Friday 23 August 2013

Refashion Friday Tutorial/How-To: Bow Front Tank Top

Here's a refashion/remake that I made towards the tail end of last Summer that I thought I'd wait to share with you this (Northern Hemisphere) Summer. Seeing as August is galloping along, I just remembered in the nick of time then! It was inspired by a rash of bow bandeau type bikinis that kept appearing on Pinterest (like the one pictured below found on the We Heart It site, apologies I couldn't find the original image or garment source). I thought they were a really cute idea, but decided to try and reinterpret the look for someone who never has cause to wear a bikini (like me). 

I started my creation with an unwanted mens T-shirt (pictured below) that I remade so it had a more feminine fit. I harvested strips of white jersey from another secondhand T-shirt to use as binding for the recut armholes. Of course you needn't go to the trouble of remaking a garment before you stick a bow on it (is that as catchy as 'stick a bird on it' I wonder?), this idea could be used to spruce up any plain garment. 

So once you've found what garment will be the basis for this project, it's time to make a bow. There are probably lots of bow-making tutorials out there, but hey, I'm going to throw my hat into the ring and add another as I really like the chunky bows my method produces.

Step 1:

Use a tape measure to gauge how wide and deep you'd like your final bow to be. This process might work better if you put the top on (if you are making it for yourself) to get the proportions right. 

Step 2:

Measure a piece of contrast fabric twice the width of your desired final bow width plus 2 X seam allowance, and twice the height of your desired final bow height plus 2 X seam allowance. Please note: the gathering step of the bow construction usually makes the final bow a little less wide than the initial measurements, so you might want to add a few cms to the width of the fabric before you cut it out. 

Step 3:

Fold the fabric lengthways, right sides together if your fabric has a wrong and right side, and stitch along the edge with your chosen seam allowance.

Step 4:

Press your seam allowance open. Turn the tube of fabric through so that your seam allowance is hidden inside but positioned along the middle of the tube. Press the tube of fabric flat so that is now a strip rather than a tube.

Step 5:

Fold the strip of fabric in half, right sides together, and stitch the remaining raw edges together. Press this seam allowance open, then turn this loop of fabric the other way so this shorter seam allowance is inside positioned in the middle of what will become the back of your bow. Apologies, the picture below isn't very clear because my white stitching is almost invisible against the white stripe of the fabric. 

Step 6:

Decide how wide you want the 'knot' of the bow to be, then put the main bow piece to one side for a moment. Cut a strip of your fabric twice the width you'd like the knot to be, then fold the edges of this strip in to the centre and press as pictured below. 

Step 7:

Put the knot strip aside for a moment and thread a hand sewing needle with a double thickness thread. Take hold of the main bow piece again and pinch in the centre to create a nice gathered bow effect. 

Step 8:

This it is a bit fiddly, one of those 'I could use another hand' moments! Keeping hold of the gathered bow with one hand, and with the other fold over the raw edge of the end of the knot strip and place it in the centre of the back of the main bow piece. With the pre-prepared hand sewing needle, stitch the end of the knot strip to the centre back of the bow main piece. 

Step 9:

Wrap the rest of the knot strip firmly round the centre of the bow so it controls the gathers that you have previously been pinching in place. Cut the knot strip to the correct length leaving enough excess to fold under the raw edge of the end. Hand-stitch this second knot strip end on top of the first.  

Step 10:

With your bow complete, position it evenly in the centre of your top and hand-stitch in place. Alternatively, stitch poppers/press studs onto the four corners of the bow and one in the centre so the bow is removable for washing. This will help retain the nice structure of the bow you have created. 

So there you have it. A humorous and cheeky little top that retains a touch more modesty than the bikini version! 


Jacq C said...

Clever refashion, as always, I do love a bow! I think making it removable is a very good idea - I made a cotton top with a smaller bow on the front and it's a faff to iron!

eline said...

I love it! And indeed more wearable than a bikini in our climate :-)

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial... makes me want to pimp up all my plain t-shirts with a bow!

Tabet said...

sweet idea and a great tutorial! Looks so lovely :)

badmomgoodmom said...

So cute in a Minnie Mouse sort of way!

FYI, northern hemisphere seasons are called Boreal (spring/summer/autumn/winter). Similarly, Austral seasons refer to southern hemisphere seasons.

The annual rise and fall in global CO2 levels rise in Boreal summer and fall in Boreal winter--showing that the northern hemispheres have more forests (and land masses) than the southern hemisphere. It's just what you would expect. That the global CO2 levels are on a upward trajectory is alarming.

Miche said...

Adorable refashion! I love the way it came out - definitely going to have to try it out, maybe this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Very cute :)

Lucy said...

Super cute!
I love quick and simple ways to update plain t-shirts (or hide holes!) :)

Unknown said...

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tank top

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