Design Inspiration: Bow-Fronts (Ideas for February’s “Hack”)

Please excuse the hasty screen captures from my pinterest board.  I’ve been thinking about this month’s hack* for a while and forcing myself to put it on the back burner to simmer.

I really, really like this cut and think it will translate well into a knit tee.  It’s a bow, sure, but the bow itself is a part of the garment rather than mere embellishment.  Maybe that’s why I want to make it so badly.  The little peek-a-boo is sweet but not too revealing, I think this would be a pretty style to wear.

Then I remembered this Advance blouse I ran across a few months ago.  I like the drapey-scarf-bow, though it is more an embellishment than the first bow.  It’s a similar detail, but different enough to give me pause.

Then Leimomi sent me this little gem the other day.  It combines the best of the first and second fronts- a bow, a scarf, and a peek-a-boo.  I like the yoke seaming, but I also like the scarfy seaming on the Advance blouse.  I keep running the three designs through my head, trying to decide which elements of each top I want to include in February’s Hack.

So I leave it up to you all.  Help me decide, and you’ll see the hack in the last week of this month.  Did I mention the fashion fabric?

I bought heaps of this navy and white cotton knit to make a t-shirt for my husband.  Actually, the cutter gave me extra because the stripes were “off-grain,” but that’s a topic for another day.  The point is, I have more than enough to make a pretty top for myself.

The tension between these severe lines and the super-girly cut really appeals to me.  I also plan to do fun things with the stripes.  My basic tee pattern fits me exactly as I like it, and it doesn’t need much “give” except when I pull it over my head.  That means I can turn the fabric on its side if I please.

Probably.  If it’s a disaster we can all have a good laugh.

Time is short tonight- I had a breakthrough with pattern imaging this evening at grave cost to my blogging time.  Here’s a page from the Kimono Wrap Pattern:

If I don’t post for the next day or two, it’s because I’m working on this pattern- *gasp* it isn’t hand-drawn.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have finally figured out a rudimentary way to do this.

If you have any similar-but-different design inspiration images to share, please link it or email me and I’ll take a look.

(*I haven’t posted the completed construction notes for the Sailor Tee– and I probably won’t get around to it until someone hollers at me about it… So if you’re looking out for it, let me know and I’ll finish it sooner rather than later!) 


  1. I’m a fan of the first bow. I like the little peek a boo, I like that it would be above my bust rather than draping over it. I think it would work really well for a fairly casual tee or done up nicely like the dress.

  2. The last one is very feminine and works well with drapey fabrics but the first one would be more stable with knits….it really depends on the fabric but definitely not the middle one.

  3. I LOVE the Advance blouse! It’s vintage looking but would still be casual and modern in a stable knit. I feel like the first bow’s knot would be too chunky at that part of the chest on us busty gals!

    • The Advance blouse IS adorable. For sure… :)

      I think perhaps the knot on the first blouse isn’t all that big… and since it’s up above the bust, it should be ok.. I’m kind of sensitive to adding bulk in that area, too.

    • I like the Advance blouse too, but I’m most on the fence about that one… It’s gorgeous, but I wonder if it would be more suited to a flimsy rayon or a chiffon…

  4. Maybe what we have here Steph, is a three month’s worth of hacks situation! :) I think they all have merits and are quite different in a world where a girl can’t really have enough cleverly executed bow details. Working top to bottom maybe?

  5. I am now completely in love with the neckline on #3 McCalls 6893, and am trying to figure out how to adapt it to my own TNT knit top pattern… Do you have the image of the pattern pieces? (It would make my attempt a lot easier if I could see how they shaped the upper and lower center front pieces)

    So obviously, I am hoping that you will choose that one to make up

    • I don’t have the image of the pattern pieces, but the seamlines are pretty clear in the envelope front. I couldn’t say what the back looks like. If I don’t do this one this month, I probably will in the future because I want to wear it, too. :)

      Maybe I should make a poll..

  6. Ok this is interesting…. I love the first one! And I just bought a top from Banana Republic just like the Advance one, but with bracelet length sleeves… it’s a very retro feel, but made out of rayon, so comfy as all get out.

