britex, britex guest blogger, handmade wardrobe, pattern, pattern drafting, sewing pattern, tops

Cowl neck top pattern (free!) and tutorial

Remember my cowl neck top from last week?  I finally finished drafting, grading and writing up the instructions for the pattern, and here it is, free (and in multiple sizes!).  In this post, I’m going to walk through the steps for sewing this very simple top, but please contact me if you have any questions (nicole[at]

Cowl Neck Top pattern and instructions.  (For best results when printing, download the file to your computer, then open in “Preview” or “Adobe Reader“.)

Note: this is my very first go at pattern grading, and in the excitement to get it out, it has only been tested by me, so please check the final garment sizes, and make a muslin before cutting into your good fabric!

I’m going to skip the steps for assembling and cutting out the pattern–those are on the very first page of the instructions, and most people know the drill by now!  So let’s pick it up after the fabric has been cut…

Apply interfacing to the wrong side of the Back Neck Facing.  I’ve used a lightweight, dark colored interfacing to be less conspicuous on the sheer viscose fabric.

Pin the Back Neck Facing to the Back at the neckline, with right sides facing. Sew with 1/4″ seam allowance.  Clip curves.

Press the seam open, pressing seam allowance toward the Back Neck Facing.  Understitch 1/8″ from the seam on the Back Neck Facing.
Match the notch on the Front to the just-sewn seam line on the Back.  Ease the curve of the Front to match and sew with 1/2″ seam allowance.  Finish the raw edge with a zig-zag or overlock stitch.  Sew the other shoulder in the same way.
Finish the edge of the Back Neck Facing and the Front facing by zig-zag, overlock, or turning 1/4″ and stitching close to the edge (as shown above).  Then, stitch the side seams with 1/2″ seam allowance and finish the raw edges.
Turn and press the Back Neck Facing toward the inside of the garment.  This will draw the Front facing into place.  You may want to tack down the facing to the shoulder seam with a few stitches. 

For the armholes, sew the short ends of the Armhole Bias Binding with right sides facing to create a closed loop.  Press this seam open.  Fold in half, wrong sides facing to create a band 3/4″ wide.

Pin the loop to the armhole opening on the right side of the garment, with raw edges matching.  Match up the bias binding seam with the side seam.  Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press the seam open, then fold the bias binding to the inside of the garment and stitch close to the edge of the binding. Repeat for the other armhole.

For the hem, turn and press 1/4″ and then turn and press 3/8″ again.  You’re done!
In the near future, I’d like to make and offer more patterns, so toward the goal of improvement, I completely welcome your feedback (good and not-so-good)!  Finally, after you’ve made your garment, please come back and link to photos of your finished tops!   
Thanks again to Britex for the fabric and the nudge into the world of pattern making!

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