Saturday, April 2, 2011

The cowl neck dress

As I mentioned in a previous post I bought some fabric to make a maxi summer dress with a cowl neck. Though I have an extensive pattern collection, there wasn't a single one for the dress I had in mind.

I finally found a pattern for a cowl neck top and decided to use it as a base for drafting a dress pattern. I must confess I'm not terribly good at drafting patterns but converting a top into a dress wasn't difficult at all. All I really needed to do was elongate the pattern. With the help of my trusty french curve this was quite easy.

Also, I wanted the dress to be lined. This is essential with a flimsy fabric such as this lycra. I did try the dress on unlined and it wasn't bad at all. But I feel much better having it lined. The fabric drapes better and provides more modesty.

The fabric I used isn't a typical lining but rather some sort of a stretch mesh fabric used to make underwear. It was perfect for this project because it stretches and is feather light.

The cowl was finished by hand, in my opinion the only proper way to finis this kind of neckline. Most ready to wear cowl necks are left with unfinished or serged edges and as a result the collar doesn't drape as beautifully. If you notice closely on the photo above the left side of the collar is already sewn and the right side isn't. Quite a difference isn't it?

I love the little extra pleats on the shoulder line.

An easy project, I had this sewn up in less than 5 hours including all the hand sewing.


  1. Wow, I'm impressed! That's some really fine work, and the finished product looks fabulous!

  2. Excellent! Could you show us how it looks on you?
    Cowl necklines in general, look better on younger women IMO.

  3. Mette: I'll probably do an outfit post somewhere closer to summer. As for cowl necks, they are tricky: I've heard women with large breats shouldn't wear a cowl neckline, however I feel it looks a lot nicer on me than a V-neck. It's a mystery.

  4. What a talented lady you are,love the colour.Ida

  5. Thanks Ida! Yes the colours are nice, I didn't want something that screams summer time.