Pattern Reviews

SOI Pussy Bow Blouse

Hello beautiful people! How has your month of February been?

I’ve managed to make a few things this month which I shall share with you soon, but I thought I’d just put a little review together about my “main” make of the month which was for the Sewing Patterns and Prints Challenge: Sewing Floral February over on Instagram: the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse that I got through the PDF Club. There’s been lots of really beautiful makes this month and I can’t wait to see the winners and what’s in store for next month. The lovely ladies have given us a couple of hints as to what it might be. Have you any guesses?

I’m positive that the PBB will have been reviewed LOADS of times as there have been so many beautiful versions. All you have to do is look through the hashtag for lots of wonderful inspiration; but I wanted to document my own journey and thoughts on the make.

The Pattern

The Pussy Bow Blouse is believed to have first been given it’s name in the 1930s because of the bow that can be tied under the chin; just as bows were tied around kittens necks to differentiate them. However, the look with bows at the neck, began in the late 1800s. They reclaimed their popularity in the 60s thanks to Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. Then in the 80s Margaret Thatcher took it on for her political image. The blouse is certainly a symbol of femininity and power and in this great time of vintage style, it’s a perfect addition to any wardrobe.
The Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse pattern features 2 different versions that change the style at the neck. Version 1 is a key-hole opening with a high tie at the neck and version 2 is a v-neck with a lower tying bow.
As I’ve never really worn anything like this before, let alone sewn anything like this before, I decided to go with the one that I love the look of more; version 1.

I used my My Body Model App croquis to give me a little bit of an idea of how I will wear the blouse and what with. It’s such a wonderful tool as everything I’ve drawn on the croquis, I say to myself, “I could totally see myself wearing that now!”.
I am still using my beta model but Erica released the new Body Model 1.0 at the end of January. The changes include more accuracy, a back view (whoop!), new layouts and lighter outlines. I haven’t upgraded my croquis just yet as I am still “transitioning” and working on the healthier me. In the next few months I’ll be in a place where I’ll be ready to upgrade.

The Fabric

The pattern calls for light weight fabrics with lots of drape such as rayon, sandwashed silk, crepe, viscose, chiffon etc.
Having received a voucher for Sew Me Sunshine at Christmas, I went on the hunt (not that it took me long, there are so many beautiful fabrics) for a drapey fabric and came across this Viscose Twill – Ava. It’s a really beautiful and soft fabric with lots of drape. It’s a gorgeous teal colour and is opaque, which is something I was grateful for as some light weight fabrics can be fairly sheer. It washed beautifully when I did the pre-wash before cutting and also ironed nicely too (as long as the iron wasn’t too hot) however, my trouble came when cutting out. It was more to do with my cutting board rather than the fabric though as my cutting board is only A3 size. Every time I moved it under the fabric, it pulled the lower layer of fabric with it and so a couple of my pieces were cut a weeny skew. I think I’ve managed to hide that quite well in the end, but I did worry a few times whilst sewing together.
I have now invested in an A1 board from Hobby Craft and I have to say, it’s the business!

The Instructions

This is my 3rd Sew Over it make (the first being the Ultimate Culottes and second the Kimono Jacket) and I find the instructions are easy to understand with really good diagrams. The instructions for this make though, swap between version 1 and version 2 a lot in the first 11 steps (there are a total of 28 steps). I got a little lost and made a couple of mistakes; one of which was that I managed to sew up the front seam, well before I was supposed to.
I would love to see a different font or colour when swapping between versions in such close proximity, especially if reading the instructions off a device like I do, rather than the printed instructions, but that’s just my thoughts.
The pieces are well notched and even with my squiffy cutting, they still matched fairly well.
The only other thing I would mention is that the pattern itself doesn’t mention anything about the notions required – which is 2 15mm buttons for the sleeve cuffs and unless you read the instructions carefully before hand, you could easily miss that you need to cut a strip on the bias for rouleaux button loops. (Stage 16-20)

The Make

The blouse can be a fairly straight forward make, but there are a few things to look out for if you’re fairly new to sewing. There’s a fair bit of gathering to do on the sleeves; at the head of the sleeve and at the cuff. There’s also quite a lot of hand sewing to do, (which I actually ended up really enjoying) at the neck line along the back of the neck once the bow tie is in place (step 11) and also the cuff edge (step 24). The pattern here recommends to slip stitch these in place, but I did a ladder stitch or invisible stitch, to keep the thread hidden. This was a make that I wanted to be as nice on the inside as the outside; especially after reading the article by Alison Smith in the Love Sewing Magazine issue 63. The article on page 53 is an “ask the experts” Sew-along for the SOI Pussy Blouse and the techniques to learn/practice with it are tailor’s tacks and French seams; the pattern itself suggests overlocked/zigzagged seams.

