29 July 2014

How to Make a Bow Back Nettie

It's no secret that I love bows. And the Nettie pattern from Closet Case Files was just screaming out for a bow addition to that lovely scoop back. As promised in my previous post, I'm going to share with you how how I made this variation. Full disclosure - I totally ripped off this idea from a top by Louche that I have in my wardrobe (bought from Joy - love that shop). I'd tried to buy the same style in different colours from them, alas they were all too big for me at the shoulders and back. Hurrah for making it myself!

1) Make a scoop back Nettie, using Heather's wonderful instructions (the pattern is for a body suit or dress, but I just made it into a top). Decide where abouts on the back you want the top of your bow to sit and place pins in either side of the scoop back at this point - for reference, the top of my bow lies 5cm (2in) down from the shoulder seams. Measure the width between these two points across the scoop.

2) To make the bow, cut a piece of stretchy jersey fabric the width of [the measurement you just took + 3cm (1 1/4in)] x 14cm (5 1/2in) length/depth.

Now cut the knot piece that will go around the centre of the bow - 5cm (2in) wide x 8cm (3 1/4in) long/deep.

3) Fold the bow in half, right sides together, bringing together the longest edges. Pin them together and zigzag stitch. Now fold your knot in half, right sides together, bringing the longest edges together. Pin and zigzag stitch.

4) Turn the bow and knot pieces right sides out. Fold the bow in half the other way, bringing the short edges together, with the seam line on the outside of the loop. Zigzag stitch the short edges together.

5) Slip the knot over the bow, positioning it in the centre, with the seam lines on both the knot and bow at the centre back. If you want to, you can secure the knot to the bow with a couple of hand stitches.

6) Turn your Nettie inside out. Line up the raw edges of the bow with the inside seam of the neckband just below your pin markings. Make sure the seam lines of the bow are facing up so they end up on the inside of the top. Try your Nettie on (be careful with the pins, obvs!) and check you're happy with the positioning of the bow. Depending on how stretchy your fabric is (and if you're using the same fabric as the top), you may also want to adjust how tightly the bow sits across your back (the bow will stretch when you wear it, as will the scoop of the back).

7) Once you're happy with the positioning of the bow, straight stitch the bow to the neckband using two parallel rows of stitching.

And there you have it! A lovely bow back Nettie for you to enjoy. Be sure to let me (and Heather!) know if you make one!


  1. So cute! I just made a Nettie with the low back and I made some ties for up by my shoulders. I wish I had seen this, first! Super cute! Definitely doing this one day.

  2. I'm so doing this! The now is an adorable addition and Nettie is on my to sew short list. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yay! Thanks so much for the helpful tutorial - I've been waiting for this ever since your post last week. Definitely on my holiday sewing list :-)

  4. Rad tute Till! SO MANY ABBREVS, haha.

  5. This is such a nice touch! I'm thinking of making a bows to add to other projects now. My younger sister just make the Bridgette scarf from your book and it looks great!

  6. This is a great idea! I've been thinking of making Nettie but have been put off slightly as I have slightly sloping shoulders, tops with a wide neckline just seem to slip off them! I was looking at way of securing the top and holding it in place, this should work perfectly and be very cute too

  7. Fab idea, the bow is really sweet! I have so many projecs at the moment that I use it for! Thank you. P.s I love Joy as well - I could spend a fortune in there just on Christmas presents alone!

  8. Added a bow to a shop bought scoop top yesterday - I can finally wear it!!

  9. That is a genius idea Tilly. I have a couple of very low backed tops I never wear but this could make them bra friendly and so wearable.

  10. Love it! The bow's so effective in lifting a simple top. Where did you find that fabulous striped fabric?


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