18 March 2015

Design Hack: Pussy Bow Mimi Blouse



Thanks for all the love for my Mimi blouse hack! Today I’m going to show you how to make your own pussy bow blouse using the Mimi sewing pattern. I love the Chelsea collar on the original but it’s nice to mix it up every so often, non? The fabric I'm using here is Oxford B Tana lawn, courtesy of Liberty. (Psst! Have you seen the code on the right hand bar for 50% off Liberty archive fabrics? We're in love with the sweets print!)

You may have previously seen a pussy bow pattern piece drafted as a rectangle. What we're going to do here instead is start with the original collar piece from the blouse pattern and adapt it, changing the shape of the end and adding a bow extension. By starting with the original collar, which is drafted to fit the neckline of the blouse perfectly, we'll get a nice shape that lies smoothly on the neckline. Let's do this!

You will need:

  • Mimi sewing pattern - the pattern and instructions are in Love at First Stitch
  • Fabric, thread, buttons and interfacing - see the book for measurements, and if you're using 115cm wide fabric you may need a bit extra for the bow
  • Paper, pencil, ruler
  • Sewing machine and tools, including a tape measure


1) Trace the collar pattern piece in your size onto a new piece of paper, adding the notches and the ‘place on fold’ arrow. (Read my tips on tracing patterns.)


2) Now we need to remove the Chelsea-style shaping of the collar – in other words, even out the width and remove the pointy bit at the end. Mark a point 7.5cm (3in) down the short end of the collar (the short side without the 'place on fold' arrow). Using a curved ruler or a steady hand, redraw the outer edge of the collar from this point, blending it into the original pattern line about half way round the outer edge. Now you can erase the old line.


3) Now to draw the bow extension. Draw a rectangle 7.5cm (3in) wide by the length that you want each bow extension to be (measured from the neckline). I’m making mine 65cm (25 1/2in) long – it’s totally up to you if you want it to be longer or shorter. Stick this piece onto the lower edge of the collar piece and erase the line where the two pieces join. I want the end of my bow to have a diagonal edge, so I’ve redrawn this line.


4) On the inside edge of the collar, draw a notch 1.5m (5/8in) up from the line where the two pieces join to mark the point where the bow extension starts (it’s 1.5cm up because the original collar included seam allowance). You could also draw another notch or two down the bow extension to help you match the two fabric pieces up later. And this is your pussy bow pattern piece!


5) Now you can cut the fabric for your blouse. Ignore the collar piece in the original pattern, and instead cut 2 pieces of fabric from your pussy bow pattern, with the ‘place on fold’ line aligned with the fabric fold. Snip the notches. Trim the short ends and outer edge of one of the pieces by 2mm (1/8in), tapering to no trimming at the corner. This trimmed piece will form the underside of the bow – trimming it down will encourage the seam joining the two pieces to roll to the underside so we don’t see it when you wear the blouse. You can also stay stitch the inner edge of the pieces if you like, just between the notches marking the bow extension, to help stop them stretching out. The pussy bow will be softer than the original Chelsea collar, so you don’t need to cut interfacing.

Pin the two bow pieces right sides together, matching notches. Since you trimmed one of the pieces, the two pieces won’t lie flat on top of each other – you just need to match up the raw edges of the fabric.


6) Beginning from one of the notches marking where the bow extension starts, back tack securely, stitch down the bow extension towards the tip, around the short and outer edges, and stop stitching at the notch on the other side, again back tacking securely. Leave the inner edge between these notches unstitched.


7) Now snip each notch at either end of the stitching line up to – but not over! – the stitching line. In other words, these two notches at each end of the stitching line should be 15mm (5/8in). These notches will be crucial for the next steps...


8) Trim the seam allowances on the stitched edges – not on the unstitched inside edge - snip the corners and turn the bow right sides out. Use a pin to gently pull the corners into points. Press the bow, rolling the seam lines on the outer and short edges slightly to the underside. Don’t press in the seam allowances along the unstitched inner edge – leave them sticking out. (That's where those notches come in handy!)


9) Sew the rest of the blouse up to and including step 4 in the instructions in the book. (I’ve left the side seams unstitched in the photo above so you can more easily see how the bow is attached.) Now to attach the bow to the blouse. Align the inner edge of the bow with the bodice neckline, the underside against the right side of the bodice, matching notches, and aligning the ends of the stitching on the bow with the fitting lines on the centre front of the bodice. Pin in place. Sew the unstitched inner edges of the bow to the bodice using a 10mm (3/8in) seam allowance.


