Fleur Hack: Bow Tie Back

This hack has been on my mind and in my "To Sew" pile since the spring. I literally cut out the fabric and prepped everything back in April when the Fleur Pinafore was launched! Can you believe it's just been sitting in my basket ever since then? Procrastination and I are best friends it seems.

Regardless, I was finally able to work out this hack in my mind and am ready to share it with you all in hopes that you like it as much as I do! I can't remember where the idea came from (perhaps a tester? If it was you, let me know!), but I thought it was so cool to be able to make the Fleur with a bow tie back. And even cooler - albeit much more challenging - to sew it up in a plush velvet in time for the holidays ๐Ÿ˜ƒ!

Ready to dive in?

Let's get started!

Before we dive head first into this hack, it's important to note what fabrics you might be using for this project. If you are looking to use velvet or any kind of material with a nap to it, I highly recommend checking out my blog post all about Working with Nap Fabrics first. They can be a real challenge to work with (I definitely struggled with my red velvet at various points in my project), and I want to make sure you have fun with this project instead of throwing it into the corner out of frustration (which I have also done).

Once you have your fabric sorted, you will need to go ahead and alter a few of your pattern pieces as well as create some new ones! Below is a short list of the alterations I made for my version:

  • Adjusted skirt length
  • Added length to front waistband
  • Swapped positions for front and back waistband
  • Created tie pieces
  • Add 2 extra buttons to supply list (for a total of 8 buttons)

First up, I added 3" (7,5 cm) to my skirt length. This was because I had *intended* to have a rather thick hem for my skirt, but that wound up not working due to fabric issues. Ah well, you live and learn! Now I have a really cute below the knee length pinafore that I still love (with a little lace surprise detailing)! If you don't wish to have a longer skirt, skip this part.

The main pattern alteration that you will need to make is in lengthening your front waistband pattern piece. This is so that there is ample space for your hidden buttons to go (more on that later).

To lengthen your front waistband piece, start by cutting your pattern piece in half, right down the middle between your notches. If you wish to save your original pattern piece, start by tracing your pattern piece onto a new sheet of paper before cutting it in half!

Next, tape one of the cut pattern piece sides to a piece of scrap paper.

Measure out 6 1/2" (16,5 cm), and place your second pattern piece at that measurement. Tape into place.

Make sure that your pattern pieces are lined up properly and connect them back together at the top and bottom. You now have your lengthened front waistband!

Don't forget to add your notches back into place along the center of your waistband.

Before going further - and to avoid future confusion as I experienced while writing this tutorial! - swap your front and back waistband pieces, i.e. the front waistband piece should be renamed as Back Waistband, and your back waistband piece should be renamed as your Front Waistband. I did this because the original back waist band has a flat edge which is perfect for attaching a waist tie to where as the original front waistband piece has the perfect shape for holding on to buttons!

We are nearly ready to sew! All that you have left to create are your back waist ties! You can make your ties as long or as short as you would like, but you will need 4 of them and they need to be 2 7/8" (7,5 cm) wide. I wound up making mine 2 7/8" x 37" (7,5 cm x 94 cm) and adding a little 90ยฐ angle to the ends.

Lastly, make sure you have a total of 8 buttons for this project! 4 will be visible on the skirt placket whereas the other 4 will be hidden inside the skirt. The 4 that are hidden should have a flat surface as their placement is closest to the torso, and I want to make sure you are comfortable! A bulky button might get irritating so close to the skin!

Once you have all your pattern pieces, feel free to use them to cut out your fabric. Then, we can get to sewing!

Prep Work

You all know how much I LOVE doing prep work before diving into a project! It just makes the entire sewing process so much more fun and smooth sailing.

Go ahead and interface all of your pattern pieces using your preferred interfacing method. For me, that is using scrap muslin as sew in interfacing!

For your back waistband, make sure that you interface the main fabric instead of the lining fabric.

Next, follow the instructions in the instruction booklet for sewing your straps and both front + back bibs. You can totally add a bib pocket if you would like. I know I did!

The last bit of prep that needs to be done are the back waist ties. Working with one set at a time, place RST of two of your waist ties. Pin all along both the long edges and one of the short edges (the slashed edge if you added that detail).

Using a 1/2" (1,5 cm) seam allowance, sew along these three edges.

Trim your corners, then flip your tie right side out. Press.

Repeat these same steps with your second tie.

Yay! All of the prep is done! Now you can fully dive into putting this hack together ๐Ÿ˜.

