In a totally different style from my teal floral Pensée dress, I sewed a solid black Pensée top that goes with everything. It goes to show that this pattern is more versatile than it looks!
As I mentioned in my latest post, I don’t have a lot of handmade tops: I rarely wear button-downs, I look too serious wearing blouses, and I just feel that in general woven tops are not very comfortable. But apparently this season is cami season*. Now that’s something I can see myself wearing!
* This was mentioned in this video from The Fold Line, which is a podcast I like watching that does a round-up of sewing pattern news every month. I highly recommend it!
With its deep V neckline and wrap back, I think Pensée has a more elegant and dressed-up feel than other, more relaxed, camisole patterns. It’s perfect for me, as I wanted to sew some tops that would be a step up from the knit tees and tank tops in my wardrobe.
In the shop pictures, this top is shown worn with wide-legged pants (Narcisse) or tucked into a skirt (Agave), but my favorite way of wearing it is with skinny jeans, like here with my Safran jeans. I think it’s an outfit that works everywhere, by day or by night, and never makes me feel overdressed or underdressed.
You can see the darts better on this version than on my dress: they start at the top of the bodice and go down towards the bust. This means the camisole can be worn with or without a bra: the dart will always point towards the bust apex, whether the bust is lifted up or not (which wouldn’t be the case with regular bust darts, that you have to raise or lower depending of the underwear you want to wear with the garment).
The back neckline of Pensée also allows me to showcase my new tattoo, that I got to celebrate entering my thirties! I already talked about its significance on Instagram, but in case you missed it, the tortoise is a very meaningful image to me: a symbol of perseverance, wisdom, and my constant struggle against procrastination (“Slow and steady wins the race!”). I am so happy with the work that my tattoo artist Matty did. Now I want to sew all the backless dresses and tops so I can show it off all the time!
The fabric is a polyester satin, as usual from Fabric.com. I ordered it over five years ago, back when I wanted to try to sew underwear, except once I received the fabric it turned out to have no stretch at all contrary to its description on the website. Plus I realized that I had absolutely no interest in sewing underwear after all. So this fabric went to rest at the bottom of my stash, until I dug it out to sew my final muslin of the Pensée top. Since I hate the shiny side of satin, I used the wrong side of the fabric instead. The matte side has the added advantage of not showing every little sewing mistake, and the shiny side is very comfortable against the skin, so it works great! It’s a pretty cheap fabric of course, and not at all comparable to the rayon crepe used for the shop samples, so I was surprised that the end result was more than okay. I was expecting to get rid of it once the pattern was sent to print, but I’ve been wearing it a bunch!
I like this top a lot, and I’m thinking about making another one soon in a more breathable fabric. In the same vein, I also purchased the pattern for the famous Ogden cami by True Bias, whose significant difference with Pensée is that it has no darts. Sure, I probably could have modified Pensée to get a similar result (Eléonore published a tutorial on the blog to make a closed back for Pensée) but I like to support independent designers, and I’ll get to try my first True Bias pattern. It looks like turning tiny straps inside out is going to be my main activity for the summer!