Cowl Finale

Cowlneck the fourth

Well, for the moment. Like Steph, I think I’m done with this project. I’ve made four knit cowly tops this week, all but one of which are wearable. (And I have hopes of salvaging the fourth, possibly by stitching down the folds or something…)

This one was supposed to be the ultimate. And, to be honest, I think it looks kick-ass in the pictures. That is pretty much what I was going for.

The devil, as always, is in the details.

The biggest one, I think, is the most inevitable—the large cowl which permits those lovely underbust folds doesn’t, in fact, stay in place particularly well; any time I raise my arms or lean over, it comes untucked, creating a front that just looks, well, poofy. I have a feeling the original top would’ve had the same problem unless (as I half-suspect) the “underbust” folds in the photo are created by tugging down on the cowl, rather than falling naturally that way—in which case in the shirt as worn they wouldn’t even be there at all…

Completely my fault, on the other hand, are the hole I

A bit of a closer look

accidentally snipped in the front neckline while trimming the binding, the cowl facing that doesn’t fall nicely to the inside (I sewed it down a hair or two wrong on the inside), and the fact that the sleeves are sewed on with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Fortunately the last is virtually undetectable—anyone looking that close is going to be much more struck by my wonky stitching. /sigh. I was trying to take my time with this last version, but I think my subconscious was against me.

For those of you who’ve been thoroughly confused with what I’ve been doing (and who’ve stuck with me despite it ;) ) I made up a quick little diagram of the steps I took. The tricky part, again, is the details—how long and wide of a drape, how much to curl back the front pattern piece.

Pattern alteration---click image to see full size

And I think that’s enough of messing with cowls for, well, at least a couple of weeks…

After all, Sherry’s tailoring sewalong begins in just a few weeks, and I need to have a pattern of some kind ready for that. I think I’m going to try to create my own based on the Built By Wendy jacket book (which Ali just did a great overview of). I’m thinking princess-seamed bodice, empire waist with A-line below, thigh-length, maybe an inverted box pleat or two in the skirt portion… still haven’t decided on a collar or single- or double-breasted… anyway, I’m sure I’ll have a post on that in a day or two, anyway. But I will still have to muslin etc., and decide if I can make the sleeves two piece etc.

So much to sew, so little time… ;)

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Cowl Finale

  1. Thanks for posting the diagram of what you did for the cowl neckline. I draped a pattern for a dress with a similar neckline last year by widening the bodice across the center, and it made for a nice finished product, but not the look I was thinking of. It’s good to see what to do to a sloper for this look.

  2. I like your final version, funny our finals are pretty much the same color. I have to pull down my lower cowl so it sits just below the bust apex or I get some fantastically over the top pouffing going on.

    I’m thinking of doing the sewalong, because I need to learn more about RTW tailoring and it would be a good opportunity… If I follow along I won’t learn as much, but I also don’t relish the thought of working on another jacket right now… Hmmmm meh…

  3. Lovin’ the fab blue colour of no.4 :) And great diagram – v. clear explantion :)

  4. CGCouture

    I was thinking…is there something you could weigh the drapes down with to kind of hold them in place? I don’t have any ideas of what though…

    I love this version the best, but then, I’m kind of partial to blues and greens. :-)

  5. I love the diagram! Your shirt looks great and springy.

  6. Those shoes are rockin’! I’m thinking about doing Sherry’s sew along, too. I learned so much doing the Lady Grey sew along. Claiming to just follow along hasn’t helped me much with others. I have to actually do it.

  7. Great summary diagram! I’ve been trying to follow along with what you and Steph have been doing, but it just gets confusing after a while. :)

    I really like the final version of this, it looks great in the photos. But we all know that the camera doesn’t capture everything! I hope you manage to get some wear out of this, especially considering how much work you put into it.

  8. Love the colour. What a fabulous journey.

  9. Tenshi

    Thank you for posting the pattern diagram! I think I might try to knock this off, too, if you don’t mind. I happen to have bought the perfect fabric for a cowl neck top on Saturday and I have wanted one for quite a while.

  10. Marie-Christine

    The look is perfect now, at least exactly like the original. You’re probably right about none of them staying put either. But there’s an easy trick, much better than disturbing the drape by sewing down the facing: sew a ribbon to the center front. Tuck down under bra. That’s it, you can bend over now.

  11. Your diagram is so clear!

    Anyway, I really like the end result, and especially the little fold under the bust line…

  12. I think they your top turned out very nicely! I’ve been watching both you and Steph create your Anthro cowl knock-offs, and I think there might be some small amount of rouching under the arms at the top of the side seam that helps create some of that fullness without just making a ‘boob shelf’ out of fabric. Maybe I’m just imagining that, but it seems like that’s how the draping looks more horizontal at the bottom as opposed to just cupping. Just a thought! I think you both did a great job drafting – something I do not have the same confidence that I could’ve done! Congrats!

  13. Super awesome top AND graphical instructions, thanks very much! I’m such a sucker for a good cowl…

  14. i like the final version, though i won’t wear cowls (too much emphasis on the girls on me) and am totes jealous that it looks so good on you!

  15. Thanks for the schematic–I have studied it and found SUCCESS !

  16. Love it. I’m a complete sucker for cowl necklines. :-)

  17. Pingback: More fun than a barrel of monkeys | Tanit-Isis Sews

  18. I’ve been lurking for ages, following your blog & recently seen Sigrid’s post about this awesome self drafted pattern & knew the time had come to come out of the woodwork just to say how clever I think you are! I am a total cowl lover, am still slightly baffled by them, but this just extends what I previously would have described as a cowl by a zillion percent. LOVE it! By the way, without meaning to appear too sycophantic, I am a real admirer of your creations – both your drama & your technical skill. And that you came to visit little ol’ me & leave a comment – I’m chuffed – thank you. Now we’ve “met” I promise I won’t be so quiet in the future!

  19. Ann

    You must show that beautiful top on Pinterest. You did a great job.
    Can I add the photo (with your name and link to blog, of course) to Pinterest?

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