used the original pattern to mark the dimensions of the dart, and then used blue painter’s masking tape on the wrong side of the silk to create a straight line I could follow while sewing. What? It works…
The rest of the shirt was just hand sewing. Lots and lots of hand sewing. I had to roll the sleeves under and then blind stitch them in place. Then sew the two back pieces to one another. I eliminated the buttons in the back because I couldn’t find any worthy buttons in my button box and I was determined to finish the shirt today. Also? It didn’t need them. It slides over my head really easily.
If I do this shirt again, I’m not going to bother with all the blind stitching. In my opinion, the arms would look better without the bulk of the folded under fabric in there. I’d rather just do a little rolled hem on them, which I might blind stitch, or I might just do like I did the hem with a nice and tidy top stitching. For the back, I will definitely do the overlaps, if I’m using buttons, but like I said they could be eliminated and you could just make a pretty back seam and it would look lovely.
All in all, I’m really happy with the sencha, and I’ve already got plans to modify the design and try something new with it!