Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sencha Blouse Muslin--feedback welcome!

Sencha Blouse Muslin Front View

In my continued pursuit of recklessly altering five non-maternity patterns for maternity ALL AT ONCE, I completed my first muslin of the lovely and versatile Colette Patterns button-backed Sencha blouse.

Here are the details--your thoughts and feedback welcome, especially if you've made the normal non-giant-belly version!

First, the Colette patterns photo showing how this blouse ought to fit on a non-pregnant model:

My sketch of my modified maternity version--it's much longer, with a lot more room in front and a scoop neckline:

Colette 1007 Sencha Blouse Maternity Modification Sketch

After some thought, I decided to cut a size 8, corresponding to a 37" bust and 29" waist measurement (Colette sizes are more like RTW than the big 4). My high bust (36") corresponded better to the size 6, but I'm a growing pregnant girl and figured I needed the room. I didn't use the size 8 hem, though--I went with size 18 to help get over the belly.

Since my full bust is 41" and my waist has disappeared, I did a 2.5" FBA (for an extra 5" total across the bust) and did a 3" maternity fully tummy adjustment, resulting in an additional 6" width and 3" more in length than even the size 18:

Sencha Blouse Maternity FBA

First I cut and basted together the muslin, following the excellent clear pattern instructions. I didn't sew the hem or buttons and I just ironed the armhole facings to the inside.

I tried on the muslin, then used black masking tape to envision a new scooped neckline--I wanted it significantly lower, but not so low or wide that it would show my bra.

My new smallest point is my underbust, so instead of using the low tucks from the original pattern, I used binder clips to figure out where I should draw in new tucks for a more fitted silhouette.

Sencha Blouse Muslin Front View

Sencha Blouse Muslin Side View

I left the back as is with no alterations.

Sencha Blouse Muslin Back View

So how does it look? I'm pretty happy with the new neckline (I'll use a french curve to make the real thing smooth and symmetrical, then draft a new facing piece), but how about the overall fit? My thoughts:

  • There seems to be about 3 or 4 inches of ease at the bust, which is what the pattern calls for, but I wonder if I should add another inch total.
  • The horizontal dart should end a bit closer to the apex, right?
  • The cap sleeve armhole seems to be pulling towards the bust and there are vertical wrinkles from the shoulder to the bust... I don't know what to do about this, if I should do anything at all.
  • Does this even look like a Sencha blouse anymore, besides in the back? Maybe when I make the front binder-clipped areas into real tucks?


  1. I can't say it calls to mind the Sencha blouse immediately :-) but it's a great top and I think it fits you very chicly. It drapes really nicely over the growing belly. And I like the height of the neckline. See - that altered pattern freaks me out! :-) Just figuring out all the math involved overwhelms a little. Of course, you have many years of experience so I'm sure, for you, it's just an extra step (or 5), not a mental mountain.

  2. Oh, do NOT be intimidated! I didn't make up this math at all--I learned how to do the FBA by following along with the very clear diagrams in Fit For Real People, and I got the tummy adjustment info from this Rostitchery online tutorial (I was going to post both of those as references when I show the FO).

    And while I may technically have learned how to sew over ten years ago, I think this is only my fifth truly successful FBA--I used a different method back in my college days with far less success!

  3. I love the lowered neckline! Hehe... looks like a lot of work!

  4. I agree, it is pretty much a whole new blouse, but it looks great! I would definitely add a little ease in the bust if you think you need it -- you won't be able to wear this non-pregnant so you'll want to wear this the whole next 3 months.

  5. Looks good! I think there is a rule that the bigger the boob, the further away the dart line should be from the apex. A size B cup is normally 1 inch away from apex, but larger sizes should be further away. I think your front looks good. The back neck needs to be scooped out a bit to match the feeling of the front. Also, your back looks a little loose and blousy in comparison to your front, which is rather fitted. I prefer fitted, so if it was me, I'd take in the back. If you add more ease around the bust, you risk looking too much like a blob due to lack of waist definition.

    Love your sassy croquis, btw!

  6. It does look good. I agree with Anonymous that the back needs to be slighly more fitted to match the front. Overall the more fitted look is a lot more flattering. I'd probably allow an extra inch across the front bust, just in case! Actually looking again, I'm wondering if a tuck across the back (sway back adjustment) may be needed.
    You said the cap sleeve was pulling toward the bust - in that case I think a little extra ease may help. As a non-maternity top it isn't an extremely fitted top so you would expect to get a few wrinkles. I had a look at the Colette website Sencha picture and the model wearing the mustard coloured top has lots of wrinkles. Honestly I wouldn't worry about yours too much.
    I'm also thinking that perhaps having some extra length (larger hem or something) to be able to let down as your tummy gets bigger over the next 3 months.
    I'm sure that whatever you do, it's going to look great!!

  7. This is a very impressive adaptation! I agree that adding a bit more ease at the bust would be good insurance. When I was pregnant, I kept thinking my bust could not possibly get any larger, and then it kept right on expanding. And then there was nursing. Good heavens. You look fantastic, btw!


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