Amanda vs Simplicity 2154 Big Bow Blouse

Sometimes it’s important to look subtle yet stylish.
Sometimes it’s important to have a little sass in your outfit.
And sometimes you need a big ass bow taking over your blouse.

That’s where we’re at today, lovely readers, big ass bow land. This is not a bow that has met subtle. In fact, this is a bow that saw subtle on the street, ran up to it and gave it a good ole ninja chop with its rad bow ends. So now let us unleash the bow-ed beast!

Okay, I may have hyped this up a bit. But to me that is crazy big. Let’s remember that until late last year I was not wearing anything that featured a collar let alone a bow. Now I have bow AND collar in one top. Things are sure crazy in 2013…

This sassy Simplicity 2154 skirt and blouse combo are my contribution to Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge. I originally made a Betty 50s day dress in all its circle skirted glory but upon closer reflection the bodice is a red hot mess. After a brief mourning period over failed marvellousness (this included two episodes of Grand Designs, a bowl of strawberry ice cream and some robot dancing) I bucked up and got started on this blouse. Whilst I don’t have one clear inspiration image I pulled this vibe from the Season One secretarial pool- I’m thinking lots of pencil skirts and blouses with crazy collars, scarfs or pussy bows…


This top is one part of the triumvirate of awesome known as Simpicity 2154– a 60s skirt, blouse and cardi combo. I mean, who can say no to pattern that gives you the entire ensemble in one envelope AND has the model on the cover looking like a retro air hostess? Not this frugal yet sassy seamstress. So given I have already put together the skirt it was time to match it up.

The blouse is pretty straight forward with construction. I shopped my stash for this project which, whilst cheap, meant that the fabric wasn’t quite drape-y enough. As such I tapered the side seams to sit fairly close to my waist. I also narrowed the shoulders by 1cm either side so they ended on my shoulder bone. But the main feature is the bow. The hardest part of this was gathering the fabric but with the help of some hand stitching the job got done. And look at this monster- it is magnificent!

The back features a cute little feature near the collar. Like the front there is a slit about 3″ long though with this one there is a button and thread loop closure. One could be subtle with this. Or one could chose a pink button. I think we all know which side of the fence I came down on…

What I liked about this pattern:
  • The fact it is sleeveless. For the first time in ages I have a pattern that is meant to be sleeveless not one I have sassed up. Sure, winter is on the way but what is the good of staying warm when you have buff guns that need to be on show? *snicker* (I am actually pro sleeveless as I just hate the feeling of bunched sleeves under my cardis. Honestly, it feels like a shar pei puppy is hiding up there with all the sleeve material crazy going on.)
  • The rear button closure. I love how this adds visual interest to the back. Plus, you can go crazy with the button selection. Sweet vintage pink flower blossom anyone?
What I would change for next time:
  • Not interface the bow. My fabric didn’t feel that thick but even with my super light weight blouse interfacing the bow became quite stiff. Don’t get me wrong, I like a perky bow but this feels like it has been starched into submission.
  • Sway back alteration. For some reason I completely forgot to do this and find I have to keep tugging the back of the blouse down into my skirt so I don’t get a crazy fabric fold.
So there we have it- epic 60s office wear. This blouse was already on my to do list so I’m glad the challenge came along and popped this to the top. But more importantly this has been a blog post with very serious business photos. And that’s not how we roll here at Bimble and Pimble. So here is my attempt a of looking sassy with a rose in my teeth… Except as it is an office setting you get a pen instead…



  1. I love this! I’m not one for bows so for me making a Pussy Bow Blouse was a big deal. But now I’m convinced I need something with an epic bow on it – like this.
    Also your hair looks amazing in these photos!

