Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bow-neck Top from Scrap Fabric DIY Tutorial

Reader Abby asked how I made this bow-neck top:

So I'm retroactively sharing a DIY tutorial for it.  Sorry in advance for my poor drawing skills, but hopefully you get the gist of it.  :)

What I Used:
  • Irregularly-shaped scrap fabric from past project - roughly 3/4 yards
  • A pattern (see tutorial here to make your own) OR use a store-bought one for a sleeveless v-neck top
What I Did:
1.) Take your fabric and fold just enough to cover the width of your front pattern piece. 
Approximate layout of pattern pieces (not drawn to scale)

2.) Always cut the piece that demands the most fabric first - in this case, the front.  I neglected to do that and wound up with a fishtail hem.  It turned out fine, but I didn't intend for it to be like that.

3.) To make the most of my scrap fabric, I went with a split back by cutting out each half of the back separately and then sewing it back up at the center.  I also made my back pattern slightly slimmer than the front to further accommodate my fabric.
An error with my illustration above - once you cut your front on fold, you can unfold the fabric and slide Back (2 of 2) to the unfolded edge.

4.) I like a big, floppy bow so I cut my tie neck pieces 5" wide and as long as I could make it (~30").

Sewing Steps:
5.) If applicable, serge your edges (bottom and sides).  Jean shared a nifty tip using a zig zag stitch on her regular machine for raw edges.

6.) Sew your back halves together at the center (wrong side facing out).

7.) Sew the shoulders of your back and front together and then the sides (wrong side facing out).  Note: Because I made my back pieces slimmer, I forked my hem at the sides to accommodate my belly.  Essentially, I sewed the sides and left ~3" at the bottom, then went back, folded each side of the fork inwards, and sewed to the bottom.

8.) Hem by folding the bottom inwards and stitching across.

9.) At this stage, you should have a v-neck top with raw armholes and neck.  Sew your 2 neck pieces together so you now have 1 long, continuous piece.

10.) Align the center seam of your neck piece to the center "V" of your back.  Pin at that junction and work from the center back towards the center front "V", pinning all the way.  Sew the pinned edge of the neck piece to your neckline (wrong side facing out).

11.) Now fold your neck piece in half length-wise over the edges of step 10. Sew.

12.) Finish your armholes with a bias strip in a similar neck manner where you sew one edge to the armhole, fold to cover sewn edges and sew.  I used pre-purchased, single fold strips in white.

Photo of the tie neck with serged edges

And you're done!

I hope this tutorial wasn't too daunting.  Text instructions always make everything seem more complicated than they are.  The top took about 1.5 hours to complete.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. I should try this one of these days. I've made one top, it was a button down with short sleeves and a collar, but this tie-neck blouse seems much easier. Instead of a zig-zag stitch like Jean uses, I use an overlock stitch on my machine with an overlock foot. I feel like it gives a cleaner look than a zig zag without actually having to go out any buy a serger.

  3. You are just so talented!! I love seeing all of your DIY's!!

    xo Jenny

  4. You are so talented! I really wish I knew how to sew, I've been thinking of taking some beginners course (mostly because I've been totally inspired by you)! :)

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  5. Wow! Such talent. I love how you're so practical and resourceful.

  6. Dress making is such a practical skill to have. It's something I lack. I don't know how you managed to find time to make something when you're working and have kids. Busy mom!

  7. What kind of fabric is this? I never know what kind of fabric to buy! I hate sewing with knits or things that fray too much. And I totally want a serger SO BAD.

  8. You are one clever lady! I can't sew to save my life so I'm really impressed.

  9. very pretty work :)

  10. Tks for the tutorial. I think I need a sewing class tho ;)

  11. Elle from Fast Food and Fashion sent me over here to check out your DIYs. I really love these sewing tutorials. I'm wanting to get a sewing machine and learn to sew soon. How wonderful to be able to make custom clothes. :)


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