Bees & Doves

Pattern: Dove Blouse by Megan Nielsen
Made before? This was technically the first time I made it, although I didn’t finish it until after I’d made this version, and I’ve also made a version for my sister.
Will make again? yes, I’d like to try this hack again, and maybe without the bell sleeves.
Adjustments? I hacked this to have pintucks on either side of the CF seam.
Inspiration: Check out some of my inspiration here.
Fabric: Bee Print Cotton Poplin from Minerva Crafts

I know, you’re getting a lot of sentimental makes…but here’s another one, anyway!

I made this in Glasgow (oh, you saw that coming?) when Catty came to visit. She was renting this lovely little airbnb near St George’s Cross, which was way closer to the West End and everything I loved than my little flat in the East. So for a while I left my machine there, and we had a couple of great sewing days. That was when I started this shirt.

Helen's Bee Dove Blouse

Something you may not know about Catty and I is that we have matching bee tattoos – we got them a few years ago, and chose a bee because my grandmother (Catty’s mother) used to keep bees. When we were in Shetland for Wool Week we actually met another wrist-bee-tattoo owner (and knitter), but that is part of another






The cotton poplin I used this for this shirt is really too stiff for the bell sleeves. It was a dream to sew with, because of that structure – pressed beautifully, making those pin-tucks a cinch. I almost took them off in the end, but you guys voted on Insta for them to stay, so they have for now…


bee shirt three

I love the Dove Blouse, but this project has me again doubting the practicality of bell sleeves. When can you ever wear them, apart from dancing? Has anyone made this top and actually managed normal life activities in it? Am I just too messy and clumsy?

Anyway, back to the actual sewing.

bee shirt one

I added two pin-tucks on either side of the center front seam. There were originally three, actually, but I forgot about a seam allowance…oops.

To add these, I followed this tutorial on Sew Much Ado, which is very easy to follow.

You can see in this photo my pin-tucks aren’t very neat. So this fabric was a dream to sew with, except my machine wasn’t that day. The tension on one of the threads was a bit out, and so there are puckering along those lines of stitching. Some days, you just can’t get a straight stitch right! This was more of a wearable toile, anyway.


So adjustments I’d make? This is too long for my style, at the back at least. I know a lot of people have cropped the back pattern piece to match the front, and I’ll probably try that next time. I might even crop the back to be just over my butt, and the front to be just below the button on my high waist jeans – I think that would make this very flattering and easy to wear for Summer, with airflow enough that I’m not over-heating. Yes, I’m thinking of Summer already – we’re technically still in Winter, but the weather has been so lovely!

bee shirt two
You can see here the stiffness of the fabric, and the unflattering length. Maybe back darts would help in this fabric?

I would add the pintucks again, for sure. I probably will drop the bell sleeve extension. If I make another little dancing dress, I’ll leave them on, or maybe if I make a jersey version so they’re super flowy.




Stay tuned for more plans, I’m eyeing off my stash as I type!

Have you made the Dove Blouse? What’s your favourite version? Let me know in the comments below!

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