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draft cowl neck

gracec | Posted in General Discussion on

Can anyone help me draft a cowl neck for woven fabric? 




  1. mem | | #1

    You need to use the front of your normal bodice and slash across from the center front to the armhole and the opne it up so tht you are lifting the top half up. Depending on how many folds you want you will need to do this over a number of slashes . You will also need to design a fold over facing which will need to be sewn into the shoulder seam  I havent done this but have spent ages looking at drafting books and being fascinated by how it all happens!!

    1. gracec | | #2

      Thanks, my book didn't have it.

      What is your favorite book?







      1. mem | | #3

        A book by Winifred Aldrich Metric pattern ?????/ You would find it at Amazon She is quite famous in pattern making circles.

        1. FitnessNut | | #4

          Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich. She has written quite a number of patternmaking books. Her blocks fit beautifully, IMO. I've just purchased her volume on tailored jackets for women, but haven't really done much with it yet.

  2. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #5

    Try Helen Joseph Armstrong's book, "Patternmaking for Fashion Design" . Everything you could possibly want to know is addressed in her text.

    1. gracec | | #6

      Thanks for all the suggestions!


      1. mem | | #7

        Grace I hope you get this before you start drafting that cowel neck or that you ignored my post . You have to slash into the shoulder seam not the armhole seam

        1. gracec | | #9

          Thank you for your concern.  I wouldn't think of doing it without a book!

          My neighbor can't find a pattern.  I had the idea of asking the experts.  I'm happy with all the suggestions.


  3. MaryinColorado | | #8

    I made a dress with a round neck, decided to make a cowl seperately that just slips over my head when I want to wear it.  Make one of same material and one contrasting and you will have two looks!  There is no way to tell that it is not attatched to the dress or tops I have made this way.  mary

    1. mompea | | #10

      I've been working on a dress with a draped neckline.....sort of a lower cowl and to get it to drape beautifully you need to make it on the true bias. If you don't it just doesn't have that fluid drape effect. I'm finding almost everything looks and hangs better when I make it on the true bias-just takes a bit more material.

      1. mem | | #11

        are you making just the front on the bias ? I have been contemplating making a top with a high cowel and have been thinking about whether i can make it with just the front on the bias . What do you think??

        1. mompea | | #12

          I think I would do the entire top on the bias. If only the front were done it would drape lovely and then when you looked at the back I think it would look stiffer and just "hanging"......know what I mean. I really think you could tell that something was amiss when you looked at the piece. It just takes so much more material doing it on the bias. But I think the finished product is worth the extra time and money.

          1. Teaf5 | | #13

            Good posts, all. May I add that the shape of anything draped is always very peculiar when laid out flat. I would look for a pattern on sale that has a cowl neckline (I've seen some recent ones in the major pattern books in the Evening/Prom section, and in the Retro collections.) Even if you decide not to buy the pattern, you might be able to pull out the instruction sheet and check out what that particular pattern piece looks like.Another very good source for pattern drafting is historical patterns, costume books and websites for both. The cowl was very popular in the 1930s, and illustrations of what the pieces look like.I like the "separate cowl over plain neckline" idea; you'd have far more room for adjustment for personal preference and for optimal drape in addition to the "two looks" option.

          2. mem | | #14


          3. mompea | | #15

            Good question. I had to think about this one for a bit. I don't think the inherent stretch in a knit would affect the drape in a cowl neck- meaning that I think you would have to find the true bias in a knit to get it to drape similar to the drape with a non-knit. The stretch of a knit doesn't really come into play in a cowl neck. The neckline isn't being asked to do anything but lay there-whether or not it was a knit would have no affect on the appearance. I think.......any other ideas out there?

          4. Teaf5 | | #16

            Bias applications are used to give woven fabrics a bit of stretch, but knit fabrics have the stretch built in. Therefore, if used on the bias, knits give extreme stretch one way and much less the other, severely distorting the shape of the garment. (I thank a particularly awful dress disaster for this knowledge!)Knits drape well anyway, so you don't need a bias cut that might completely change the fit of the rest of the top.

          5. mompea | | #17

            Thanks Teaf. I guess that makes sense? I just kept thinking of a double knit and how it's stretch doesn't really come into play when it's in a cowl neck. I can understand how a skirt would hang differently bias vs straight of grain, but making a cowl neck on the straight of grain,wouldn't it hang just like a straight skirt would? No flow or drape to the item? A cowl just laying on the chest (as this was going to be a removable cowl) whether it stretched or not I can't see that being an issue. I guess I still don't see how the built in stretch of a knit would effect a cowl cut on the bias. Must be having a senile moment, but right now it's just not computing.


            I'll have to get some material out and see for myself because I just can't invision it.

          6. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #18

            If you want your knit cowl to be soft and drapey use a single knit such as jersey in wool, silk, etc. Double knits are more firm and meant for structured styles, almost like wovens.

          7. mompea | | #19

            That's where my problem lies. I have a hard time thinking of silk as a knit...even tho' I know it can be used that way. I immediately see it, in my mind's eye, as a woven, not a knit. I just have a mental block that when anyone mentions "knits" I immediately think of a poly knit. Just a little hard to teach an old bird new tricks.

          8. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #20

            Really not so hard once you get your hands on some very yummy examples of silk jersey or Merino wool jersey! But even good quality cotton/poly jersey or rayon jersey can be quite delightful cut as a cowl. Jersey, interlock, double knit, raschel knit, etc. are all just different ways to form cloth. The fiber content is a whole 'nother story! Happy hunting!

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