A Big Bow

“If you’re going to do a bow, I think it should be a BIG bow.” — Michelle Obama

This dress was a ton of fun to make. The instructions came from Pattern Magic, which I have had for a while. I followed the directions, and it came out just like they said it would, which I believe is nothing short of miraculous. I don’t normally do muslins, but I did this time because it seemed so unlikely that it would work out the way they said. Usually when I sew, I do the whole process in my head several times before I even cut it out, but I totally could not get my head around this dress until I had the cut fabric in hand and was in the process of sewing it.

The pattern layout of this dress was horrifying wasteful. What with matching the stripes and accommodating the strangely shaped front piece, it used way too much fabric.

The fabric is a home dec rayon stripe. I loved working with this fabric because it has a great texture, along with enough body that the bow does not flap around. I chose a stripe because I just finished reading the book “The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric ” by M Pastoreau. If you’re into scholarly treatises on sartorial topics (and who isn’t?), it’s a really fun read. One thing he points out is that whether you think horizontal or vertical stripes are more slimming is actually cultural. I have often wondered about that.

The trim is a red silk taffeta, and the lining is the trim fabric. This was a possibly foolish choice on my part, because red dyes are notoriously unstable, but I did machine wash a sample of the 2 fabrics sewn together, and the red did not bleed. I’m hoping it will remain stable.

side view

back view

Muslin. I did not know if it would annoy me to have a big bow in my front, so I wore the muslin to make dinner and put the kids to bed. It did not annoy me at all.

Here is is untied, which looks frankly hilarious. If you can think of an amusing caption for this photo, please write it in the comments.

The Devil’s Cloth book

The dress from Pattern Magic



  1. Posted September 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    How cool! I like how you emphasized the bow with the red trim. The muslin looks great too.

    I just made a bow dress from this book (p. 85, haven’t blogged yet), and it was both easier and more difficult to figure out than I imagined. I wonder if you followed along visually or if you can read Japanese.

    • Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! No, I don’t read Japanese. The diagram was pretty easy to follow.

  2. Meredith P
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “If you’re going to do a bow, I think it should be a BIG bow.” Words to live by…

    I love that dress! I like the muslin too. You do wonderful things.

  3. Meredith P
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I meant to ask, since I’m not familiar with Pattern Magic, could ordinary sewers interpret the designs? This one is beautiful, and I’m sure the others are too.

    • Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hmm, I don’t know. You should try and see what happens. I am a very visual person, and tend to get confused by a lot of words. It is kind of freeing to have all the text be in a language that I don’t speak, so I just have to look at the diagrams.

  4. Posted September 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have a caption that might make you laugh but you might also make you wonder about me (cause I’ve been reading for a short while but I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before). I would sing thing song to my brother about his earlobes, but I’m switching it up for your dress:

    Do you boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro, can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier? Do your boobs hang low?

  5. Posted September 5, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a wonderful dress! It is fun, and drapes well. I love the muslin on you and the final dress will be a knockout on you also. So many designs-so little time….

  6. Posted September 5, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Pattern magic – magic dress. Love the cream and red contrast.

  7. Posted September 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great dress! Have you worn it out and about in the hood yet? I have always loved that dress from that book. Very cool!

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