Return to the Bowback Top Pattern info and styling page:
How do I get the Bow Back Top Pattern?
To receive the free pattern, visit the pattern page in my shop HERE. <<== click that link
Add the pattern to your cart and navigate through the checkout process. (Don’t worry, this pattern is free, no payment info is asked for.) After the check out process is complete you will see a button prompting you to download the pattern.
Materials Needed to Make the Bow Back Top:
- Stretchy knit fabric, 60 inches wide (1.5 yards of 60-inch fabric for size 16)
- optional: iron-on interfacing
- ribbon, lace, chiffon or other lightweight fabric for the bow
- ball point/stretch needle
- basic sewing supplies
- ball point double needle
- Wash away hem tape
Fabric Layout Guide:
(Seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless otherwise specified.)
Bow Back Top Sewing Instructions:
Step 1: Printing and assembling the pattern.
Download pattern to your pc, open with Adobe Acrobat Reader (not the reader in Google Docs.) Select your pattern size, choose auto landscape/portrait, scaling at 100% or actual size and print.
I recommend first printing page 1 only and checking that the one-inch square printed at one inch. Once you have confirmed your printer settings you can print the entire pattern.
Cut out each block around the outer gray edge and align the gray boxes, edge to edge (don’t overlap) matching up colored circles.
Tape pattern together and cut out.
FYI, there’s a new printing option for you! You can now print only the size needed. (This pattern only, I’ll slowly go back and start updating the older patterns.) This function is super handy and makes it much less confusing when cutting the pattern, plus I love that it enables me to print in black and white. (Color ink can be pricey!)
Step 2: Cut out pattern pieces.
Line the bodice and sleeve patterns up on the fold, with stretch going side to side and cut out, one front bodice, one back bodice, and 2 sleeves.
If you choose to add the iron-on interfacing to the front and back neckline facing pieces, it is SO MUCH EASIER to iron the fusible interfacing to the fabric first and then cut the neckline facing pieces out. You will waste a bit of interfacing, but it is worth it in time and frustration. (I did not do this on my test piece and it was a major pain to get the fusible interfacing and my fabric neckline facing pieces to line up!)
Line the facing pieces up on the fold (with stretch going side to side) and cut. Don’t forget, I recommend ironing the interfacing to the facing fabric FIRST then cutting the pattern pieces out. It is ok if you don’t, you will just need to use the facing pattern pieces and cut two facing pieces from the fusible interfacing, line them up and iron them together.
Cut 2 strips of your ribbon 38.5 inches each.
So you will have 2 sleeves, front and back bodice, front and back neck facing and whatever you choose for the bow. (Ignore the pink lace shown in the photo, I intended to add that to the bottom of the hem, but did not have enough.)
Step 3: Assembling the bodice.
Line up the front and back bodice and sew together at the shoulder seams.
Line up the front and back neck facings at the shoulder seams and sew together. If using fusible interfacing, it should already be fused to the fabric.
Line up the neckline of the facing and the bodice, right sides together.
Insert the ribbon strips in between the bodice and facing piece. (as shown below) Pin in place.
Carefully sew along the neckline using a 1/4 in seam allowance. Taking care to not catch the ribbon in the neckline seam.
Press the seam allowance towards the facing.
Use scissors to clip the corners and notch the curves, taking care not to cut into the seam line.
Step 4.: Optional Understitching Step.
Understitching is not a step I typically do as I usually topstitch around my facings for stability. But if you want a seamless neckline, you may wish to take this additional step and understitch the facing as it will help keep the seam of the neckline from rolling/being visible to the outside.
To understitch around the facing, simply sew a line of stitching on the facing side, right along the 1ist seam.
When you get to the corner, just go slow and stay as close as you ac to the original stitches. Also, take care to not catch the ribbon in your stitches.
In my corner example photo below, the original stitches are in black and my stay stitches are in red.
Flip the bodice right sides out and give everything a good press.
Step 5: Adding the Sleeves.
Hem the sleeves.
If you don’t have a cover stitch machine, I recommend the wash away hem tape for perfect knit hems.
Line up the center point of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, right sides together.
Ease, pin and sew the sleeve in place.
Repeat for the other sleeve.
Line up the side and sleeve seams and sew together.
If desired, hem the bottom of the shirt and you are finished!