Little Birdie Bow Neck Blouse

birdie cotton bow neck blouse

My first blouse for the Bow Neck Blouse sewalong (oh yeah, there’ll be more!). A little birdie told me to make this one (groan. bad joke, I know). It’s the bow neck blouse pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I’ve made it before in black rayon blend with big red roses (the same fabric I used for the shirtwaist dress from the same book).

bow neck blouse bow

The fabric is a quilting cotton that I bought at Joanns quite a while ago. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and normally don’t like quilting cottons for garments, but it was just too cute to pass up. I made several small changes to the pattern for this go-around. Since I had previously sewn the pattern in a lighter fabric with drape, I went up a size to account for the quilting cotton. I also changed the shoulder shape a bit to account for my strong shoulders. I lowered the neckline in front a bit, because it felt like it was going to choke me when I was trying on the blouse as I sewed, but I think it ended up a bit low.

gerties bow neck blouse back

Changing the front neckline increased the gap in the back neckline, which I’m also not in love with. But, as long as I pretend it’s supposed to look like that, I think it’s fine.

hand done buttonholes

I thought I was making a brilliant decision to make the buttonholes more subtle. I still bound each buttonhole, but I decreased them in size and didn’t use flaps of fabric to allow for a taller buttonhole. Which effectively made each button veeeery hard to button. And they run down the back of the blouse. Oops. I can get the blouse on and off if I leave the middle two buttons buttoned, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Not my most brilliant design decision, admittedly.

pick stitch hem

I did take the time to pick stitch a blind hem on the bottom and sleeve. Not something I would usually do on a garment made out of quilting cotton, but I knew having visible stitch lines at the hems would bug me.

gerties bow neck blouse collar

And in the spirit of the BNBSewalong, let’s look at the bow construction! The bow on this BNB is a separate length of fabric this is tied around the neckband. The neckband leaves a hole in the very front…

gerties bow neck blouse inside collar

…that is finished on the inside by rolling the neck hem for a couple inches and hand stitching the collar pieces together over the gap. The bow is threaded through and tied in a simple bow.

retro bow neck blouse and khakis

As a side note, these khaki trousers (from Simplicity 3688 repro pattern) sit in my repair pile for weeks and weeks at a time. Until I simply must wear them (like with this blouse. Too perfect together, right? Yes, it’s a mixing of decades for the retro style influence. But hopefully that won’t bother anyone!). And then I pull them out, iron them, wear them once, and put them back in the mending pile. Great system, right? They need a partial lining as they show everything underneath them. I wear them with a little slip, but that only works because I lengthened the crotch too much. They’re such a simple pant that it won’t take much to shorten the crotch and add a lining (and I have the fabric sitting in the mending pile to do it). So maybe this public admission will be the kick-in-the-metaphorical-pants that I need to make myself fix them. Because I’d love to have them in more regular rotation!

Comments 14

  1. This blouse turned out super flattering on you. I love the bird fabric. I have several projects like that in my sewing stash right now. I need to just get them done. I could do it in an afternoon, but the motivation is hard to find.

  2. Really cute outfit. I am planning on doing this blouse in a wool jersey. I just ordered the fabric from mood so I have a mending pile (UFO) to work on in the meantime. Thanks for the post.

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  3. This is my favorite type of blouse – a very classic shape in a great print! I’m surprised the fabric is quilting cotton, it looks like it drapes fairly well!

  4. This top is too cute! And you’re right – it goes perfectly with the khaki pants. Looking forward to seeing more of your bow neck blouses. : )

  5. Great blouse – I’m impressed how well the quilting cotton behaved! I love the mending pile pants story too. It’s funny how sometimes the idea of making a quick & easy fix is less desirable than starting a new garment from scratch. I had a similar situation with a skirt & it was sooo hard to force myself to fix it.

  6. Thank you, thank you! I have just started this pattern and was totally perplexed about how the bow was supposed to work. Your photos were just what I needed. I am going to make a wider, floppier bow. Hope it works. Maybe I’ll make a contrast bow, too and change them out.

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