Mrs Bowden’s top tip – blouses the 50’s way

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If you know me,  you will know that I am forever pursuing either vintage clothes in a size to fit (tricky as I do have a full figure) or I make my own.  I also have a bit of a  ‘thing’ for vintage or vintage style patterns.  I can easily justify my frequent purchases of said items as I like to trial new designs and then can make informed recommendations to my sewing peeps.  Sew (!) here goes a review of  Colette pattern ‘Sencha’.  image

I have to say my overall impression and experience of using this pattern has been most favourable.  The instructions are clear, the diagrams relevant and the general tone of the directions is very helpful.  The supporting Colette website gives excellent ideas for variations and inspiration sew 10 out of 10.  Let me walk you through the garment.  As you can see from the attached photos Sencha hits the spot in terms of a vintage style blouse and it has a delightful button back with 3 variations for the neckline.

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If you make version 3 you can also undo the front bow and have room to pop your head through the neck opening without disturbing your hair do!    This blouse can be made in a variety of fabrics but I would recommend a pure cotton poplin or lawn as the stability of the fabric will help beginners creating buttonholes down the back as the holes have to be made through the back opening facing.  On my version I made bound buttonholes as I was trying to emulate a 50s style but still resorted to machining the buttonholes on the facing in order to make the blouse buttons work efficiently.

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I also dipped into my vintage button collection and found these rather splendid buttons I purchased from a flea market in France on holiday 2 years ago!

The  fitting is achieved by making deep tucks in the front and back.  These can be easily adjusted so the blouse can be fitted without too much hassle Although for those of us blessed with more than a B cup, the tucks do create a certain amount of puffiness around the bust line (you may well desire this so it’s down to your personal taste).image

There were three areas  in the construction of this blouse which have the potential for peskiness and they were;

1.  Make sure the top of the back neck facings are lined up when sewing on the buttons in order to avoid one of the facings dipping at the back.

2. Tack the blouse sleeve facings before final slip stitching in order to avoid the sleeves twisting on the final garment as there may be a temptation for the hem to twist whilst you are sewing it.

3. Careful but rigorous notching around the front neck opening to achieve a flat, smooth and attractive shape.

Just as a little extra I also finished the inside of the garment using French seams, really for two reasons.  Firstly as it is entirely in keeping with the period I was trying to recreate and secondly because the fabric I used was fairly fine and I didn’t want bulky overlocker or zigzagged edges spoiling the lines of the finished garment.

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I also made bias binding to finish the edge of the neck facing as it pleased me!

Sew, if you want to develop your skills this is a good 2nd or 3rd project with a lot of potential for developing new skills.  The sizing of the garment was accurate but be aware this an American pattern maker so make sure you work from your body measurements when selecting the size to make.

Here are the vital statistics….

Pattern Is a Colette pattern ‘Sencha’ from www.sewbox.co.uk

Buttons from Felletin Brocante near Aubosson in mid France!

Thats it and please do leave feedback and remember….

Sewing is good for the soul!

in stitches,

AMANDA X

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