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Stella Raglan Shirt by Named Clothing - Pussy Bow Shirt Pattern Review


As a direct result of bingeing on the new season of The Crown on Netflix, I endeavoured to make myself a pussy bow blouse, inspired by all these statement blouses of the 70s and 80s. Then I saw Nicole Kidman wear a high-collared version with the ties hanging long and low in The Undoing, and I was sold on what my next project would be.


There are many sewing patterns out there to choose from for this design. The Pussy Bow Blouse by Sew Over It with its classic shape seems to have cornered the market with its strategically named pattern. Itch to Stitch has the Zamora Blouse, and Fibre Mood has the Emilia Dress that can be easily hacked into a blouse. These were all the patterns that I was looking at but in the end, I settled for the Stella Raglan Shirt and Shirt Dress by Named Clothing.



The main draw of this for me is the raglan sleeve design. I like how it's got the classic high-collared pussy bow, but the raglan sleeves give it a more modern twist. The pattern comes in two views - a shirt and a shirt dress. Strictly speaking, the pussy bow design comes only with the shirt dress version, but it wasn't so difficult to hack it into the shirt. The pussy bow is accompanied with a vent, and has these long wide ties that I was looking for. The shirt version comes with a button band, and had the unusual detail of a triangular shaped collar. It's basically a collar with the tips squared off, which I thought was unique, and it's a nice option to have for a future make. The midi-length shirt dress has an elasticated waist. For the cuffs, you can end the sleeves with actual cuffs with snap buttons, or a simple elastic gathered cuff. So the Stella Raglan Shirt won the day because there were all these different options available to personalise the garment. And I love raglan sleeves with seams that are closed off with neat French seams. Originally drafted for translucent fabrics, the instructions teach how to line the bodice and skirt if you are not using fabrics that have opacity.


A word of warning about the cuffs. If you decide to use the elastic band version, then I recommend lengthening the sleeves to accommodate for this. The sleeves for both cuff versions are (strangely) the same length, and when I installed the elastic band I found that the sleeves were a smidge too short, an awkward length that makes the shirt look like it's a size too small for me. So I had to abandon the elastic cuff and add on the cuffs with snap buttons - which actually turned out to be the better option for this shirt. For the snap buttons, I used Prym "Jersey" snaps that are an absolute joy to install.


Sizes for the shirt come in EU32-50. My body measurements put me in a size between 34 and 36. I sewed up a size 34 even though conventional wisdom says to size up, but I had an inkling that there will be enough ease in a 34 to fit me right. I wasn't wrong, but a 36 may also be a good size option with a more voluminous fit. Instructions were good and clear, and the project is a relatively quick sew for a smart looking shirt.


The main thing that bothered me about the design is that the long ties weigh on the vented opening in such a way that it collapses it somewhat. This droop in the vent is mainly obscured by the large bow, but it messes with my OCD proclivities. Perhaps for my next make, the button band option coupled with the pussy bow might work better to prevent this drooping from happening. The big advantage of the vent is that it's much easier and faster when constructing the shirt.



Truth be told, after completing this shirt, I was less than enthused with the results. I can't quite articulate what was giving me this meh-bleh feeling. I started off really excited about the make because the fabric is so gorgeous. It's a viscose satin from Cadena Fabrics Online, and it's probably the most expensive viscose I've ever purchased. It has a wonderful sheen and feels great on the skin. I really like the the contrast of a camouflage "street" design on such a luxurious fabric. But when I put it on, I wasn't so sure about the colours against my skin.


Then I had second thoughts about the pussy bow design - it looks great on Helena Bonham-Carter and Nicole Kidman but maybe the look is not for me. Olivia Colman looked queenly in her pussy bow blouses, but maybe it's too regal or too rigid for me. It definitely exudes an "office" vibe and I felt stuffy wearing it. In addition, I didn't think I had other "office" clothes to pair it up with. Anyway, there was a level of disenchantment and I chucked it in the closet and forgot about it for about 2 weeks.


Then a couple days ago, I decided it would be a shame to put this garment into exile and I challenged myself to find me-made pieces that will go with the shirt. The easiest pairing is to wear it tucked out with my Closet Core Patterns Ginger Skinny Jeans in a dark blue denim (you can read a previous post about it here). Not bad.



Then I found my long-forgotten Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans in a dark brown/olive poly-cotton stretch drill (here) and I definitely began to warm up to the shirt. The colours are a perfect match, and the high-waist and straight leg is a good combination for the pussy bow. I am loving the 80s vibe here.



Next, I got adventurous with matching the camouflage print with my latest vest/trouser combo in a windowpane Lady McElroy wool (gifted to me by Minerva), and voila! How could I have been so blind to the fabulousness of this blouse? The prints of this combo match in a clashing way, if that makes sense. And this is an outfit that can be worn to a more formal event when social events are allowed back into lives.




And my favourite pairing is with my lemon yellow Sloane Overalls by Victory Patterns in a Lady McElroy stretch denim (gifted to me by Minerva). I like how the "office" or "stuffy" pussy bow can also be turned into a playful outfit.




What I thought was rigid in the pussy bow design was actually my rigid mind having no imagination. It was my preconceived notions of the shirt design that prevented me from falling in love with it the first time round. Thank goodness for second chances! I think my next make of this pattern will be with a striped fabric because the raglan sleeves provide the opportunity for interesting pattern placement for the shirt. You can't quite see that the shirt has raglan sleeves in this camouflage version because the print is camouflaging the lines of the seams. Anyway, I am really happy with this make now. Hurray to pussy bow blouses!!!


#namedclothing #stellashirt #stellashirtdress

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