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Bow Blouse One: the experiment

Why hello there blog! I have missed you so. First August happened, and then the semester kept happening, but now is the time to talk of making things. It might be nearly Christmas, but here comes some opposite-season sewing.

My first year living in DC has made me recognize a need for some recalibration to my wardrobe. Significantly more of the year is spent with the temperature above 50 degrees outside. Translated into an office setting, this meant a glaring hole in my grown-up clothing wardrobe. Short-sleeved options were limited to handful of t-shirts and one, lonely blouse which got worn to near death. None of this is bad… just rather boring. And why do boring?

Blue Tie Blouse 3 New Look 6107

I was rather picky about deciding on a pattern to work with. While there are plenty of decent blouse patterns out there, most of them inevitably incorporate some detail that has annoyed me in blouses I’ve previously worn. If I’m going to put in the effort to make a blouse, it’s not going to be one that I know will annoy me at the outset. I decided to try the blouse from New Look 6107 . It includes a number of the features I enjoy in a blouse. I’m a big fan of a separate pattern piece for the back yoke because I think they fit my shoulders better. I like the gathering at the front shoulders. And of course, the tie closure at the neck is what sold me on the pattern entirely.

One of the coolest features of this pattern is the placket that extends behind the button loops. When buttoned, it lies flat and unnoticable behind the slight gap were the two sides of the blouse meet. It is literally impossible to accidentally flash somebody, and you don’t even have to wear layers to avoid it. Brilliant. Also, have I mentioned how adorable those little button loops are? They are very straightforward to make. The mint green buttons came off a card of vintage buttons I found here in DC.


One thing about the pattern that I did not like was the fullness in the sleeve cap which would have given the blouse puff sleeves. I really, really don’t like puff sleeves. When I sew them, I feel like I’ve somehow put the sleeve in wrong, and when I wear them, I feel like a six year old. Sleeve cap ease is something that I want to research more thoroughly, especially as it relates to sewing. I’ve been messing around with sleeve caps in my knitting for years, but woven fabric is less forgiving. On a whim, I decided to try swapping out the sleeve pattern piece from this blouse with the sleeve pattern piece from Simplicity 1882 that I love so much. I only did a single layer, so they are hemmed, but they eased in nicely.

You might recognize the lovely lightweight chambray here. Why yes, that is dark blue fabric from the duvet! It is such a lovely weight to work with for summer clothes, and it’s cheapness makes it perfect for testing out a new pattern.

As has come to be the trend, most of my fitting issues were resolved by taking out two inches at the center back. Cut straight from the pattern, I was swimming in this blouse, and I had nightmarish visions of trying to tackle all the fit problems. Fortunately, adding a seam at the center back to remove a generous two inches of extra fabric resolved everything. I would think I’m making the wrong size if the fit didn’t otherwise resolve itself perfectly. Perhaps in the future I might try cutting out any back pieces one size smaller.

Blue Tie blouse 1

Since this test run turned out better than I had any right to hope, I got some good wear out of it during the summer. The tie works well at keeping the neckline in place for the most part, but it does gape a bit. With this in mind, and now painfully aware of how obnoxious it is to sew a super-long skinny tube and then turn it inside-out so the seam is on the inside, the next iteration of this blouse has a wider tie. Otherwise, I am happy with the pattern as it is.


About autumnyarn

I am a graduate student who sews and knits to satisfy the creative urge, makes clothing to keep the creativity useful, and writes about it to de-stress.

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