customizing the apple-picking dress: bow blouse

I’ve been loving all the bow blouses I’ve been seeing in fashion these past few years, so much so that I wanted to make one. I collected some suggestions, photos, and links further down to offer some inspiration. But first I wanted to share this one simple way I came up with to turn the Apple-Picking Dress into a bow blouse. This is how I made it with just one row of buttons down the center front (the center placket overlaps about 3/4 inch). Keep in mind that all of these measurements were used to make a size 6.


Modifying the Oliver + S Apple-Picking Dress into a bow blouse


Let’s jump right in.

First of all add 2.5 inches to the center of both front pieces.


Modifying the Oliver + S Apple-Picking Dress into a blouse


Iron 1.5 inch width of fusible interfacing down the wrong side of the center front pieces. Fold over 1.5 inches with right sides together and sew at the top for 1.5 inches with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.


Modifying the Oliver + S Apple-Picking Dress into a blouse


At 1.5 inches in, clip into the seam allowance a 1/2 inch. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4 inch and clip the corner.


Modifying the Oliver + S Apple-Picking Dress into a blouse


Turn right side out and press.


Modifying the Oliver + S Apple-Picking Dress into a blouse


Continue sewing per instructions, but don’t add the skirt. Instead, create the bottom hem by pressing under 1/2 inch, then again 1/2 inch, and topstitch. Voilà, you’re done!

There are definitely other ways to turn the Apple-Picking Dress into a blouse. I recommend borrowing the pattern pieces and/or instructions from the Sketchbook Shirt, the Music Class Blouse, or the Jump Rope Dress to achieve the look that you would like.

I also gathered up a few photos of what others have sewn to offer you more inspiration. Here is Nele’s green silk blouse that was upcycled from a woman’s silk blouse.


Oliver + S Apple-Picking Bow Blouse in green silk


Do you remember Kristin’s detective look for STYLO 3? Her bow blouse is in ivory cotton lawn.


Oliver + S Apple-Picking Bow Blouse in ivory cotton lawn


Audrey kept the wide button placket and only one short ruffle, but raised the waistline to create this cute peplum top.


Oliver + S Apple Picking Peplum Top


And if you are looking for more ideas, how about one in Swiss dot with 3/4th length sleeves for warmer weather or one in plaid flannel with long sleeves for colder weather. Or how about a solid blue chambray one for a denim shirt.

Do these bow blouses make you look at the Apple-Picking Dress pattern in a new light? Will a bow blouse be on your sewing list for 2015?


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  1. Rachel, this is darling! Well done!

  2. Thanks for sharing our Apple-Picking Peplum. We will definitely be sewing up more of this pattern in 2015!

  3. Tricia

    It will definitely be on my sewing to-do list now! Love this look.

  4. Sarah Helene

    THANKS for featuring several versions of the BOW BLOUSE, alternations made from the Apple-Picking dress pattern for young girls. I love Nele’s bright green version in silk topping a lovely floral skirt . . . re-purposed from a woman’s blouse. I also like the added burgundy bow & cuffs to highlight a small floral print on a brown background sewn by Audrey. I’ll click on each to see and read more details. Shows so many CREATIVE moms sewing a “special” blouse for their daughters . . . with lots of LOVE! Sarah in Minneapolis

  5. Such a lovely interpretation of this pattern.
    I might need to try this one as well – wouldn’t it look wonderful in Liberty lawn?

  6. SShaw

    Love the original pattern and this is a super cute way to get even more use out of it. Love this modification!

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