I confess I didn’t use tailor’s tack in this instance, I used an erasable pen for marking and the notches did the rest, but I did French seam all of the seams.
French Seams sound intimidating, but they’re really not; the finish is really lovely for the little extra time it takes. The main thing to remember is your total seam allowance and how you’ve divided it up and that you start with wrong sides together. There are lots of tutorials on French Seams on YouTube and Bluprint (was Craftsy) have a really good written tutorial with pictures that I like to refer back to.

The hardest bit of this make for me was actually those teeny little Rouleax button loops.
The pattern asks you to make a bias strip 10cm x 4cm.
Now I did this once and it was so teeny tiny and just impossible to turn without the loop turner that I got really frustrated and binned it. I started saying to myself “why on earth do we have to cut these on the bias? It’s making it too hard to handle, I’m just going to cut on the grain…grumble, grumble”. I got out my fabric and started to measure out and *DING* I had a light-bulb moment. The strip is cut on the bias because the bias has a stretch. These little loops need to stretch over the buttons! Wow I am learning things! So I cut the strip again on the bias, as instructed, but this time made it longer. I wanted to stitch up one end so that I could use a knitting needle to help turn it the right way, then I could cut that off and cut it again to fit my buttons. Boom!
For my buttons, I decided to use self-cover buttons so that they would match my blouse perfectly. I have to say, I’m really pleased with the outcome.

The Finished Piece

Difficulty – Described as an intermediate pattern, I would agree. I actually wouldn’t class myself as an intermediate sewist though. I definitely feel like I’m still an adventurous beginner as there are so many techniques I still need to use and practise. So if you’ve got a few projects under your belt, definitely give it a go. Sew Over It have a Sew Along should you need it.
Time – As per usual, I didn’t keep an eye on the clock as I worked on the blouse throughout the month alongside other projects. The time at the machine wasn’t actually that long, perhaps a couple of hours in total. There is the time for hand sewing to add in and attaching buttons, so perhaps 5-6 hours in total at a guess.
Fit – The pattern is described as having a slightly dropped shoulder and loose fitting with no darts. It’s on the money. Thankfully, Sew Over It provide finished garment measurements and so I decided to make the size 18 even though my body measurements suggest the 20. It was the right decision as I think a 20 would’ve been too big. I love the loose, and floaty bodice that makes it really comfortable to wear out. It could easily be tucked in, but that’s not me at the mo. The only thing I would say is that the sleeves are a tad too long. I don’t mind it so much until it comes to do the washing up ๐Ÿ˜€
Alterations – I didn’t make any adjustments at all to the pattern pieces or when making up the garment. Next time I make it though, I’ll look at shortening the sleeves an inch.
Make again? – Absolutely!!! I really love the tie at the neck version 1 and I’d love to make this again, perhaps in a slightly stiffer shirting fabric. I think it would look really crisp and awesome tucked in to some high-waist trousers.

Thank you as always, for taking the time to read my blog. All likes and comments are so very much appreciated, so thank you. I’ll be posting another blog shortly about my other makes in February and what I plan on making in March, as well as hopefully getting around to my next beginners blog post.
And now for your viewing pleasure some “bloopers” from taking the pictures for the blouse… Georgia loves helping me out, often helping take the photos or just claiming to be “helping you Mummy” by photo-bombing them, but it’s all part of the process and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Sewing Beautiful People โค

DISCLAIMER!!! All thoughts and comments are completely my own. I have not been given anything, asked to review this pattern or mention the products I have by anyone. I am just documenting my sewing journey and hoping to help others along the way

1 thought on “SOI Pussy Bow Blouse”

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