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.
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.