What I Wore Today: Sencha’s Last Stand

Front view 1, awkward pose.

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Side view 1, possibly bad ass pose.

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Blouse: Sencha, handmade fail
Pants: jeans, hand me down from my mom
Shoes: thrifted

When I’m too lazy to set my hair the night before, I default to some kind of classic look.

I’m on the verge of retiring this Sencha, and now I know why.

I made this a year or so ago out of polyester charmeuse. I was still new to sewing then and didn’t realize that quality fabrics were not polyester. Today it’s 80 degrees and very humid outside, and the material was not helping.

As for modifications, I cut the neckline a lot lower and made covered buttons. I finished the sides with French seams and learned how to work with a very slippery fabric. I also raised the darts by a good inch or so.

This version also needs about four inches added to the length. To remedy this I put a black chiffon top underneath it so I wouldn’t be tugging at it all day long.

I wore this to work today and I was mostly fine, until I had a meeting with our other devs and I was really self-conscious. It also rides up a lot because it’s so short.

Verdict: Definite Sencha fail. Definite charity donation.

The Rose Print Blouse: Simplicity 1554

Still not sure how flattering rolls are with my thick hair, but this will have to do for now. I think I’ve finally gotten over my vintage fashion-rebellion and am going back to what I’ve been sewing before. I’m slowly getting over my fear of color as well, but so far have been sticking to dark background prints, red, and black.

I finally this blouse a week or so ago and only had a chance to write about it now. Shown here with Wearing History shorts, I think it’s very versatile and should hopefully work long past Summer and straight into Fall.

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Fabric: Rayon, $7/yd, 2 yards
Pattern: Simplicity 1554
Year: 1945
Notions: black plastic buttons, $1
Time to complete: one week, working on it mostly on evenings
First worn: Hasn’t been worn yet!
Wear again? Yes
Total price: $15

Pattern used:

Simplicity 1554. I made View C, with the peter pan collar.

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I’ve made this before, but only once in View C. It’s hard to see the collar there under all that hair, but it’s there! I used rose print rayon that felt very 40s to me. It was a dream to sew and has great drape.

This is one of my favorite patterns since it can look different with very few pieces and I’d like to make it View D, the only one I haven’t made yet.

Oh. I know I said “no more vintage patterns”, but I should probably be more careful of absolutes from now on. Vintage patterns are definitely back.

What I’m Working on This Week: Simplicity 1554

I started on Simplicity 1554 this week. I’ve made this three times before, but it’s really only been wearable the past two versions. I still haven’t made all the views, but it’s so versatile that I really plan to before the year is out.

I know I said no granny floral print, but I couldn’t resist this rayon fabric I found over the weekend. Since it’s black, red, and the floral print isn’t too small, I hope it doesn’t come off as super granny.

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In the meanwhile, I’ve been watching a lot of old movies. Why did I only discover Elizabeth Taylor now? She’s awesome, and of course my favorite vintage style role models (other than Marilyn) are all brunettes.

Basic Top: First Finished Knit (sort of)

Top view. (Everything actually doesn’t look so bad until we get to the hem.)

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Neckline view.

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Inside view of neckline.

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Cuff view.

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I did end up finishing the basic top after all, just to get some practice on finishing it. Not too bad for my first haphazard knit project.

Pros:

  • It fits! With no muslins!
  • Really flattering
  • Really comfortable
  • Did not take long to make
  • Neckline doesn’t look that bad
  • Sleeves don’t look that bad

Cons:

  • The hem looks a hot mess, but not so bad when it’s worn
  • Neckline is still way too wide (pattern issues)

The neckline I added on based on Google tutorials and Renfrew instructions. It turned out mostly ok except for the wavy floppy parts.

The cuffs I folded over once and stitched down, straight stitch using a ballpoint needle.

The hemline I serged, then folded over once and stitched down, straight stitch using a ballpoint needle.

Does anyone have any advice on why my hem looks really wavy and how to fix it? When wearing it it actually doesn’t look that awful, but it looks really dodgy on Smurfette.

What I’ll do differently in the future:

  • Fix the pattern so it’s a standard t-shirt
  • Beg, borrow or steal a twin ballpoint needle
  • Pick a better knit that’s not see-through
  • Pick a more flattering color
  • Fix the hem (help?)

Conquering my Fear of Sewing with Knits

Look! Smurfette (my dressform) is wearing a knit. And it looks flattering on her! Those are my serger threads that haven’t been snipped yet hanging from the sleeves.

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I used View B. It looks nothing like the pattern because I made some alterations already.

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I decided to use McCall’s 6556 in view B with no pocket, since it was simple and had two pieces. I cut an extra small and still thought it was way too large, so I raised the armhole by three inches and lowered the neckline.

Pros:

  • No making muslins
  • Serged the seams
  • Faster to sew than wovens, took about two hours from cutting to here
  • Very flattering
  • Very comfortable

Cons:

  • Color is not very flattering
  • Jersey I picked is too thin (a little transparent)
  • Arms too tight (convert into a t-shirt?)
  • Sits too low on the shoulder

The pattern had 5/8 seam allowance built into it, and trying to gauge a 5/8 seam allowance on the serger was way too difficult. I didn’t envision this as being my muslin, but the color isn’t very flattering and the arms are a little too tight (but not ugly-looking). The jersey is also very translucent (which can be remedied by layering). I’m on the fence about finishing it as a project, but since it took so little time to make and I need the practice on finishing the neckline, I might finish it and make the best of it.