  2. Cute! I love the bow, and the little back slit/collar combo–very subtly sexy. 😉 And yes to sleeveless!! I always say that it’s because my arms are claustrophobic, but your description pretty well sums it up too. 🙂

  3. I love that blouse! I think the stiff bow really works with this blouse–serious business, no floppy bows! I may have to pick this pattern up when simplicity patterns go on sale again…

  4. I completely understand why you are smitten with this pattern: it has it all! The classic lines, unique details and undeniable retro flair won me over in a heartbeat! After seeing your take on the skit, I jumped in and started a purple version. I hope it fits half as well as yours does! I haven’t seen the cardigan or the jacket made up yet, so I hope that’s the next thing you have in mind…

    The blouse is AH-MA-ZING: the stiffness of the bow really works (I hate floppy bows: they sometimes look limp and sad to me), plus, it showcase your smokin’ guns. One question: do you feel the collar is too high on the neck? In other words, do you feel claustrophobic in the blouse with such a high collar?

  5. Love your big ass bow. 🙂 It’s actually not that big, I agree. It’s actually a nice size. and I like that your fabric isn’t as drapey cos maybe then the bow wouldn’t hold so perfectly? You look awesome!

  6. I love the entire outfit. It really suits you. I do love the bow but the vintage button is definitely the icing!

  7. You are the epitome of sassy! I’m with you on the sleeveless issue – I wear layers all the time due to air conditioning wars in the open plan office (I’m not a combatant in this war, just caught in the crossfire!), sleeveless is the way forward

  8. Give in to the awesome of the bow! And I must say the more I look at the blouse hanging up I’m loving the fact it is holding its shape well.

  9. Very sassy! I love it. I love a big bow and this is the biggest. I’ve looked at this pattern a few times and I think you’ve sold me on it now.

  10. Thanks, Rox! So far it has felt fine around the collar though I haven’t worn it a whole day yet. I’ll report in once I do!

  11. Thanks, Leila! The more I look at it the less cray-cray the bow looks. I’m concerned this may be a gateway bow 😉

  12. All the cool kids are sleeveless, Jacq! And I so hear you with open plan air con- we have the same issue. It’s like a frozen tundra in my office. I keep waiting for the wooly mammoth to trundle past!

  13. OMG. I love this. I was debating on grabbing this pattern but you have put me over the fence. Thanks Amanda!

  14. i made this blouse and should have done a tiole SO BADLY! I like it but I never wear it because of the ill fit. This convinces me to give it another go, gorgeous!

  15. Epic 60’s office wear indeed! I would love to try this but on me I would fear that it would make the girls look like semi inflated gift wrapped airbags!

  16. Just too much specailness here. You look like an aging European playboy should try to pick you up from school in his convertible and whisk you away to learn about cognac, cigars and continental decadence.

  17. I think it might be a gateway bow. Oh, sweet stuff, I’ll watch out in case we need to do an intervention on you.

  18. I’m loving the fact it isn’t a floppy bow now… though I was anti stiff bow to start off. you’re right that does sound weird 😉

  19. This blouse is bow-tastic and perfect with the wiggly pencil skirt. Now get back in your typing pool 🙂

  20. Now I’m a huge fan of this ensemble and I think you’ve done it sooo well. I love your choice of fabrics and the coordinating pink button. I’m with you about interfacing the bow, not sure it’s always needed….looking sassy Amanda!!

  21. You blouse is suuuper cute! I find youre blog over at Handmade Jane. I made my first bow blouse this week, whitout a pattern though, and my bow is quite suttle becuase I didnt want anythink dominating my neck, if you know what I mean???
    But now I’m not shure!!! Eeek! Your blouse look so sexy and sofisticated! I want to look that!… This one I’ll have to keep in mind:) please have a look at my version/interpetasion of a bow blouse here:

  22. Thank you so much! I am super happy with this make 😀
    Tone- your blouse is super cute- I love the blue/green colour and the bow is subtle yet sassy!

  23. It’s such a brilliant blouse! So brilliant, in fact, that I happily refer to it as a ‘blouse’, despite disliking that word for reasons that are unknown even to me. I’ve just bought this pattern and it’s on my list of Things I Must Make Soon, Just After The Other Fifty Things Already On My List, so this review of yours is incredibly helpful. Thanks!

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