October 16, 2010

The promised tutorial

Here it is!
This is another of my tutorials for knits, for which you need to use an existing fitted t-shirt pattern as a base. I think most people will have one or more of those in pattern stash, and if you don't, you can always go and get Burdastyle's Lydia. I'm using my knit sloper, which has more waist shaping than Lydia. As ever, I recommend using a tried and tested pattern as a start for alteration.

Unlike most other cowl neck designs, mine has a standing collar at the back which adds even more drape to the front. And a center front seam. The whole design is basically made to maximize drape in the chest area and works best is drapey knits.

Making the pattern is fairly straight-forward. My picture shows a pattern without seam allowance. The black lines show the original front pattern piece.

Before you start, you have to determine how deep you want the drape to be (mine is quite deep, I have to wear a tank top underneath). I usually do this by holding the tape measure around my neck, but it's a bit of guesswork anyway. You also have to decide on how high you want the back collar (which will not be interfaced, so it's not going to stand up that much). I will give you the measurements of my version later.
1. Measure the back neckline of the existing pattern.
2. Draw a line of that length, starting at the point where the front neckline meets the shoulder. (line A) It should be at a bit of an angle, as shown.
3. At a 90 degree angle to line A, draw line B, the measurement of which is the height of the back collar (7 cm for my top)
4. At a 90 degree angle to line B, draw line C, the measurement of which is half of the circumference you want for the top edge of the drape (it's 45 cm in my pattern)
5. The lower curve has to start at a 90 degree angle to line C and meets the original center front line at waist level (any lower and you loose the waist shape in the finished top, higher is possible, but then the drape should be smaller in circumference as well). The curve will give extra drape.
6. If you want to face back collar and top of the drape, mirror the top bit of the new pattern piece, to the same width as the length of line B. This can then be folded back to form the facing later (needed if you don't want the inside of your fabric to show)

This is your pattern. It should be cut with the original center front line on
the straight grain.
Make sure you mark the point where line A meets the front shoulder, which will be 'encased' in the seam allowances. You will need to know where the point itself is, when you sew the top.

1. Sew the center back seam of the collar (line B)

2. Pin and sew the shoulder seams, making sure to finish sewing at the marked point. If you are using a serger, do this step and the next on the sewing machine first.
3. Clip the seam allowance on the front pattern piece to the marked point.

4. Sew the collar to the back neckline. When this is done, you can serge along the seams you've just made.
5. Sew the center front seam.
6. Set in the sleeves.
7. Sew the side seams and sleeve seams in one go.
8. Hem the sleeves, the bottom of the shirt and the edge of the drape (unless you are making a facing, it that case, fold it in and sew it in place)

I hope this is clear to you, I'm sorry I can't give more information about the angle of the collar, but this is the sort of thing I do by trail and error and everyone has his or her own preferences, so...
As ever, if you make a top using these instructions, please leave a link in the comments. I'd love to see it!


  1. thanks for this detailed tutorial... as soon as I get some jersey I will try it out... I might have some questions then...

  2. Love your blog!! Please visit or follow mine:)

  3. Thank you! I can't wait to try it out.

  4. Would love to see the finished product. Not sure what it should look like when finished.

    1. http://petitmainsauvage.blogspot.nl/2010/09/drape-neck-top.html

      apparently this one.

  5. Buenas noches, esta muy clara la explicación, pero como se ve al terminarlo. Sería bueno si hicieras un video. Gracias