Another day, another shirt. Four more episodes of Buffy. Today, I present my first version of Colette’s Sencha! I wasn’t so sure about this shirt, thinking that it might not be the most flattering cut for me. I like the finished product, though, and will definitely add to the rotation (with a few tweaks, of course…) Without further ado, here’s the shirt, worn with a denim skirt, boots and cable-knit knee socks. Probably how I’ll wear it the most, although it looks cute with jeans, too!

Changes I made…

For this version I really, REALLY tried to follow the pattern. I did. The shirt is meant to be a sample for the shop where I work. As such I didn’t want to make many changes. But I made a few.

  1. I sewed from a knit

    …even though it’s not one of the recommended fabrics, I used a nice interlock knit for my Sencha. I wanted to sew a straight size 18, and wasn’t sure how the fit around the waist and hips would be, so I thought if I made with a knit, it’d be OK if it was a bit snug. Verdict? Love the knit, and will be making more in knits – although for future knit-senchas, I’ll drop the center back seam and just pull it on over my head.

  2. Skipped facings, finished with bias binding

    …I finished the edges of the collar and the keyhole neckline with a piece of coordinating knit cut on the cross-grain instead facing like the pattern called for. I’m not a huge fan of facings, especially in knits AND I wanted to add a bit of contrast. I like the look!

  3. Lowered the neckline

    …the keyhole neckline on my sencha is about an inch lower than it should be – I realized after I had sewn everything together that I had accidentally cut a little slit where I shouldn’t have! Boo. I cut about an inch or so lower.

  4. Interfacing

    …I interfaced the back button placket with some stretchy tricot fusible interfacing. I was concerned that the knit fabric would be too stretchy without something to firm it up. The interfacing worked great, and I just wish I had interfaced around the keyhole neckline, which is really more stretchy than I’d like. For those considering their own stretch-Senchas, I suggest doing one of the other necklines.

While I love, love, love the shaping of the front of the shirt, the back was a little plain for me. I used some funky orange snaps. Also, I had to add one invisible snap at the very top – the snap placement was sort of funky, although that may have been partially due to the lack of facings. And I’m not a huge fan of how the pattern’s button placement leaves a big split in the back.

The cut of the shirt is different from what I normally wear – there are no shoulder seams at all, the sleeves are cut as part of the bodice. I think this provides a nice balance to my extra-wide hips. The shirt is great for tucking, since the tuck darts make the bottom half of the shirt less bulky and easier to tuck.

The Sencha and a full bust

I’ll definitely be exploring this more, but as with all Colette patterns, the Sencha is defintely drafted for a larger bust. I didn’t do a FBA on the shirt – the size 18 bust measurement on the envelope is the same as my actual bust measurement. I’ve heard that Colette patterns are drafted for a C cup, I’m a double D. I’d probably benefit a bit from choosing a smaller size, then doing an FBA so that the shoulders fit better, but A) I’m lazy and B) since the Sencha doesn’t have a seam where the sleeve attaches, I didn’t see the point. Also, please review A.

For myself, I try to stay away from high necklines, as they make me look saggy, saggy, saggy. There’s a bit of that going on with this shirt, and I might try to address in future versions. Also, I stopped sewing the tuck darts exactly where the pattern indicated that I should, but I think I could have dropped the points a bit to and created some optical perkiness illusion! All in all, it’s a great first try, another heap of fun to sew straight out of the box (no pattern alterations) and I think it’s a great looking shirt! Here it is in its natural habitat – untucked over a nice slim skirt!


  1. Twyla Gariepy says:

    Hi. I've been looking a this pattern a lot lately and various peoples versions of it, o I'd like to ask you a question. If you didn't want the button-up back, is it really a necessity to the patterm, is there a way around it? I've heard the arm-holes/sleeves are too tightly drawn: is it true; would you reccommend a looser -ease-or what have you for that area? And .. I see this top on larger ladies and more petite slender ladies and have to wonder if the pattern is just simply not as nice looking on the thin girls with smaller "endowments" as it would be on say … me (short, fat, w/ big 'girls')

  2. Tasia says:

    Super cute! I love the fabric, and would have never thought of using a knit for the sencha. The yellow is so cheery!

  3. Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood says:

    EXCELLENT! I love that you broke the mold and used knit. I do that as well, mostly because I found a knit print that needs to be made.

