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A bow-collar tie blouse in colourful leopard Viscose jersey

A bow-collar tie blouse in colourful leopard Viscose jersey

I have always loved blouses with a bow-collar tie. I’ve hacked one of my trusted patterns to feature this in the past

So, I thought I would document the process of turning this fabulous animal print viscose jersey fabric into a beautiful blouse featuring this bow-collar tie at the neckline.

Here is a little bit about my experience and any tips and tricks along the way. 

First of all, this Viscose Jersey print from Northern Monkey Makes is gorgeous. The vibrant colours are the ultimate antidote to the February blahs— bright green, fuchsia pink, and orange, in a panther / leopard print that is truly non-directional (you’ll see how this helped me!). Viscose jersey fabric has excellent 4-way stretch, great drape and swish. It doesn’t really curl at the edges, meaning hems can be left raw. If you have never worked with viscose jersey before I urge you to try it for all the advantages I’ve just listed. 

PATTERN USED AND HACKS

When scrolling through the internet for inspiration, I’ve been drawn to bright colour and pattern combinations, this fabric was perfect to make that happen.

I had a vision of a bow-collar tie blouse and knee-length skirt that I could wear together like a dress or use as mix-n-match separates. I started with the Made for mermaids (M4M) Pepper top

This top is fantastic in that it has a variety of necklines but none with a bow-collar tie so I hacked in a keyhole and tie collar. I used the mock turtleneck cut line, the slim fit bodice, and long sleeves with short cuffs options.

For the keyhole, I took the easy route and used a small rectangle as a facing. I placed it right sides together at the top of my front bodice piece, drew a 3” line down (which turned out more modest than expected, so you could make it longer for a more plunging neckline), stitched a U-shape around the line, cut iinto the line, turned the facing in, pressed and topstitched.

For the collar and bow tie, I cut a full width of fabric (150cm) x 7” height, interfaced the middle section with stretch interfacing (the width of the original mock turtleneck collar piece). I pressed both edges into the centre and folded in half, lengthwise, and turned in the ends. Once the top was otherwise constructed, I carefully placed the neckline edge about 3/8” into the fold of the collar, using washaway wondertape and pins to keep everything in place.

I then basted and topstitched around the entire collar, attaching it to the top. That much topstitching is nerve-wracking, but I took my time and the print helped hide any wobbles of my stitch line.



For the skirt, I started with the half-circle skirt from the Ellie and Mac (E&M) Tres Belle

Unfortunately, after cutting one side, I realised I didn’t quite have enough fabric left for the second piece. Here’s where the non-directional print and equal 4-way stretch came in handy: I was able to fit most of a skirt piece by laying out the piece cross-grain, and making it slightly narrower. Yep, my hacked skirt is smaller in the front and the fabric is turned sideways. But you’d never notice unless you looked closely! After that, I was able to cut out pockets and a waistband from the scraps, and, voila, a skirt! I liked the length and viscose jersey makes the most wonderful swish. I’ve left the hem raw for now, but I could go back and do a traditional or lettuce edge hem in future. 

MY TOP TIPS FOR WORKING WITH VISCOSE JERSEY FABRIC..

  • The stretch and drape of viscose jersey means that it can distort and / or pull out of place while cutting. Laying it out as flat as possible on the floor, or a large table top, will stop the fabric stretching. Avoid letting the fabric dangle off the edge of the table. 
  •  Using a rotary cutter will also help avoid any distortion while cutting as the fabric will be laying flat, rather than lifted while you cut. 
  • If you haven’t changed your rotary cutter blade recently, treat yourself and do it now! A fresh blade will cut like a hot knife through butter. 
  • Test your overlocker settings before you start. The high stretch of the fabric might require turning up the differential feed to avoid wavy seams. If the seams are a little tight in the end, a gentle tug should loosen them up. 
  • Using an overlocker would be recommended for speed and ease, but you could use a regular machine with a zigzag or stretch stitch too. I would definitely suggest a walking foot on a regular machine. 

LEVEL OF EXPERTISE REQUIRED

The Pepper top has gathering for the sleeves, but is otherwise an easy pattern without the neckline modifications. A confident beginner could achieve the keyhole and tie collar mods very easily too.
The half circle skirt is quite straightforward, and if you start with the Tres Belle pattern like I did, the only change is adding a waistband.

STYLING
Let’s talk about plans for mixing my separates. Don’t laugh, but I’m imagining a pair of M4M Winnie trousers in northern monkey makes  Brique and / or Orange cotton jersey. A Deer & Doe Nenuphar jacket in Cerise cotton drill, and some stripe tees to pair with the skirt. Colour for days! Yay for clashing prints! No boring clothes allowed! So will Sarah look like she narrowly escaped from the circus, or will she look colourful and stylish? Stay tuned to find out!

Blog by Sarah Jeon

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