Red Sencha – Colette

Here is my red Sencha blouse from Colette Patterns. This is my first sewing project for the “Palette Challenge SS12″.

To read more about the premises of the challenge: Moodboard 2012 Palette challenge and Patterns & fabrics – Palette Challenge SS 2012.

Pics at the bottom of the post.



Patron Sencha - Colette patterns

Patron Sencha - Colette patterns

Sencha is a 40’s style blouse with 4 tucks in the front and two in back. The back closes with buttons or snaps (well not on my version …) and leaves a small opening at the bottom. The design varies at the neckline.

The blouse is loose above the waist and adjusted through the tucks below the waist. This allows to easily tuck the top into pants / skirt.

The pattern is rated as “beginner” but I do not recommend it as a very first project because there are a lot of hand sewing (hems of the sleeves, the placket,…) and the instructions don’t indicate when you need to finish some seams. It’s not a big deal but it might unsettle a new seamstress who might forget to finish the seams altogether.

The instructions are, as usual with Colette Patterns, very clear and well illustrated. There are no major difficulties in sewing a Sencha.

I made version 3 with the keyhole neckline.



tissus indiens

Microfiber 2nd from the left

A lightweight and drappey fabric is probably best to get a nice flowy effect for the top of the blouse.

I chose a red microfiber fabric that feels like washed silk and is very soft. It is not lightweight but has good fluidity.  (2nd from left in the picture)

It is so comfy that I’m thinking of buying some more in another color to make a pair of pyjamas!

 The red is really hard to get right in picture… I tried to do my best for the pics below. It’s frustrating when it does not show as beautifully in pics as in reality.


I started by making a muslin, in an old sheet, as usual. I was happily surprised to see that the front did fit fine. The size (10) selected according to my full bust measurements was perfect. From what I’ve read Colette patterns are drafted using a C cup as a base. I’m a C cup so it seemed pretty accurate to me, no need for a FBA, hurray !

Even the waist was at the right spot without adjustment! And being short wasted, it’s an adjustment that I do consistently.

Blouse sencha colette


#1- The problem was in the back !

So the pattern is supposed to have a little extra length at the back as you can see in the picture on the left from Colette. But on me the muslin had a huge bubble at the lower back and the back was also much longer than the front.  And since I never wear my tops tucked in, which would have covered up the problem, I made a swayback/flat derrière adjustment.

This is a very common adjustment for me but for this project I had to take out 5cm at the center back (instead of the usual 2-3 cm). But finally le top length is even in the front and in back.

To make the swayback adjustment I had to cut the back pattern at the center back : the center back runs down the middle of the buttons.

As a result I didn’t reattach the button placket (I’m lazy like that sometimes) and sewed the center back closed.  I’m able to pull it over my head mainly because of the neckline in view 3 and an other alteration I made (see#3).

For positioning my back pattern on the fabric I used the original grainline and placed the top of the blouse (above waist) on grain which means that the tucks were now off grain.. It didn’t seem to cause any big problem.

#2- I did create a slit at the lower center back. I liked this detail on the original back pattern.

#3- The neckline was really too high for me, I felt like I was being chocked.

So I simply took a larger seam allowance when sewing the facing to the neckline (not around the keyhole) : 1” instead of 5/8 inch. As a result it enlarged the opening of the neckline And my discomfort was gone.


I liked the result of the blind hand-sewn hem on the sleeves so much that I did the same for the lower hem of the blouse.

My misadventures

I cut my finger while using the circular cuter to cut the fabric… Fortunately, the fabric is red. This is the first time it happened to me and I will make sure that this is the last !

I sweated like crazy trying to turn the ties… And I gave up… and winged it with a visible stitch line. I really need to invest in a tool thingie to turn such small ties.


I blurred my face on the lasts pictures… Because I really need to stop making stupid faces in pics (well in fact this was all my DD’s fault ^^ she was telling jokes ! ). And let’s face it (or not ah ah) I don’t feel comfortable putting my face out there on the web yet.

Sencha colette patterns

Very red Sencha (less in real life)



Sencha colette patterns

Sencha worn by Georgette

décolleté trou de serrure et les liens "à l'arrache"

Keyhole and its "winged" ties

Invisible hand-sewn hem on sleeve.


front: 4 tucks, I love the effect.


sencha colette plis

Tucks again, yes I do love them :)


Slit at the back.

I'm very serious, aren't I ?

Red sencha colette patterns

More relaxed here ^^