All tied up

MMblouse pic
Issue 58/March 2015 of Making magazine was released in the UK yesterday and in it is this simple front buttoning bow tied blouse pattern and tutorial by yours truly 🙂 Now the issue is on the shelves I can share this version with you- available on my Free Patterns PageKimono-Bow-blouse-flat

It’s based on the same hip-tucked body shape as my keyhole neck kimono/magyar blouse and like that one also has a 30’s/40’s feel to it. Works with or without shoulder pads as well.


Yesterday as an after thought I added optional extra front and centre back tucks to this pattern to help you make the hips a closer fit if desired. Top-stitching along each tuck looks nice too.

However if you’re just not a pussycat bow fan…

Say NO to the bow

….you could add a different sort of collar; a less fluffy bow tie, a peter pan, a simple stand or even just sew on a vintage lace collar to the round neck.

Green satin blouse VeraVenus

This little green silk satin blouse is one I made years ago. It has a very similar style armhole though shaped closer to the shoulder and with a little curve in the underarm so it forms a closer fitting grown-on cap sleeve. The simple skinny tie collar is just a straight folded band.  A detail I particularly like from 30’s and 40’s bloused is multiple close rows of top stitching. It lends an instant vintage feel to a modern make. I went to town with that idea, even adding it on at the seams and hems.


I like the bow blouse with jeans but it works really well with some of of my vintage 40’s suits.

I’ve just been sorting through my Spring/Summer wear (inspired by this sunny day) and remembered that a few of those of those have undergone some major alterations to get them to fit me nicely. A post on what I think of as ‘kamikaze alterations’ is on the way. It may give you some useful ideas on how to approach various fitting alterations on vintage garments, particularly how to gain that valuable waist and bust real estate. It’s more than just letting out a couple of darts as you will see.

Stay tuned…


20 thoughts on “All tied up

  1. Vera,

    This blouse looks lovely. I have been sewing for a very long time, but I am not professional and I always find that I am critical of the end product. I do have questions on how to serge edges and roll edges. I notice this is size S/M and I am wondering if I could size it for L without difficulty.

    Again, thanking you from Boston, Mass.

    1. Hi Diane, have a look at the Threads Grading guide, (link is on the sidebar) you could size the blouse up very easily with that method. I used french seams as a clean seam finish but there is no reason they couldn’t be serged instead. As to doing rolled edges I give very detailed info in my French Knicker tutorial for making very small ones but to make a ½cm one I simply press .5 up…. maybe edge stitch the fold if it the fabric needs stabilising , turn it over again and from the inside edge stitch along that first fold, or hand sew if preferred. Hope that helps

    2. Vera,

      Thank you for answering my e-mail so quickly. I found the information very helpful and am eager to start applying this new knowledge.

      Diane Gagne from Boston, Mass

  2. Hi Vera,
    I just discovered your website, which I find lovely! Do you think a chiffon fabric can be suitable as well for this blouse? Many thanks in advance and Season’s Greeting from Italy! Stefania

    1. Thank you Stefania. I think the blouse would be lovely in chiffon! I’d do french seams and use some organza on the front facings. Buttonholes can be tricky on fine fabric… an alternative is to use poppers (snaps) and just sew the buttons on top. I hope it turns out well and Seasons Greetings to you too 🙂

      1. Many thanks for your reply and your tips! I will make the necessary adjustments during the Christmas holidays, then I will take my sewing machine out of the cabinet only from January on, I’m too stressed for everything right now 🙂

  3. HI,
    I need some ideas. a couple of years ago I bought my Granddaughter some black and white gingham. I got it at Aust:$1 a metre so I took the roll of 10 metres. I made her 1 dress for school but was told by the teacher it has to be their school uniform or the tops and pants. So I have nearly 8 meters left. I was wondering what to use it for other then cushions covers for the outside furniture
    I do like it in a dress and thought of lace around the edges for myself. I am at a loss of ideas for it
    thank you for a great web site of ideas Robyne

    1. Carla, and there is a draft your own pencil skirt (and other skirts) tutorial on my free pattern page…just in case you haven’t seen it.

  4. Classic pretty—thank you! (That floral you stitched it up in is so perfect, too. Hurry up, spring.)

    1. Hurry up Spring here too! All I’m making at the moment are light weight things…. and then wearing big chunky sweaters on top 🙁

  5. Great pattern. I can see this with a great high waisted circle skirt. I just love making vintage clothes. Would love to add your blouse to my collection.

    1. 🙂 Roxanne.
      That sounds like a great look paired with a circle skirt!

  6. Love the pattern. Here in Australia we have on the cable TV a show called The great Bristish sewing show. Its really great and they made tops from the 30s the other week. It had Peter Pan collars with elastic gathering under the collars. I would love to make that blouse if you have a pattern.

    1. March 18 edit: Love Sewing magazine has a free download of that blouse template here –

      Thanks Robyne 🙂
      I do compulsively watch the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC catch-up while I’m in my workroom but I must say for soooo many reasons I don’t actually like it much. My family thinks it’s a hoot to hear me talking at my computer ‘mad woman in the attic’ style while it’s on, it doesn’t bring out the best in me!
      But yes, a pretty blouse.
      Anyway a quick look on Google seems to indicate that after the series a book and patterns from the series are released. Maybe the book will have that blouse?

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