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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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Blogger Mary Beth said...

Sweet, Pam!

12:15 PM  
Blogger patti said...


1:00 PM  
Blogger Gorgeous Things said...

Fabulous!! I am going to try this out. If I ever have time to sew again, that is.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Cennetta said...

Excellent! Nice variation to a basic wardrobe staple. This is on my list to do.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Nice tutorial Pam. I do hope you neck scars fade, to the point of not really being visible.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Faye Lewis said...

So unique! I'm bookmarking these in hopes I get to copy them one day!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Linda T said...

Now that is just so cool! thanks for sharing; I'm definitely going to try this one right after the twisted version!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Linda L said...

This is so cool!!! Thank you so much for sharing recently these great options for cowl neck garments. By the way I have this same fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics and was going to make a dress a year ago from it and never did. I may have to make a cowl neck top but maybe use one of your other techniques!

7:04 PM  
Blogger marysews said...

It looks really cool, but I can't imagine which side to which side, how many layers, etc., to get it to work. Please elaborate?

7:29 PM  
Blogger Bunny said...


7:39 PM  
Anonymous Karen in Tasmania said...

This is great Pam. I look at a lot of cowl neck patterns and think they're too low for me to wear, but it looks as though this trick is a really neat way to raise that neckline. I'm going to try it.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi MarySews...umm...I am not sure how much more I can elaborate. The cowl collar is attached to the neckline as usual. It is then folded in half as shown in the first photo, to find the CF of the collar. A pleat is then sewn though all four layers of the collar 2" -in- from the CF fold, as shown in the corresponding photo.... etc, etc, as shown.

I sincerely apologize if my tutorials are not good enough...I try my best to be a clear as possible while trying to write within the confines of a blog post. If I ever decide to make any of my tutorials as PDFs for sale, rather than for free on my blog...I will have more "spacial freedom" to go into much more detail.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Bobbi Bullard said...

Thanks for writing this up. I'm definitely going to try a variety of the cowls you have developed and shared with us.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

So simple, yet so effective. Thank-you!

11:14 PM  
Blogger MushyWear said...

Clever! Thanks for sharing.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Thanks for the collar tutorials, Pam. I really love the cowl collars, and how to raise them up higher. I have some of the same issues you do, but have gotten away from cowls because they are usually too low. So I appreciate these ideas.

Cheryl B.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

So clever. Almost an origami trick. Thanks.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Pam, I love this one, can't wait to try it. I tried your other tut on the cowl and it worked perfect and looks great. Thanks so much for these, they are a lot of fun to try.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Lynneb said...

Great idea, Pam! Thanks!

8:46 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Thank you! I am really enjoying the recent tips and tricks. Off to my sewing room to use this idea right now.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Another great tutorial; thanks, Pam.
For MarySews, I am always puzzled when I read instructions and look at the pictures. My mind seems to need my hands "doing" right along as part of how I learn. I often have to try a technique in order to understand it. I tried this technique with a scrap of fabric and I know I am going to incorporate it into a top pattern that I think is a little more revealing than I'd like.
Pam, another gold star! Thanks again!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Joyce said...

I love this! I'm going to try it on Burda 8291--a basic cowl neck top that fits. Do you think it's likely to work well with the existing neckline or did you scoop yours lower than the usual pattern neckline?
I just finished a "twisted" cowl as per your instructions. Love that one too. Thanks.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Susan in St. Paul said...

I just tried this on a 5x thrifted turtleneck I planned to recut and it looks amazing!

I wonder how it would look on sleeves that a a bit too wide and long? I am going to try that next!

1:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Chic! Maybe in a contrast fabric for a psudo-scarf?

5:19 PM  

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