Out Of The Closet: Bow Tie Blouse

This blog was not started the day I made my first garment and therefore there are quite a few items in my closet that I have made some time ago already, but nevertheless love to wear and share with you.

As I am in the middle of a huge change in my life (post about it will come soon), I will probably be less “productive” for some time at least, but in order to keep this blog alive, I will post some pre-blog projects until I restore a more stable rhythm of life that allows me to continue with the hobby.

The first in line is this bow tie blouse, based on Burda Easy Fashion A/W 2009 issue blouse/tunic/dress pattern. I haven’t been able to find a technical drawing online and at the moment I don’t have access to my pattern stash either, so for now, just this hard-to-interpret Burda photo:



This pattern is one of the few I have used more than once. By combining details and materials, it can be used for so many different garments that it is nearly impossible to recognize that the basic pattern is the same.

Now that I look back at this project, I wouldn’t say it is very difficult to make, but the front detail really requires patience and precision. I think I would be able to get a better result now, but that’s how it is with sewing – you constantly get better and more skilled and at some point might revalue the previous achievements.

Despite the little errors on the blouse, it is one of my favorite items in my closet (unfortunately it doesn’t mean also the most worn) and never goes without compliments, even from men and even when the person is not aware that I made it myself. When my fiance proposed to me on a trip to Pilio mountains in 2011, I had packed the blouse with me for a night out. So, the very first photos of us newly engaged are with me wearing it and needless to say, it has become somewhat of a keepsake.

The fabric was bought from Estonia, back when I was still able to limit myself to “one fabric at a time” rule. It is polyester charmeuse, with a powdery shine. I thought such a fabric, with the tiny cream dots on it, was crying out for a bow tie pattern. I couldn’t really imagine it any other way and still can’t.

I cut size 38, but I would say that it could do with a little bit of more ease in the bust area, I have to choose the bra very carefully when wearing the blouse, since with anything push-up-like, there is a danger of popping a snap open. Yes, although the blouse has buttons, it is actually snaps that keep it closed in front. Remember, this is an Easy Fashion pattern (the snaps were suggested in the instructions) and back then I was not ready for trying to make buttonholes. A mistake, as I learned later, since they are actually manageable!

The most difficult part was sewing the pintucks. The pattern first makes you sew them on a rectangle piece of fabric and then cut out the front yoke pieces. The fabric is quite slippery and measuring the distance of the lines and sewing them up took me forever.

I really like the sleeves, there are eight (!) pleats on each sleeve, two of them opposing and lining up at the shoulder seam. The sleeve end is gathered with an elastic band in the tunnel.

The following photos show how I like to style the blouse, I think a fancy riding horse would be a nice accessory :):

The boots are a Greek brand named Gianna Kazakou, as I notice now, they have a surprisingly decent online shop and deliver outside Greece as well.

The Hourglass Set

The peplum top and skirt set in Burda August 2012 issue caught a lot of attention (in Estonia they sell both, the English and Russian version of Burda and I never understood, why they chose another model for the Russian cover, because the yellow set is really eye-catching) and has been made by a lot of sewists already. This is the pattern, models 113 and 111 C:

As I said, many have sewn it already, some really nice outcomes can be seen here and here. So far my absolute favorite is by SachiDespic, her version can be seen here. On her kind permission, this is her creation:

I was slightly disappointed, when I finally saw the technical drawing of the pattern, because it is more detailed than the Vogue version (Vogue 8815) that I instantly WANTED, when I saw it, especially when Erica B made it in synthetic leather and simply rocks in it. Here are the Vogue 8815 pattern drawings:

At first sight the patterns look nearly identical, but the difference is that in Burda´s version, the seam line of the peplum is curved up int the front (convex) and down in the back (concave). It is no big deal really, but I think the Vogue  looks more casual and Burda more dressy. I have too many dressy clothes already but not too many chances to wear them, so I was considering ordering the Vogue pattern. But of course my impatience (it takes ages for the pattern to arrive from the States) made me trace the Burda top and give it a go.

Well, it gave me a lot of trouble, truth be told. I don´t know what went wrong and if other people have had problems with this pattern, but mine was huge, which is very uncommon with Burda. In fact, it has never happened to me with any of the Burda patterns.

I cut my normal Burda size 38, but I had to take in at least 3cm at both side seams! And I promise I haven´t lost weight 🙂 It doesn´t sound like too much trouble, but because of those curved seams, after cutting my 3 cm off, the curves didn´t match at the side seams anymore! It looked horrible, so I had to pick the seams again and sharpened the curve on the back, so it would match up with the front.

I omitted the sleeves and the facings, because my fabric was quite a thick knit. I bias taped the armholes, the neckline and the peplum hem. I really like the outcome, but I guess I still have to order the Vogue pattern, because as you can see below, my result is far from casual.

Of course, it is my own fault in every way, because I made the skirt as well. When I went shopping for the fabric, I was planning to make the whole set in the same colour, but when I saw the pink knit, I decided that I should avoid ending up looking like a huge pink piglet. As I was looking around the shop, I came across a PERFECT match for the pink – a black knit with slightly glossy alligator print on it. I thought it would cool down the Miss Piggy theme and make a nice contrast.

The skirt was really easy to make, a quick and enjoyable project. Once again I let go of the facings and just used bias tape.

I played around a bit and used pink bias tape to finish off the hem seam allowance
The hem of the peplum

The last photo shows the set styled with my self-made obi-belt. I think the whole thing looks good with a black belt, but maybe a simple narrow one would work better?

Now about the shoes. These are not the shoes I intend to wear the set with, because I have a perfect match back in Athens, which I will post pretty soon, as my long holiday in Estonia is coming to an end, next week I will be back in Athens.

The reason why I rushed and posted the top and skirt project now is that I am not sure if I will be able to make myself get into these knits in Athens in August. Even if it is for showing off my beloved shoes. So most probably I will just make an update on the shoes and hope for an early autumn in Greece. In the meanwhile I will keep an eye on the Vogue pattern, because as soon as it will go on sale again, I am so going to grab it!