Hot! The “That’s Not Beige!” Top

The Facts

Fabric: 2 yards Robert Kaufman Radiance 55% cotton, 45% silk, $17 with discount from local fabric store (Brooklyn General)
Pattern: Colette Patterns Sencha
Year: contemporary
Notions: 5 buttons from stash
Time to complete: oh, many hours over two days
First worn: just for the photos– too cold and out of season
Wear again: definitely
Total cost: $17

I wear a lot of bright colors and patterns, but when it comes to accessories I’m a minimalist. Though I wouldn’t call this turquoise pendant necklace bold, I just haven’t worn it since a friend passed it on to me a few months ago. The red dress in my head was a little too ambitious for this short week, so I decided on Sencha with its simplest View 1 neckline, the perfect canvas for a necklace. For all the time it took me, I probably could have made the dress. The pattern calls for hand stitching the sleeve hems and facings with a catch stitch, which does look great outside and inside. For the back closing I decided to do buttons instead of snaps, and buttonholes always have me fooling at the machine for a good while. But in the end I love this top. It’s a neutral, shockingly rare in my wardrobe. Did I mention I hate beige? It also goes beautifully with a skirt I made recently and then promptly found I had nothing to wear with. Two birds with one Sencha: the necklace and the skirt.

I did my usual with Colette patterns and graded the top and bottom, which are three sizes apart. Yeah pears! I brought the neckline down 1/2 inch in the front. And that’s about it. Since I usually work with cottons, this fabric seemed super duper luxurious. With the drape and sheen of silk and the easy-to-work-with factor of cotton, Radiance is a new favorite.

I didn’t finish in time for daylight photos, and my daughter, what can I say, she loves the camera. She managed to get into every shot. On the other hand, I’ve never been comfortable in front of the camera, so everything about the photos is a challenge for me; there will be a learning curve. Any tips? From now on there will be daylight.



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


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  1. The fabric looks luxurious, and as much as you say you hate beige, the whole outfit looks great on you. And I always think that little helpers are the best accessories in any photo ;)

  2. This is beautiful! I love the way the fabric drapes in this design and the color goes so nicely with the turquoise.
    I made a skirt last year from Radiance which I love but I find that it wrinkles terribly. Are you finding the same? Perhaps it’s less of an issue with a blouse but I can’t sit in my skirt without looking like a slob afterwards!
    As for photos… I’ve always been extremely shy in front of the camera and you’d be hard pressed to find pictures of me from the past. When I started my blog I knew that taking photos would be the toughest part. It sounds obvious but you’ll find that you relax (which gets you better shots) the more you do it so just push yourself to take more photos. Also, and I may be in the minority here, I have to take dozens (this number is coming down with time) to get one I feel comfortable posting – thank goodness for digital! I also never delete shots before I view them on the computer. It’s hard to properly see a shot on such a little viewfinder. I look forward to hearing what others have to say on this as it’s photo shoots are a work-in-progress for me.

    • Thanks, Lizz! Uh oh, I also have a dress in progress made out of Radiance, and I can see what you mean about the wrinkles. Good to hear that taking photos gets easier; I would like to relax! That’s a good idea to take a ton of shots.

  3. Lee, I think you and your fabulous Sencha look positively lovely :) It’s a fantastic, versatile piece and I hope you get many chances to wear it!

  4. Yay for Brooklyn General! I frequent there and have a crazy stash of fabric I bought there but never used. Love that you lowered the neckline on this. I’m working on this pattern right now and as I’m trying it on, I’m wondering if it’s going to feel like it’s choking me.

    • I love that store too! They don’t seem too geared to apparel sewing, but I always manage to find plenty that I want anyways. The Sencha neckline does seem really high in the front; I could even take it down a little more next time. The back neckline is just right, though. Can’t wait to see yours!

    • I love that store too! They’re not really geared to apparel sewing, but I always to manage to find plenty that I want anyways. The Sencha neckline seems high in the front to me too; I could lower it even more next time. The back neckline is just right, though. Can’t wait to see yours!

  5. One of my all time favourite MAC eye shadows is called ‘Satin Taupe’ and looks very close to this colour. I don’t know if taupe is better than beige but your top is gorgeous!

  6. Your top looks great! Radiance is one of my favorite blouse fabrics to work with. Do you wash yours in the machine?

    Love the photos, I feel like I dropped around for a cup of coffee and a chat about girl stuff. :)

    • Steph, I prewashed Radiance in the machine, but I’m not sure about the blouse. Our chat went something like, “Eat your dinner” (me), “Can I be in it? Can I be in it? Let me see!” (Fenna).

  7. I love that you put buttons on the back and the color looks great on you. Your daughter is darlling!

  8. Well done Lee. I think the beige with the necklace as a contrast looks great. Your daughter looks very proud too

  9. Thank you, thank you! WordPress tells me I’m commenting too fast, so I have to thank you generically. TheFeistyRedhead, I love that store too! They’re not so geared to apparel sewing, but I always manage to find plenty I want anyways. The Sencha neckline does seem high in the front; I could lower it even more next time. The back neckline is just right, though. Can’t wait to see yours!

  10. What a lovely blouse to showcase your necklace! Those buttons look very nice.

    Also, your daughter is adorable…I would go ahead and let her sneak into every shot from now on ;)