bow blouse | mccalls 6793

one thing i’ve been trying to do over the past year is make things to fill gaps in my wardrobe. blouses rank very high on that list, so i pulled out mccalls 6793. maybe it’s the archers in my life speaking, but i’ve been fully embracing the boxy tops as of late. the fabric i have is a cotton lawn of the most silky variety. i found this yardage at my local fabric haunt for $3.99/yd (score!) and i can not believe that it’s just cotton. those super high quality cottons i’ve read of were really only the stuff of legends to me, and now i get it. the feel is amazing! to be honest, i don’t 100% love the print. it’s okay, but with that feel at that price it had to come home with me. initially i planed to make a scout tee, but the print is so large i thought it needed some extra details to break up the print, hence the bow.

this pattern is sized XS-S-M-L-XL-XXL which always annoys me. i get that with the boxy fit individual sizes aren’t totally necessary, but still. knowing that you usually need to size down with these patterns it’s hard to pick a size to go with. i went with a S at the bust, grading out to the M at the waist/hip. to make sure it didn’t cling over my hips i made a curved hemline and lengthened the back by 1″. my measurements hit the upper end of the sizes i chose, so i thought i’d be pretty safe. and really it’s not far off, i like the fit in the bust/shoulders, but i really could have kept to the small at least through the waist and just flared out at the hip. partially to blame is my fabric choice which has a touch too much body for this fit (this pattern would be great in a rayon or silk crepe de chine). i’ll probably end up taking the sides in a little, but other than that i’m happy with it.

not trying to look all stiff here... it was windy and i was trying to keep my top in place!

not trying to look all stiff here… it was windy and i was trying to keep my top in place. also, bad lighting… sorry!

the bow part is a real fabric hog, by the way. it’s cut on the bias, which gives it a nice soft drape, but since the two pieces have to be cut perpendicular to each other to keep the direction of the print the same for each side it’s really fabric inefficient. ya’ll know how much i like to conserve fabric, so it definitely hurt a little. when attaching the ties around the neckline, you are supposed to slipstitch the entire inner seam, but i opted to stitch in the ditch from the outside and catch the turned in SA on the inside. i don’t mind hand sewing, but if i can avoid it i will.


initially i had cut the blouse-y 3/4 length sleeves, but the print would have been way too overwhelming. i pulled out the cap sleeve pattern piece and went with that instead. i thought that the cap sleeve would be easy to sew, but man it was finicky. instead of sewing the sleeve together under the arm, you overlap the ends at the side seam. much harder than it sounds! i should have reduced the SA from the get go, i forgot how hard it is to sew these tricky bits with 5/8″ in the way. then, to keep the SA from flipping out, i stitched in the ditch to tack the SA down under the arm.


i didn’t muslin this top, but i did make some flat pattern adjustments before cutting. i made a 1/4″ FSA (forward shoulder) and pinched out 3/8″ all around above the bust line. i find that despite my height, my upper body is petite, so typically i have indecently low necklines and gaping armholes. those adjustments worked out perfectly, yay me!


final verdict: this is a cute top and fairly quick to make. the pattern is labeled “easy” but i don’t think “quick” and “easy” are necessarily interchangeable here. the neckline treatment requires a lot of precision to look nice, and the cap sleeve was a little challenging. also, if you’re on the low end of the size measurements, size down! there is plenty of ease since this blouse pattern isn’t intended to be fitted (finished measurements are stated on the pattern). but, if fitted is what you want, i would look elsewhere. i may use this pattern again for view B with the gathered peplum-type detail (that’s the view i bought the pattern for) but i’m not sure i need another bow blouse in my life. maybe i can come up with a different neckline treatment—scoop neck with a button placket? we shall see…

—lisa g.

22 thoughts on “bow blouse | mccalls 6793

  1. kathi giumentaro says:

    I Love your top. I HAVE THIS SAME FABRIC. I too was shocked that it was 100% cotton. I would have sworn that there was some silk in there. I made an archer for my trip to Disney last month. It was nice to be covered but still feel cool. This fabric was perfect for an 80 degree day at the Magic Kingdom. I wish I could find more of this fabric is different prints.

    • lisa g says:

      another sewfisticated gem! ooohhhh i bet it looks awesome as an archer! i had this fabric sitting around for a month or two and i had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t silk. crazy soft stuff! i’m so curious where this fabric came from and how i can get more!

  2. Katie says:

    This turned out so cute!! I would wear that blouse frequently — it would be a perfect work blouse. Fabric-hogging ties would be annoying though. I like to conserve fabric too.

    • lisa g says:

      thanks! this blouse will get a lot of wear, i’m sure. it’s so comfortable, plus the cap sleeves fit perfectly under a cardigan. and if you use a solid color fabric or something without a directional print you could get away cutting the ties parallel to each other, which would save quite a bit of fabric.

  3. crab&bee says:

    This blouse is incredibly flattering! I think the cap sleeves were a great choice, and the bow really does look nice (in spite of – or because of? – being a fabric hog!)

  4. Wendy says:

    Such a great pattern! All variations are very pretty! I like the neckline of your blouse with the tie and I think you were absolutely right stitching in the ditch. Maybe you can make View B with the neckline finish of C and D (I suppose it is just a facing).

    • lisa g says:

      i’m surprised there aren’t many versions of this top out in the wild yet, i think i only found two reviews. hopefully i can revisit the pattern because it is a fun top!

  5. poppykettle says:

    Pretty! and ha – I’m so hearing you on the bias thing. I lurve the end look, but the fabric hog that is bias kills me everytime. I’ve just finished cutting out the muslin for my bridesmaids dresses which have a significant drapey part on the bias… and there was world war 3 going on in my head between the left and right brains about conservation and doing it right. The latter won out of course… as it should, because your bow looks gorgeous here 🙂

  6. Shar says:

    I really like this top! I love the way one of the flowers frames the neckline – at least I think they’re flowers :). I can definitely use more tops since for some reason I keep making dresses and skirts. The only shirts I’ve made recently were for my husband – must rectify that! I do have Pattern Runway’s PB Blouse all traced and my fabric washed but I’m afraid I’ll mess it up so I keep putting other things in front of it. Seamstress Erin is the one having the Blow Neck Blouse Sewalong.

    • lisa g says:

      thank you! they are flowers–almost like giant graphic sunflowers ha! pattern placement could have gone very wrong, very fast… and as much fun as dresses are to make, tops are so satisfying because they get worn so much more!

  7. tworandomwords says:

    I could probably have 5-10 bow neck blouses in my wardrobe and be happy – I really should my act together and make some.

    The main problem is that I never buy fabric that would be appropriate; and I baulk at buying 2m for a blouse when I could use 2m for a dress! I’m also a fabric stinge – so much so that when I was getting in to sewing 4-5 years ago, I used to try and conserve as much as possible, even to the point of forgetting about the grainline when using fabrics with stretch or direction. I ended up with a top that stretched vertically; and my husband still has the hoodie I made with the tanks and fighter planes running up and down, along with the stretch. Doh!

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