Sewn: Cowl Neck Top

Hellloooo! Today I’m sharing a merino knit top. I made the pattern myself (of course 😉 ). I thought it would be fun to combine a T-shirt with a more tailored concept by introducing princess seams. And then I added some more fancy-ness with the cowl neck. 😀

Now Jo, why would you add seams like this to a T-shirt?? T-shirts are fun and unfussy, which is fine for a casual garment, but I like the idea of a mid-ground between a tee and a more refined top (and let’s face it, I always make things more complicated, but I love it). Also, I think these kinds of design lines are very flattering on the body (not to mention that the seams give a drag-line free fit). 🙂

At least, it’s drag-line free when you don’t have it tucked in! But I tucked it in, like a total jerk, haha! I think if I REALLY wanted a smooth line and to tuck it in, I would make a leotard.

I’m pleased with how the cowl neck turned out; it’s pretty subtle. I wanted it to be high and not too full. I draped it on the mannequin, which was fun. Next time, I should take some shots of this process!

For this version of the top, I made it to fit the standard-sized mannequin, so it’s really a little big for me, which I would fix next time by taking in the underarms and shoulders a little.

Speaking of underarms, I am experimenting with adding underarm shields! I hate when tops get sweat marks. In the future I would love to try making removable ones; this would allow the top to be washed less, which would make it last longer and have a lower energy/water impact by reducing the use of washing machines. Win/win I’d say! I will keep experimenting and follow up with my results 🙂

these are hand-stitched in at each tip and the rest is left hanging free.

I finished the hems with a twin needle. I think this works okay, but I really want to get a coverstitcher for the ultimate finish. This will do until then! Also, I bought a new, wider twin needle to try out, and broke it on THE FIRST STITCH. So… no idea if a wider twin needle would give a better finish. R.I.P, wider twin needle.

back neck is turned and stitched
I caught the cowl facing into the armscye. The white stuff visible at the shoulders is fusing tape- next time I’ll hide it completely!

This was pretty simple to make once I’d finished the pattern (I faffed around with the pattern for quite a while, getting those seams perfect). When you haven’t sewn with knits for a while, you forget how much faster they are!

All in all, I’m really happy with this style experiment. I also think this design would work GREAT for an activewear style, since they often feature body-flattering seams.


What do you guys think? Yay or nay to the tailored knits? 🙂 And how do you like your cowls? This is a small and high cowl, but what do you like? I can imagine a lower cowl would suit full-busted ladies a lot better.

10 thoughts on “Sewn: Cowl Neck Top”

  1. I love this. This is exactly the type of cowl I like as most are too bulky for me to wear scarves and shawls with them.
    Great idea with the underarm shield, please do update us on the success of that!

  2. A beautiful design, as always. I love cowl necklines. I’ve made them with bust tucks before, but never a princess seam. I wonder whether colour blocking would look good with that. Or maybe a bit too much? The cowl already adds a lot of interest.

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment! Now I’m not big on colour blocking so I probably wouldn’t, but I think colour blocking would work well with a plain neck so there aren’t too many features. Colour blocking would be perfect for an exercise wear design though! I am thinking that it might be more effective with design lines that were placed further towards the side seam…I do like the idea of those design lines that give the impression of a curvier waist… Food for thought!

  3. Love this! Especially the underarm shields. I have also been thinking about how to make removable ones, have you come up with any ideas on how to do it?

    1. Yes, I’m still mulling over the best way to do removable ones, and I think I’ll have to sit down and try it out first, but I was thinking about using buttons and loops so they could be taken out easily. Back in time I believe a lot of shields were hand stitched and unpicked each time, but I would prefer something faster! 😊

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