Monday, December 16, 2013

Bogged Down Bows

Yikes!  Mid December and I’m only just getting around to posting my makes for Seamstress Erin’s Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong!  Both items were completed in November but it’s hard when your camera isn’t on speaking terms with your computer.  Fortunately they have recently made up and are working together again.

I’ve always like bow blouses but only have one store bought item so this was the kick in the butt I needed to make a version or two of my own.  Only one ended up being a true bow neck blouse, the second is more a clever play on the idea.  But both patterns came to be courtesy to the Big 4 which I haven’t sewn in a while.  Bring on undetermined but most likely excessive ease!

Almost a sailor look dress
First up I decided I needed a minidress version.  I went with McCall’s M6793 which gives you options for loose, pullover tops with a variety of necklines, sleeves and tunic options.  I went with a mashup of views A and B with A’s cap sleeves and B’s flounce which I cut several inches longer.  I started off bombarding my rayon challis with sizing to stiffen the fabric up and make it less wiggly when cutting and sewing especially the bias cut ties.

This took FOREVER to tie nicely
I spent more time than necessary trying to avoid handsewing by stitching the neck seam in the ditch to secure the ties.  This turned out so-so due to perfectly matching thread but didn’t look that great.  Eventually I gave up, ripped all this stitching out and resigned myself to sewing it by hand.  It turned out not being that bad since I did it while watching TV and it looks so much better.  Lesson learned: sometimes you can’t avoid handsewing so just do it and get it over with.  You’ll appreciate it when you’re done.
Looks really shapeless on the dressform
I ended up hacking 2” off the top and reattaching the flounce, it was just too drop waisted and looked awkward.  Loose and drop waisted are two silhouettes I don’t wear much so they make take a bit of getting used to – most of my clothes have a more defined waist.  The shorter skirt length definitely helps in making it look more modern.
Put a bow on it!
My next version is like the bow version of Portlandia’s “Put a bird on it” sketch.  Butterick B5817 is a fitted top with a big bow appliqued on front.  This was also made of challis – turquoise and white this time.  While stiffening this fabric up with sizing the nozzle got stuck on and wouldn’t stop spraying.  After a few comedic attempts to put the cap on, spray and move fabric and eventually tossing it in a bag so sizing wouldn’t get everywhere I quarantined it to the deck where for the next few hours I could hear it continuing to spray its heart out.  Luckily this top involved only a few pieces and seams so fiddliness was kept to a minimum.  Although during construction it looked like a hot mess with some massive sizing puddles dried on it.

Fake bows are always unperfectly tied
At first I thought I was so clever by sewing interfacing to the applique and then ironing it to the shirt to keep it in place.  But some of the interfacing kept showing and I wasn’t satisfied so I peeled it off and when with two pieces of white challis and used fabric glue to stick it to the turquoise.  I like the contrast of the white on the turquoise but wish the seam allowances didn’t show through so much.  As instructed I used contrast thread to topstitch the applique around the edges and to add some detail.
Contrast stitching
After putting both garments through a quick wash to remove all the sizing and a serious ironing session they were ready for me to try on and see how they really look.

Right off the bat I realized I made a summer dress.  We’ve been suffering from below freezing temperatures lately.  And I don’t handle the cold well.

A floaty dress with Sorels?  Maybe not.
I’m not sure if I like the look with a cardigan (might just be this particular one), tights and boots or it’s just not a style I’m used to. 
Bows & polka dots?  Yes please.
Regardless I see myself wearing this more next spring and summer with these polka dotted shoes.
Distracted by pigeons that took over my deck
The top I’ll be able to wear now and when the weather warms up.  At first I made it sort of as a joke and an easy out but I ended up liking it more than I thought.  I like the massive oversized bow that will never need tying or fussing over throughout the day.  At the time I bought extra fabric and am looking forward to turning the rest into a dress although I haven’t settled on a pattern yet.

So that’s the story on my contributions to the Bow Neck Blouse sewalong.  It was fun and I appreciate Seamstress Erin taking the time to organize everything and put out a number of inspiration posts of bows on clothes throughout the decades.

1 comment:

  1. Both of them ended up great! The applique bow is a really creative idea and super fun (and easy!). Sorry that you won't be able to wear the flounce dress until the weather warms up, but it looks great and will hopefully get lots of wear in warmer weather! Thanks for joining in on the sewalong.