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Tutorial--The "Knotted" Cowl (with added Instructions)

A funny thing happened on the way to making my newest "hide the neck scars" Cowl tunic....I scooped the neckline way too low!  Uh-oh!  I had to think of a way to "fill it up" with the collar, because I didn't have enough fabric to cut another front. In fact, by the time I discovered that the neckline was too low, almost the entire garment was sewn...sigh :( 
Luckily,  I remembered a cowl variation that I used to teach years ago, when my family owned a fabric store...The "Knotted" Cowl.

Here is a close-up of the collar--

What looks like a "knot" at Center Front is actually a manipulated pleat, and here is how it's done....

(click on any photo to enlarge it)

From the wrong side of the garment, I located the CF of the cowl collar by folding the tunic in half. Then as shown below, I stitched a 2-inch deep pleat from the top edge of the collar (through all thicknesses) , stopping about 2" from the neckline seam. Leaving that last 2" of the pleat unsewn will mean something later on in the process--

Next, I made a quick trip to my ironing surface and gently pressed the pleat flat...yes, making a simple box pleat :)  And that is just about all there is to it!  
Except for some very simple folding. Below is the tunic on my form, right sides out (photo lightened for clarity). 
The Cowl Collar has been folded down one time, all the way around. You can clearly see the box pleat that was made. The pin that you see is only there so I could photograph this first fold....  

...because, without the pin holding the first fold of the collar up, the weight of the pleat almost "automagically" makes the Cowl Collar fold itself again at CF...giving the illusion of a "knot" as shown below--

Now, with just a little bit of tucking-under of the CF  into the "dimple" (made when the bottom part of the pleat was left unsewn), there it is...a "knot" that's not a knot !

What follow is a series of photos to make the folding/tucking part of this design more clear--    All of the photos below can be Clicked to enlarge them.

First of all, remember that the pin is ONLY here to hold up the first fold-down of the cowl collar, so that I can show what comes next...it has NO other purpose.  When you make yours, you will not need that pin at all...it serves No construction purpose...I ONLY needed to put it there to show you what comes next.

OK...the red circle in the photo above shows the "Hollow"  or "Deep Dimple-like Hole"  that was made by leaving the last 2" of the pleat NOT sewn (as demonstrated  in the series of photos of the original tutorial).  When you look closely at the photo above, you can "little fold edges" that show where the "Hollow/Dimple/Hole" is located.

 Now....to form the "False Knot", One Last Fold or it could be called a "Tuck and Roll-Under" needs to be made.... --click photo below to enlarge--   (Notice that the pin is NOT there now).

As shown ABOVE by my crudely drawn arrows (sorry..best I could do).....So, as shown by those arrows, the LAST steps are to TURN and ROLL the edge of the collar UNDER ITSELF all the way arround, and THEN use the "DIMPLE/HOLLOW/HOLE" to hold the "Roll" in place, by "tucking-in/pushing" it  INTO that 2-inch  "DIMPLE/HOLLOW/HOLE" (shown above by the 2 double curved arrows at the center front).   
After the collar is "folded/tuck-rolled" under itself, and pushed into that "hole" at CF shown by the double curved arrows....it will look like this--

You can play with and arrange the folds of the collar that surround the Rolled-Under "Pleat That Now Looks Like a Knot" that has been tucked into the CF "Hole/Hollow/Dimple"...anyway you want to.   Just make sure that the (pleated) Center Front of the COLLAR has been ROLLED UNDER ITSELF and Tucked-into the CF "hollow-dimple"

I hope that helps those who did not understand my first set of Tutorial instructions...I cannot think of any other ways to make this more clear than these extra instructions.   Thanks so much for visiting my Blog.

SEWING NOTES--  Fabric is a poly/lycra knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (purchased quite a while ago). Shoulder Seams and Hems are stabilized with poly/lycra Pro-Tricot Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.

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Interfacing at the Movies ?

(I apologize for the appearance of this post...Blogger is doing it's own thing with Bold Text today, and I cannot get it corrected.....!)
Yes!  The Universal Pictures Costume Department (on location in Boston) contacted my small business, Fashion Sewing Supply , for Interfacing Swatches. The tailors there loved our products...and we sold many yards to them for use in the upcoming feature film, R.I.P.D. !  Yep, that's Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp, Pro-Weft, and the Pro-Tailor line of Interfacings in those collars, plackets, waistbands, and lapels !    
Production is under way on this adventure about a team of ghostly police officers who bring unwilling souls to the underworld. R.I.P.D. comes to theaters June 28th, 2013 and stars Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Stephanie Szostak, Mary-Louise Parker, Marisa Miller, James Hong, Robert Knepper. The film is directed by Robert Schwentke.

I am such a geek...I am so excited!
As one of my friends said, "This will be the first time I go to see a movie for the Interfacing."


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Tutorial- The "Spiral" Cowl Collar

As promised, here is a tutorial for making a cowl collar that has been "Spiraled" so that it drapes in lovely gentle folds that hide the neckline seam, rather than just "flopping down" in the front.  On a recent garment, I showed you the Spiral Cowl Collar on a drapey Rayon knit fabric...this blue one is made from heavy cotton/lycra knit Velour.

There may be other ways to make a Spiral Cowl...this is how I do it...
(Click on any Photo to enlarge)

Start with any basic knit top garment that has a Jewel neckline, and sew the shoulder seams. You may then choose to lower the Front Neckline a little bit more like I did here. This is not an exact science. A rule of thumb is that the thinner the fabric, the higher the neckline can be...when a thicker knit fabric is used, It is best to scoop the neckline a little lower (unless you want a wide, high collar). When I make this cowl, I just scoop the neckline a random amount...different every time ;)

Next, cut a cowl collar that measures 12"-20" Long x the Neckline Circumference + Seam Allowance.        The stretch of the knit should run the WIDTH of the collar.
WIDTH = NECKLINE CIRCUMFERENCE  Then fold it Right Sides Together so that it looks like this photo --->
and stitch the long edges together, forming a "tube".

Then turn the tube right sides out, folding it in half to enclose the seam allowances. It will look like this, a "regular" cowl collar that we have all seen before :)   The seam is the Center Back of the Collar, and it has 2 layers..the inner layer and outer layer.

Next we will start to "Spiral" the Cowl Collar, by sliding the INNER CB seam and the OUTER CB seam APART  by 3"-6"   

Now just ignore that the Center Back seam allowances are no longer laying on top of each other, and match and join the cut edges of the collar together. Match them all the way around, ignoring the way that the folded edge of the Collar will  "Spiral"  :)  You can join the edges by pinning them, or as I usually do, by running a quick line of basting.

Now that we have "Spiraled" our Cowl Collar, we need to mark it's new Center Back, 
by placing a pin 1/2 way between the seams that were spread apart, as shown below. 

To attach the Spiraled Cowl Collar to the neckline of your top, start by marking both the collar and the neckline edge at their 4  "quarter-points" with pins.

Then drop the Collar inside the Neckline edge,  Right Sides Together, matching the center back point of the Spiral Cowl Collar to the center back of the Neckline.  Then match the center fronts, and lastly the side points.  Stitch the collar to the neckline.

Turn the bodice right-sides-out, and finish sewing the rest of your top. Your collar will look something like this from the front (depending on how you arrange the folds).

And something like this from the back...

I hope you all enjoy creating your own "Spiraled Cowl" !

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