  4. [patty the snug bug] says:

    Clarification! (T-Isis reminded me) – it was the KEYHOLE (so more cleavage showing{but not on purpose}) that was lowered an inch, not the neckline… I was struggling with how to say that!

    K.Line – I was thinking the same thing – more tucks in back. I love the shape, but def love it more in the front. And boobs plus! ha ha ha – I think there's potential there, but if they weren't perfectly placed (the tucks, although this applies for the boobage as well), they could end up adding to the droopiness factor!

    Thanks everyone for the compliments… this is a great pattern, but, as with everything, I think the sizing is key – too big is too frumpy pretty much across the board…

  5. Jane says:

    Wow, this is by far the best version of this shirt I've seen. Nice work! I've been a bit confused about why everyone loves it so much because a lot of versions I've seen just look dowdy. But in a knit? How cool! And I love the way you style it. I also think facings are mostly annoying and the bias tape is a great alternative. You've made this cute, without being cutesy, if you know what I mean. Yay!

  6. emily.marie says:

    oooh it is so adorable! I like this pattern a lot, though I've never made it. The third look is definitely my favorite.

    And yes, you did find me on Pinterest… I'm changing my photo NOW! Didn't realize that one looked so horrid!

  7. Anonymous says:

    It looks great on you. I like the split back view.


  8. Evie says:

    Love it with the blue skirt!

  9. lazystitching says:

    Looks awesome, Patty! I haven't purchased this pattern yet due to the high-neck/big bust but you're starting to change my mind. Will you make another?

  10. K.Line says:

    I love this post, having just made 2 of the same version of this top. I made a few revisions on my second attempt – namely adding an extra set of pintucks on the back (for more interest and to make it more fitted). This necessitated moving the position of the original back pin tuck set. You might want to do this – the top looks a little loose in the back. I say, what's the point of giving so much great interest to the front of a shirt and then leaving the back all plain.

    I think it's cut large (as I mentioned in my post on it). And I'm happy to say that I think Sarai's sloper is a D cup, not a C. My chest is larger than a D but I still have more than enough room because my back is narrow and I think she's cutting for a broad frame.

    I don't know if I'd make it in a knit (though I love working with knits), just because I think it would be hard to scale the size. And it could get floppy.

    The two versions I made were in synthetic wovens – a poly matte silk and a poly nubby crepe. The crepe was my first attempt. I loved the fabric but the final product is just a bit to large and shapeless. I used the "silk" for the second attempt. It was much harder to work with and, ironically, has a lot less give (even in it's wovenness). It doesn't look as good on, though the size is better.

    I can see I'm going to have to give it another go. I do want to try the one with the diagonal pintucks at the neck. But I too wonder if it will be boobs plus.

  11. tanitisis says:

    Lovely! In a knit, you say? Hmm. About half the Senchas I've seen I've loathed, and half I've loved, and it all seems to come down to the fabric of choice. Good job!

    Also if that's the neckline lowered an inch, I think you'd be choking on the original one. It looks perfect.

    I especially like the last picture, for some reason :). I think it goes best with the longer skirt.

  12. Karen in VA says:

    This looks fab on you!!! Never thought about trying it in a knit….may have to try that..

  13. Andrea says:

    WOW! Sencha looks fantastic on you! I may be giving this one a try.

  14. lizajane says:

    It is really cute. I love the orange snaps on the back and the blue binding.

  15. Sewtropolis says:

    I love it and it looks fantastic on you. You inspire me to sew more clothes… and now that I have more time. ;-)

  16. Laurwyn says:

    I am a fan of the natural habitat! The Sencha looks great with straight skirts, tucked in or not.
    I plan on ordering it, and to give it a try with knits. That's what I did with my previous blouse, it is so much safer ;)
    I really like the front and especially the darts on you. The back is a bit simple and I'd use contrasted buttons I think. Or like you wrote, cut it on the fold or something! I'd love it with a peplum…

  17. LAP says:

    That yellow just looks totally fantastic on you! I love the bias trim instead of the facing too. I actually think the way the back splits at the bottom is flattering, but I too, would eliminate the back fastening without hesitation if it's not needed to Sencha on.

    I saw your gorgeous Crepe today on the dress form at Sewtropolis and as gorgeous as it is on display, it looks even better on the live model it was intended for.

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