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Tshirt with Big Bow Attached (a request from my niece)

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My 21 year old niece Aubrey, (modeling this shirred scarf for me) spent half this past summer in Europe, studying abroad.  No she didn’t…..she played.  And traveled all around.  Little stink. ;)  But I guess she earned a few credits while over there, so it passed as “studying”.  Ha.  Anyway, about a week ago, she sent me this text:




I laughed at the fashion forward comment……because it kinda reminded me of this ballet shoe shirt I made last winter.  Or many of the little shirts I see at the little girl section at Target.  But because I love that little niece of mine, Aubrey (who made me an aunt at the age of 9……wow!), I will show her how to make this exact version.  And I can tease her all I want while doing it.  Because that’s what aunts do! :)


So now, anyone else who’s interested, will also have a really quick “fashion forward” bow shirt project to make for the weekend.  Or, maybe you want one for your little girl…..because while it’s totally cute on whoever that model is that my niece sent me a picture text of, it’s also really cute on the little girls. Thanks for the fun project idea Aubrey.  Now go find a sewing machine to use between calculus and pharmacology (okay, I have no idea what your classes are).  Seriously, this will take you 20 minutes.  Maybe 30.  And then send your proud auntie a picture.  Deal? :)




And just so you know, I had to ask my niece how much 10 pounds was worth in our currency (…she said about $15).  If I was going to show her how to make this cute little bow shirt, it better meet her requirements! ;)  But, depending on the shirt, I told her it would cost about $8 ($6+/- for a Tshirt, $2 for fabric).  But if you use a shirt from your closet and some small scraps from your fabric stash…’ll cost you nothing.  Good deal.



Keep in mind, if you’re making an adult version, it will look a little different with a cute scoop neck like shown in the text plus a chest to fill it out. ;)  But the kid version is just as cute.





And once I told Elli that her cool grown-up cousin Aubrey wanted a bow shirt, she was thrilled to have one too!



Cute, quick, and easy transformation.  That’s what we like!



This wasn’t just for my niece……would you like to make one too?  :)


Ok, let’s go.


First, gather those supplies.  A plain tee and some fabric scraps.  I bought the plain shirt at Target.  I think it was $5.  The fabric was from my stash and I think I bought it at Joann’s.  Now, everyone’s bow may be a little different in size, but here are the fabric dimensions I used for my 5 year old girl.  (For an adult version, you may want longer bow tails and probably a bigger bow.) 


For the bow, I cut a piece of regular woven cotton that was 5 x 10 inches.  The long strip was 2 1/4 x 25 inches (which is used for both bow tails plus the cinch around the bow).



First, fold the strip in half lengthwise and with right sides together.  Then sew along the long side, sewing it into a tube, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Then turn right side out and press.  Do the same thing with the larger piece of fabric.  For the skinny strip, I placed the seam along the side of the strip and then ironed it flat.  For the larger one, I centered the seam along the back.  (Need help turning a tube right side out?)




Then cut 2 strips for your bow tails from this long strip, leaving about 2-3 inches to wrap around the center of your bow.


Then, grab your bigger strip and fold the two ends towards the center, overlapping the ends by about a 1/2 inch.  Sew a seam right down the center of where the two ends overlap, securing them in place.



Then pinch the middle of the folded fabric, creating a bow shape.



Then wrap the little leftover piece from the bow tails strip and wrap it tightly around the middle of the bow.



Use a pin to hold the ends in place and then slide under your presser foot and sew into place.  (I used my zipper foot so that I could butt it right up against the bow.)  Trim off the excess so that the ends can hide when you attach your bow later.



Then place your bow tails on your shirt and your bow and position them just how you’d like them.  Then remove the bow and pin the bow tails down in place.  Tuck under each end about a 1/4 inch and pin those down as well.



Then sew all the way around both tail ends.



Then place your bow down and hand-stitch the bow right to your shirt, trying to keep your stitches hidden.  (Need help with hand stitching?)



Lastly, and this is optional, but I secured the bow ends just a bit by tacking them down with a couple hand-stitches.  I just figured this would help keep the bow in place when it’s washed and such.



See?  You can’t really even see it.




And there you have it.  A Big Bow Shirt tutorial for my Europe touring niece.  Just like she asked for. :)

(Good luck Aub!)






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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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