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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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Blogger Sherril said...

Pam, I've been thinking about this cowl neck top all day. I've got a pattern all traced and ready to make it. I was thinking about how to make this and I was making it way more complicated than your instructions. Thank you for this timely tutorial!

3:50 PM  
Blogger shams said...

Excellent tutorial! Your version is lovely!

3:56 PM  
Anonymous EasilyAmewsed said...

Good tutorial. :) It's amazing how different the effect is on the velour vs. the rayon fabric.
I do have a question about deciding the offset to create the spiral. If the fabric is lightweight should the offset be more than for a heavier weight such as the velour?

4:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That is such a simple thing to do for such beautiful results! I've just had a sewing setback of monumental proportions (ok So i'm dramatic) but I think I might soothe my wounded soul by making one of these. How could I go wrong with this? Thank you Pam!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Great technique,Pam. Thanks so much for your tutorial.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Linda T said...

Love it! Thank you, Pam. gotta make this one soon.

7:47 PM  
Blogger LakshmiRP said...

Thanks for sharing. This is like why didn't i think of this earlier type of sewing experiment. Will try this out ASAP!

1:53 AM  
Blogger LakshmiRP said...

in fact i use similar tactics to get twisted bubble hem ! but never thought in those lines for a cowl!

Here is the twisted bubble hem dress i sew for my daughter
Twisted Bubble Hem Dress

1:55 AM  
Blogger Lynneb said...

Genius! Pure Genius! Nice work, Pam!

6:19 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Another great tutorial. Thank you for always sharing these techniques with all of us. I have bookmarked this for future reference. A very attractive cowl neck collar!

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this treatment -- thanks for sharing your method so clearly! Love the ruched cowl too.
Patti B

8:47 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Both tunics are so pretty! This is just what I needed to get my sewing mojo back! Thank you for the tutorial...I pinned it on Pinterest.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so elegant Pam, I love it. Thank you!

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a top cut out but not finished in the Cave O' Crafts that I think this will be a perfect neckline treatment; I was wanting to do something a little different (killer red fabric, going to be great for the holidays) and this is just the ticket! Thanks for sharing. I want to be you when I grow up!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Thanks, Pam, for this great tutorial. Drapey cowls are everywhere, and I want to make a top (or dress) with one. I love the spiral you've included with this one.
I tried to post a comment from my iPod Touch, but it wouldn't let me. Too bad; I had written a nice, long comment. Anyway, we're practically neighbors! I live in Clarence; I bet you know where that is. Off to look through my fabrics to see what to use for trying your tutorial. Thanks again,

8:55 PM  
Anonymous eileen said...

thanks so much for the new tutorials - i think i brought the cold from batavia to sc - cant get warm but new shirts should help - I hope EILEEN

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Thanks so much! A quick twist (bad pun!) and you get an entire new look to a pattern. deborah

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Apparels said...

Vow...its really great..anyway i like it very much. Thanks for sharing with all.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the tutorial...i like it..

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Joan said...

Thanks for so generously sharing this technique. It is a very attractive cowl.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Thirty Seven West said...

I love your tunics! And the fabric you choose is wonderful! I love shirts with the cowl neck lines. It's great to know how to do them now.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Tany said...

This is wonderful! I've made a top with a very similar collar recently and this thorough tutorial explains the procedure perfectly! The only difference with my collar was that mine was not as high and I used two separate parts (inner and outer collar). Congratulations on this excellent article!

6:49 PM  
Blogger Debbie O' said...

Thank you.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Cennetta said...

Thanks, Pam. I have Vogue 8670 and will try your three cowl variations. It's already cold in Chicago and I will add several of these cowl tops to my winter wardrobe.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Rosalind Clayton said...

I tried this spiral collar for the first time today, & it's AWESOME!! I used New Look 6735, didn't alter the neckline scoop because of the stretchyness & drape of my knit. It went on perfectly, & folds into natural drapes virtually on it's own. Thank you so very much for passing on your expertise, I much appreciate all the work you do!! My only revision to your instructions was to twin needle the neckline/collar seam from the right side to ensure the seam lays perfectly flat against my neck.
MANY thanks again!!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Sewing by Shirley said...

I tried this today with a shirt for my daughter and it turned out great! Thank you so much for the tutorial!! Next I will try one for myself.

3:02 PM  

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