I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! We had a fantastic 6th birthday party at our house (birthday parties are always better when scheduled over happy hour and include adult beverages for the parents 🙂 ), did some major closet cleaning and spent some quality time at the pool. All in all, a great summer weekend!
But today I am here showing you how to take a basic scoop neck tee and turning it into a cowl neck. Yes, you heard that right, a cowl neck!
As a quick aside, the fabric in this post (and this entire hack series) is sponsored by Simply By Ti Fabrics. This rayon spandex jersey is particularly well-suited to something like a cowl neck, which needs a lot of drape to lay correctly.
This hack is much simpler than it looks on first glance, but it does take a bit of flat pattern manipulation to get there. So down to business!
Adjust Your Pattern:
1. To start with, you’ll want to trace off a new front bodice piece because you’re going to cut it up. Measure the length of the neckline curve — you’ll need it later.
2. Draw three curved lines on your front bodice piece starting at the center front — two of the lines will be drawn up to the shoulder seam, and the last to the middle of the armscyce. Like this:
3. Cut along the curved lines, leaving a small piece still attached at the shoulder/armscyce so you can pivot the pieces.
4. Now spread the pieces you cut to create the extra fabric for the cowl neck.
5. Here is where you need that neckline measurement you took earlier. For the neckline to hang where it needs to (i.e. approximately where the original scoop neck was), you need to make sure that you pivot the pieces enough so that when you square it all off, the top of your pattern piece is that same measurement. Clear as mud? Okay, hopefully a photo will help:
6. The neckline on my pattern measured 9″. So I made sure that I pivoted my pieces enough so that when I went to retrace my pattern piece, that top line was 9″ long:
7. Trace all around the new pattern piece. Some of the pivoted pieces will extend beyond the center front of your bodice. That’s ok, just mark a straight line all the way up the center front, ignoring the pieces that extend beyond.
8. Be sure to square off your shoulder seam. All the pivoting will make that seam curved, but you want it to be straight, so just true it up. You’ll also notice that the shape of the armscyce has changed too. Again, you can just ignore that. The armscyce length has remained the same, so when the shirt is on and the front fabric drapes down, the armscyce should be fine.
9. Cut your back and sleeve pieces per the pattern instructions.
Construct Your Shirt:
1. Sew your shoulder seams.
2. Now we need to finish the back neckline. You could do this prior to sewing the shoulder seams, but I like to do it after. That way the fabric near the shoulder seam on the front piece gets folded under just a bit and helps the cowl neck lay nicely.
3. I like to use clear elastic to finish and stabilize my back neckline. But you could use twill tape, woven bias binding, or knit binding. If you’re using clear elastic like me, measure out a piece of clear elastic the length of your back neckline, from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Then, using a zigzag stitch, attach the clear elastic to the wrong side of your back neckline.
4. Turn the elastic down to the inside of the shirt, so that the elastic is fully encased in fabric.
5. Sew the elastic down with a straight stitch from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.
6. Continue sewing your shirt according to the pattern instructions. That’s really it! Because your fabric is knit, there’s no need to finish the front cowl, and it will lay better unfinished anyway. The way we finished the back neckline turned the front fabric under just a bit near the shoulder seam, and that will help keep the unfinished edge of the front bodice turned towards the inside of the shirt.
I combined my cowl neck with my tee-to-tank hack, for a sleeveless cowl neck. That’s the great thing about hacking a basic pattern — you can mix and match features however you want!
All fabrics in this post are sponsored by Simply by Ti Fabrics.