Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 6: Pattern for the Bow

It takes a lot more fabric to cut a Pussycat Bow on the true bias. The results, though, are well worth it. The finished bow will drape beautifully. It will also follow the curve of the neckline smoothly so long as care is taken in the cutting and sewing.

Since the Retro Glam version of the 1950s Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow has a lower neckline even more fabric is required than would be for a blouse with a higher neckline following the shape of the neckline.

If a Pussycat Bow is cut on the lengthwise or crosswise grain the fabric will circle the neckline in a satisfactory manner but it will lack the softness of one cut on the true bias. The bow, too, will not have any softness or fullness. Instead of looking appealing, the bow will droop. It will not have the fullness that a bias cut bow will.

The choice is up to you. I recommend experimenting with inexpensive lightweight muslin, calico and gingham to see what appeals to you. Using a gingham or striped fabric will also stimulate creative ideas from comparing how prints and stripes will look for a bow when cut on the straight grain or true bias.

The pattern follows…

The sample measurements given are for a Misses Size 4. Substitute the measurements from your own custom drafted pattern.

1. Measure the curve of the back blouse neckline from Point A to Point F. For Misses Size 4 this is 3″.

Close-up of front of blouse neckline.

2. On the blouse front, mark up 3/4″ from Center Front line. In the diagram this is marked by a black circle. This is the point where the bow ends on the neckline. The extra space between the end of the bow and Center Front is needed to accommodate the knot when the ends are tied.

Measure the distance on the Front Neckline from Point F to the dot. For Misses Size 4 this is 7 1/2″.

3. To draw the rectangle for the Pussycat Bow calculate the total measurements of your neckline as measured in steps 1 and 2. To this add 24″. So for Misses Size 4 the total for the horizontal width of the pattern is calculated as:

Back Neckline 3″ + Front Neckline 7 1/2″ + 24″ = 34 1/2″.

Substitute your measurements for Back and Front Neckline.

4. The height of the rectangle is 5″.

5. Label the rectangle A, B, C and D as shown in the diagram.

6. From Point A measure down 2 1/2″ and label Point E.
From Point B measure down 2 1/2″ and label Point F.
Connect Points E and F with a straight line. Mark “Fold Line”.

7. From Point A measure the Back Neckline curve measurement. Mark Point 1. For a Misses Size 4 the A-1 distance is 3″. Use your own measurement.

From Point D measure the same amount and mark Point 1.

Connect A-1 and D-1 with a vertical line. Mark as Shoulder Line. At this point the bow will be matched to the shoulder seam of the blouse.

8. From Point 1 measure the distance of the Front Blouse neckline from Point F to the dot. Mark Point 2. For Misses Size 4 the Point 1-2 distance is 7 1/2″. Use your own measurement.

Measure on the lower part of the rectangle the same amount from Point 1 and mark that as Point 2. Connect the points with a vertical line as shown in the diagram.

Point 2 is matched to the circle on the Front Bodice Neckline. This is where the neckline portion ends. The rest of the length is for the bow.

Construction details for the handling (with care) and sewing (gently) of a bias cut Pussycat Bow will be presented once I begin construction of the blouse in the fashion fabric.

9. From Point 2 to Point B the measurement should be 24″ the amount needed to make a fluffy bow as shown in the original pattern illustration which inspired the Retro Glam version of this Secretary Blouse.

10. From Point B going towards Point 2 measure in 1 1/2″. Mark Point 3. Repeat on lower part of the pattern from Point 3 and mark that Point 3, too.

From Point 3 draw a diagonal line to Point C. Mark as Point C-3. Repeat from Point 3 on the lower part of the pattern to Point B.

Points C-3 and Points B-3 intersect along the E-F line. Mark that Point 4. Lines 3-4-3 are the cutting lines for the end of the Pussycat Bow.

11. Use a clear plastic ruler and Tailor’s Chalkd to add 1/2″ seam allowances along the pattern when cutting the fabric. If you prefer, you can add the seam lines before cutting out the entire paper pattern.

12. Mark True Bias Grain line at intersection of Points 2 line and Fold Line.

13. Mark A-E-D line as for Center Back.

14. Use this pattern piece to cut two fabric pieces for the bow.

15. The seam of the Pussycat Bow is matched to the Center Back line of the back blouse pattern.

NOTE: The length of the bow needs to be adjusted to what is most flattering for you. The pattern is longer than needed so that you cut sufficient length to experiment with what looks best on you.