10) To complete the blouse, continue following the instructions in the book from step 7 onwards (constructing the facing). When you attach the facing to the bodice, keep the bow extensions under the facing but out of the way so you don’t accidentally stitch across them.


Et voila - a beautiful pussy bow Mimi blouse. Do share a pic if you make your own - I'd love to see!

***
Pattern: Mimi blouse from Love at First Stitch
Fabric: Oxford B Tana lawn c/o of Liberty

18 comments:

  1. I love how this looks,I'll have to try it out sometime!

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    1. Ooh please do - and then show us a pic :)

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  2. I can imagine this Pussy Bow without sleeves as well... sweetie for summer.

    x missed reading you Tilly! Please keep me in the loop with what/who you're listening too though... I need some new inspiration lately! And you're usually spot on!

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    1. I was missing the Tilly soundtracks too!

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    2. Haha I wondered whether anyone actually noticed the soundtrack bits! Okay so right this second I'm listening to 'Around the World' by Daft Punk - chooooon!

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  3. Thanks so much for this detailed tute. It's so cool to see a tute which uses great techniques. I love sewing, partly because my tastes are too expensive for my income, so I'd rather sew less stuff but more beautifully made, finished, and fitted. I've seen a little too many rushed things on the net - patterns that look like they were made quickly, clothes ditto, sewing demos that encourage speed - what's the rush? If you can sew speedily a la lladybird, that's one thing. And Lauren makes anything but fast fashion. Oooo I'm wandering off track sorry! I don't know if your ever read Eleanore's blog (deer and doe) but she posted something a while back about the commercialisation of sewing which has almost a feel to it of disposable and I think it encapsulated how I have been feeling for a while now. You are the real deal, is what I'm trying to say, I guess... thanks for great patterns, a lovely book which I bought although definitely not a beginner, and for taking the time for posts like this.

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    1. I did read Eleanore's post and felt totally guilty of rushing my own sewing projects, hahaha! Actually it's part of the reason I've decided to post on the blog less, as I felt like I was always in a hurry and trying to do too many things at once, and would rather take my time, enjoy the process and create things I can be proud of :)

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  4. This is a very pretty variation. I've got a huge pile of WIPs, but I am going to keep this version in mind for when I've worked my way through some of them. I do have a question about your Mimi pattern. I've made my blouse up to inserting the sleeves. I made the sleeves up, with the pleated detail, but when I slipped the sleeve on my arm to test the fit before sewing it in, it's very tight at the cuff around my arm. I'm slim, and my arms are a "normal" size. I thought I might have constructed the pleat incorrectly, but the sleeve cuff fits perfectly. Do you have any thoughts? The only solution I can think of is to pick the pleat apart, overlap it less, and cut a new cuff. I'm using an incredibly light, silky John Kaldor fabric, which is kind of hard to work with.

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    1. Hi Katie, if the sleeve feels tight at the cuff, you could do that yes, create less of a pleat. Alternatively you could cut a new sleeve, grading the underarm seam on the pattern by drawing a diagonal line from your usual size at the top to a larger size at the bottom. Do send me a pic when you've finished, looking forward to seeing it!

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  5. I love this! Got some very boring burgundy fabric that I think I may love when it's made up into a Mimi!

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    1. Ooh yes - never underestimate the appeal of solid colour fabric.

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  6. I'm so excited about this. I've had the Mimi blouse on my to-sew list and always thought it would also make a lovely pussy bow blouse! Now I don't have to figure it out myself, I'm quite pleased.

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    1. Yay! Show us a pic when you've made it, Emily :)

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  7. Love the mod. Has anyone done an FBA on Mimi?

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    1. Thank you! The bust fullness on Mimi comes from the gathering at the yoke. What you could do is make a toile of the bodice in a similar drapey fabric, then slash up the centre of the front bodice, stopping at the yoke, and spread by the amount of extra fullness you need. You may also need to slash through the side too (where a bust dart would usually be on a darted blouse) and swing the side seam out, but I'd start with the central line. Hope that works!

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  8. Love the top, book and blog! I have a question...if you see a fabric you really must buy (!) but don't have a specific project in mind yet, how much do you generally buy? Thanks.

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    1. Great question, Marie! It depends on what you *think* you might make with it (little top or full skirted dress?) but my personal rule of thumb is 2m as it covers most things :)

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  9. Hi Tilly! How much extra fabric is needed for this?

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