My goal is to replicate one of my favorite knit t-shirts. This version is close but I need to make some modifications (with different jersey) so it can be even closer.

Peter Pan Collar Sorbetto

Front view.

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Side view.

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Front view #2.

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Closeup of brooch.

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I finished this Sorbetto a few weeks ago and only had a chance to post about it now. I used some leftover swiss dot, lined it with cotton batiste, and serged the seams. I also added sleeves and a peter pan collar. My pattern review is below.

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Colette Sorbetto Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Sleeveless top with center pleat

Pattern Sizing:
0-18. I cut a straight size 2 but cut a size 4 in the armholes.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Well not really because I removed the pleat.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn’t read the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it’s quick and makes good use of remnants.

Fabric Used:
Swiss dot.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I serged the seams. I also added sleeves and a peter pan collar.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes I’m definitely making more Sorbettos. This is my second one.

Conclusion:
I’m way behind on the Sorbetto craze, but I love making Sorbettos.

Geometric Sorbetto with Scalloped Collar

Front view.

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Scallop collar view.

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Scallop collar alternate view.

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Outfit view. (I thought this would look frumpy or baggy but surprisingly no.)

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Closeup. (Still trying to get used to the new 50mm and this whole depth of field thing.)

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I’m a little late on the Sorbetto bandwagon, but here it is anyway.

I first attempted Sorbetto over a year ago which led to a tremendous fail. It didn’t fit, it looked really short and it was weirdly-shaped. I gave it a second try and surprisingly I like it. I drafted a scallop collar which I think (?) makes it look more vintage but it’s hard to say here considering I didn’t set my hair.

Fabric used: Geometric blue cotton voile, remnants (about a yard?). Swiss dot for the collar, less than a yard, also remnants.

Construction notes: Used French seams. Serged the sleeves and hem before folding it over and tacking it down.

What I did differently this time:

  • checked the printed pattern swatch to make sure it was 4×4 (this was crucial)
  • cut a standard size 2 everywhere but cut a size 4 in the armholes
  • drafted some cap sleeves
  • added 4 inches to the hem
  • drafted a scalloped collar which might possibly make me look like a deranged clown, but I like it and I don’t care

I have many more Sorbettos planned out (especially for those remnants that I love to hoard) but hopefully each will look different each time. This is definitely a very versatile pattern.

Pattern Acquisition: McCall’s 4822

McCall’s 4822.

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I’ve been stalking this pattern for a few months now on Etsy, and always hesitating when I press the “buy now” button since I’ve been trying to keep within my monthly sewing budget. However when I saw it somewhere else for a more reasonable price, I finally gave in.

I really like this pattern since can be the foundation for many SWAPs yet to come, and I’ve been really into sewing separates lately. Since I won my three-month skirmish with Clover, I’m no longer afraid of sewing pants. I find that they get worn more often and are more versatile wardrobe-wise. Paired with a self-drafted gathered or circle skirt, this pattern can even be a an appropriate 50s-era dress, or a blouse and skirt faux dress combination.

I’ve been trying to re-use most of my sewing patterns. This is partly so I can focus on getting the fit properly the first time and then get maximum use of it the next x amount of times I decide to make it again and again. I also like the challenge of coming up with something unique looking based on one pattern. It’s impressive to see how much variation can come out of different collars, cuffs, buttons or even colors and weights of fabrics.

This brings to mind my next question: when you start delving into pattern drafting, how many patterns do you really need? Is making the same pattern over and over again (with minor variations) cheating?

Simplicity 1554, Swiss Dot Blouse: 40s does 60s

Front view, #1.

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Front view, #2.

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Front view, #3. Ignore my wrinkly pants.

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Side view.

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Closeup of brooch, swiss dot, and mother of pearl buttons.

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I’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men lately and it’s been starting to show in my projects.

I need more versatile white blouses in my wardrobe and made the peter pan collar version of Simplicity 1554.

The Facts

Fabric: Swiss dot, $7/yd, 2 yd. Cotton batiste, $5/yd, 2 yd.
Pattern: Simplicity 1554
Year: 1945
Notion: snaps, mother of pearl buttons
Time to complete: 12 hours
First worn: Hasn’t been worn yet
Wear again? Yes
Total price: $26

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Pattern used.

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I’ve made this blouse twice before. The swiss dot I was using was sheer and see-through, so I underlined it with white cotton batiste.

Everything went smoothly until I got to the buttonholes. Since it was underlined, the buttonhole had 4 layers of fabric to go through, plus interfacing, and my buttonhole maker got stuck in the embroidered dots of the swiss dots. I hand-sewed some snaps and hand-sewed some mother of pearl non-functioning buttons on the front side. I used French seams on it also.

This is a really good basic piece. It wasn’t too boring to make and will hopefully go with a lot of things. This project is also part of my SWAP.