    Although every time I wear it, I feel like I should be taking short hand…

      • Knit. In a sort of animal print… in eggplant and black. Not like me. at. all. But that was the point. I should photograph it for you – it’s got some interesting details at the top of the sleeve, and a seam that runs down the front. I’m busty, but the bow at the front is actually quite lovely – not what I initially feared when I looked at the top on the hanger.

      • The cut sounds really interesting, I’d love to see it… And I’m always a fan of gently pushing one’s comfort zone- sometimes you find something that you really like!

  7. I really like the first one. I got a nice little creative jolt when I saw that pattern and I can see it in my life. It could really jazz up a plain suit and give a nice bit of interest to a business outfit. Very nice, indeed.

    • I’m glad, Carol. :) I bet you’d do something heart-breakingly gorgeous with a cut like that… I’ll make sure to engineer it well with nice finishing details.

    • Bow-tie, eh? It definitely looks like one!

      I wonder how it would look with a red bow on a black top? Hmm.

      The drapey bows are really pretty, too. I might have to do one type this month and the other type next month, because I like both bows… :)

  8. My fave is the first one—not too terribly dissimilar from the Lekala twist-top I made a couple of times last winter.

    Can’t wait to hear what your breakthrough was! Congratulations. :D

    • I googled what you wrote about the lekala tops and now I’m having crazy ideas of raglan lines with cut on sleeves. If I lowered the neckline on your lekala and introduced a high bow or scarf neckline (depending on which stood up to my around the house trial runs..) it would be very similar…


      Thank you!

  9. That lilac stripe is so pretty, “”it isn’t hand-drawn.”” yea for you, it is so rewarding to master a program after working so hard on it. If I can help or answer any questions you might have, just ask; for the last 20+ years I have used most graphic programs.

    The 3 blouses are all nice, I could see making the first and second ones without the bow and having a way to attach them when and if you wanted to wear it that way. Having a big bust I don’t need more attention drawn to them, like with a keyhole. Nice blouse just not for me.

    • Thanks for that, Linda. I’m glad to know I can actually ask someone, rather than hitting a brick wall…. :) I think this winter I may cast around for a graphics class to take. Or digital patternmaking… Does anyone do that?

      A detachable bow? That might take some fancy sewing, but I could play with the idea… I think it might work well to have a simple change in the pattern for “with bow” and “without bow”..

      Maybe we’ll call it the “With and Without Bow” hack… :)

      • I think this winter I may cast around for a graphics class to take. Or digital patternmaking… Does anyone do that?

        A program is only as good as how it is used, and you can use any program to accomplish a task as long as you know what you want to portray and how you want it to look. one of the easier programs to use is Microsoft word or publisher. The program has the ability to manipulate photos, draw lines and text boxes which can be moved, or rotated to any angle. The hardest part I can see you having is portraying your lines at a particular length. Most “graphic” programs which alter photographs usually do not have good line construction capabilities. What you would be looking for would be a simple free drafting program. To get an idea of a drafting program compared to a graphic program try using google sketchup. Let me look around and see what I can find that would work for you. I myself have used this type of a program for years to create quilt blocks, then again I’ve used these programs for 20+ yrs. If your short on time and need to get something out and know someone willing to help draught, you can always ask.

        A detachable bow? That might take some fancy sewing,

        I don’t think you need any fancy sewing… For the first top (vogue). Take the idea of the Jan Hack Sailor tee. Look at the neckline Square sides, angled front – now if you make a bow to fit accross the front top between the straight sides, with flaps or wings or ? on the edge with small button holes or snaps, this then would marry up with buttons or snaps on the inside, underside of the square neckline. depending on how much or little you want to show you can move the bow up (twords neckline) or down or even make different bow sizes. The second top (advance) make a nice rounded flat seam and spaced around on the seam underside is where you can attach buttons or loops or whatever for the attachment of the scarf.

        Hope I haven’t confused you, but given you ideas to ponder.

        • Thanks for that, Linda. :)

          I’ve worked with publisher, and preview for mac is amazingly powerful. For this project I used GIMP… I have been trying to learn how to use this program for the better part of the year, and only just now “got it.” There’s so much I *don’t* know, though.

          Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll keep them in mind while I’m drafting. :)

  10. Pingback: How I Got a Suntan and Upcoming Projects « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  11. Pingback: Finished Object: Bow Tie Tee « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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