Bow Neck Blouse Inspirations from the Scruffy Badger

The delightful Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time is a “connoisseur, not an addict” of Bow Neck Blouses. I’m excited to share her favorite BNB patterns as part of the Bow Neck Blouse sewalong. Though she’s used both vintage and modern patterns, she shows how either can be seamlessly incorporated into a wardrobe in a style that’s all hers. Hopefully she can inspire you to make the Bow Neck Blouse your style as well! 

Scruffy Badger Time in Bow Neck Blouse

Hello my name is Scruffy Badger and I have an addiction to bow/tie neck blouses & dresses.  Yes it’s true.  There is a certain chemistry between us, or I would like to think there is, at least. When I last did an audit of the number of bow/tie neck dress & blouse patterns I had in my stash, it came to my realisation that I had at least ten!  To say I was a little surprised was an understatement.  It was time to review those that I had to hopefully see how they differed, thereby justifying my collection. So following on from that, here is an account of those that I have sewn & what’s great about them…

Eliza M Pussy Galore blouse. Now this is a cute pattern, puff sleeves and a bow neck.  The shaping is flattering with darts as well as side seam curves- it is quite long-line though & I think suits best tucked in. Warning though –  this is not the first bow blouse you should attempt as the instructions for attaching the collar are sparse.  I’ve made my first in red polka dot faux crepe de chine & it’s a marvelous staple in my work wardrobe.

Victory Patterns Hazel dress. This pattern is not necessarily designed for knits, but that has been my take on it to date. It’s a playground of colour blocking, you can have some fun.  It’s also got a lower neckline with its bow: more casual, a different look.  This pattern uses neck facings (because of the v neck), whereas tie necks that are at the high neckline do not as they are more like collars.

Simplicity 2614, Threads special pattern. I’ve made this three times now, with all neck variations including no tie when I didn’t have enough fabric: long line bow and short tie neck . I love this pattern for its pretty bodice gathering at shoulders & at the bust.  It has a bias cut lower bodice and different sleeve variations.  Best of all, no closure, it’s an over the head job, but as the Hazel, because it has a lower neck, uses facings.

Vogue 8829. I’ll let you into a secret.  This is my latest make.  As I write this it has not yet been blogged, but I have really enjoyed making it. [Erin’s note: Keep an eye on the Scruffy Badger next week as she reveals this new dress, her latest Minerva Crafts Network make!] Options for playing around with contrast fabric for highlights are clearly suggested by the pattern envelope, it also has a back yoke to create a blouson effect.  It combines the awesomeness of a shirt dress with a bow neck.  How cool is that.

Hot Patterns HP1002, Tie me Down Tops. I’ve made this once but have plans to make another one in plain black (as it seems a fitting use of some posh wool jersey I have).  This is a fabulous pattern for combining style and my fave fabrics: knits.  It’s also got some really cute details such as shirring across the shoulders that creates a smocking effect.

You know by now, that having a lower neck means that it’s finished with facings, but in a knit, that seems less hassle (I didn’t interface mine).  I sewed nearly all of it using my overlocker – but getting a neat “v” shape at the centre front neckline still needed the precision of my regular machine.  Fabric choice is important here if you want to highlight your shirring  & not hide it so that you can show it off to the world.  Comments about this top have compared its styling to a 1930s blouse (but without the ironing! ;-)  For me it brings my love of bows into my weekend and less formal wardrobe which is exciting!

Simplicity 2154. This repro 60s pattern is value for money as it contains 4 wardrobe pieces that all rock some style.  I’ve made all bar the jacket so far.  But we’re here to talk about the bow blouse.  This one is a cute sleeveless fitted blouse.  It has a side zip and a back opening with button. I’m not sure you always need the side zip, if you are a brilliant contortionist and might be able to get away without it, but so far I’ve made two with zips.  What’s interesting about this top is that the bow is a fake bow (i.e. you cannot untie it!) with a collared blouse.  There is a nifty centre front opening as part of the bow’s construction.  The bow itself is meant to be interfaced, however think twice whether you need it.  You might want a more floppy bow & interfacing can be dispensed with.  I’ve made it both in chiffon as well as a cotton version.   Jane’s recent polka-dotted wonder has a bow sans stiffening & it looks just as glorious. [Erin’s note: I’ve got one of these in pipeline for this month!]

So what’s left for me on the bow neck voyage of discovery is to sew a bow neck with peter pan collar and front key hole opening, like this vintage one, Vogue 2032. I had thought it was like the Jamie Christina Miz Moselle dress, however when I went to look again, Miz Moselle is a button neck rather than a tie neck, so I am not sure what modern alternatives are.

So that is a kind of skip through my favourite bow blouse/dress patterns.  Having written this I’d like to think of myself less as an addict, more of a connoisseur with appreciation of the many differences that can be conjured up with this neckline of beauty.  I hope it provides you with some inspiration!  And if you’ve not made one before I suspect you might just fall in love with this artful style !Thank you Erin for asking me to chuck my thoughts into the fray as part of your sewalong :)

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