Back Waistband

For this next part, I realized there are actually two ways of adding buttonholes to this project. The first is the way I am about to show you, and the second is to save adding your buttonholes until the next to last step in the entire process. It really depends on how hidden you might want your inner buttons to be.

For me, I opted for the completely hidden option. Using your original pattern piece's button hole placement, create your first button hole on your main fabric.

My fabric was being such a pain. I wound up having to create my buttonholes from the wrong side of my pattern piece just to get them to lay right!

Next, measure out 1/2" (1,5 cm) from the end of your buttonhole and make a small mark using your favorite marking tool. This will be the start of your second buttonhole.

Sew your second buttonhole as you did your first.

Repeat the above steps on the other side of your waistband's main fabric so that you have a total of 4 buttonholes on your waistband.

Finally, using a seam ripper, xacto knife, or buttonhole chisel, open up each of your buttonholes.

Front Waistband

Baste your waist ties to either short edge of your front waistband. Make sure you have it centered on your main fabric.

Attaching Waistbands to Bibs

For both waistbands, you will attach them to their respective bibs as you normally would, i.e. the bibs should be sandwiched between the waistband lining and main waistband fabric. Just make sure you have your front waistband matched to your front bib and your back waistband to your back bib!

When sewing your front waistband in place, be sure to move your ties out of the way so that you don't accidentally sew them anywhere they shouldn't be sewn.

Set your waistbands + bibs aside for a moment while you tackle sewing up your skirt! You will follow the same steps as outlined on pages 43 - 49 of your instruction booklet. If you are adding pockets to your skirt, start on page 41 instead!

Don't forget to take a little break somewhere in between all of these steps. You are tackling a lot and deserve to rest and recharge in between tasks!

Putting it all Together!

Once you have your skirt all sewn up (and have taken a little break to recharge!), it's time to finish up your Fleur hack!

For the front waistband and skirt, you will attach those as you normally would and as outlined on pages 49 and 50 of your instruction booklet. The only thing you will do differently is DON'T pin your waistband in place hiding all of the raw seams just yet. We still have buttons to add!

For your back waistband, you need to mark where your skirt gathers will end as they can't go all the way to the edge of your waistband piece. That would cause the skirt to tug in an odd way while being worn!

To find the two points you should attach your skirt to, simply grab your original pattern piece and place it over the top of your current waistband, matching the center notches.

Then, fold your pattern piece back at the black dot on either side ofย  your waistband and mark a little line. These are the two points you will be sewing your skirt to!

Attach your skirt to your waistband as you normally would.

Before finishing up the bottom edge of your waistband, I found a little trick to make things flow a bit more smoothly together. Instead of turning the entire waistband under, what you can do is flip the edges of your waistband inside out and stitch the portion not attached to the skirt together.

Then you can trim out the bulk from this portion of the waistband. This helps to create a clean edge around your buttonholes (if you've already added them) as well as keep your waistband nice and flat!

Flip your waistband right side out and gently poke out the corners using a chopstick, paintbrush handle, or tiny flat head screwdriver.

Finish your waistband by turning the rest under and either topstitching all along the outside of your waistband, or by hand sewing it shut. I opted for hand sewing as my velvet was being too temperamental to even attempt any topstitching!


Finishing Touches

Go ahead and follow your instruction booklet from pages 51 to 54. You will need your placket fully finished before adding your hidden buttons. You can also go ahead and finish your hem. That way, as soon as the next steps are completed you can jump right in to your new pinafore and celebrate!

If you haven't already added buttonholes to your back waistband, you can do so now. Follow the same steps as I outlined above, but instead of having fully hidden buttons, your buttons will come through both layers of your back waistband fabric!

Once your buttonholes are in place and you are able to utilize your placket, the last step in this entire process is to sew on your hidden buttons to the front waistband lining fabric! To figure out the placement of your buttons, try your garment on. Make sure you button up the placket and adjust your straps so that the entire waistband is sitting in a comfortable position. You can even tie the waist tie as well to get the full effect!

From the outside, feel for your buttonholes through your front waistband. Place a pin on the outside of your front waistband to mark where each button will go.

Take your garment off and turn it to the inside. Using your favorite marking tool, mark where your buttons should go on the lining portion of your waistband.

Remove your pins and hand sew each button to the waistband lining.

Once all four buttons are in position, you can close up your waistband by turning the bottom edge under and topstitching around the entire waistband, or hand stitching just the bottom edge closed.

Et Voila! Your Fleur Pinafore hack is complete!

I hope you had a lot of fun sewing this version of the Fleur up! I would love to see your take on this hack - Feel free to tag your Fleur hacks on IG with #UTFleurHack ! Bonne Couture !

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