I’m Obsessed With Cowl Necks I

Side Gather of My Newest Dress

Side Gather of My Newest Dress

Can you believe I made two other projects with a cowl neck and asymmetric side ruching? What can I say, I love those design elements combined.

Naturally, when I saw pattern 118 in Burdastyle magazine 10/2012, I wanted to make it. I’m in the feedback group for the magazine and get asked a few questions about the patterns 4 times a year. Embarassingly, I never really succeeded in making any of the patterns within the time they give you (3-6 months) and couldn’t really give feedback apart from “like” or “dislike”. So this time, I went to town! (Literally)

I had seen a nice blue/white wool bouclé in the remnants bin at Eurokangas some weeks before and hoped a) that it would still be there, and b) that it would be enough for this dress. I was lucky on both accounts (I even have some left over that I intend to use on a Sewaholic Cordova). Here’s a first picture:

Burda Style 10/2012 Dress 118

Burda Style 10/2012 Dress 118

As this was wool I didn’t like the fact that the pattern is unlined. After a lot of deliberation and some sleepless (well, almost) nights I started googling lining sources. In the end I was confirmed that basicall you cut the same pattern pieces out of both the fashion and lining fabrics. I sewed the facings on top of the lining pieces, which is a techniqu recommended in “Easy Guide to Sewing Linings” (Amazon link). Because I didn’t want to add bulk and the fraying fabric was quite difficult to turn under anyway, I enclosed the edges in black bias tape that I had laying around:

Back Facing and Zipper Detail View

Back Facing and Zipper Detail View

A note on the lining: I cut the front part mirrored to the fashion fabric to reduce bulk at the side gathers. Also, instead of gathering the lining, I pleated it at the gather line.

Pleat Instead of Gathers - bulk reduction

Pleat Instead of Gathers – bulk reduction

Also also, I cut the front lining only up to the facing, for the same reason. The edges are enclosed in bias tape here as well:

Cowl Facing

Cowl Facing

Then I was faced with a construction problem. Burda has you treat the folded front section as one piece, which would have resultet in a raw edge at the armscye. Plus, I wouldn’t know how to attach a sleeve lining to that. Moreover, I prefer to set in sleeves in the flat, it’s so much easier. So I followed Burda’s instructions only sporadically. So here’s how I did my construction (no pics, as I was eager to finish that dress FAST):

  1. Attach facings to lining pieces
  2. Gather both lining and fashion fabric as indicated and instructed by Burda
  3. Sew back darts, both on lining and fashion fabric
  4. Attach back facing to back pieces
  5. Sew shoulder seams as directed by Burda
  6. Set in sleeves, both on lining and fashion fabric (do each sleeve half seperately, starting at the shoulder seam, as this seam connects fashion fabric and lining)
  7. Sew sleeve hems of lining to fashion fabric sleeve hems, right sides facing
  8. Sew side seams from bottom of fashion fabric all the way along the sleeves to the bottom of the lining
  9. Now’s a good time to do fitting adjustements if you haven’t made a muslin (though, tsk, you totally should! (However, I only did a body muslin to see if the size and bodice length was right, not to do tailoring))
  10. Attach the back zipper (I used Tasia’s method for a neat finish)
  11. Finish the hem as you prefer. (You could leave the lining free hanging to avoid hand sewing.)

It’s a bit confusing, I guess, especially points 7 and 8. If there’s interest I’ll make a tutorial with pictures, just leave a comment here or on Burdastyle.

EDIT: I made a post explaining steps 6 to 8, see here.

Anyway, more pictures of the finished dress. Here’s how I finished my hem:

Hem Finish - close up

Hem Finish – close up

First I enclosed the fashion fabric edge with bias tape, which I then blind-stitched to the desired length. Then I made a machine hem on the lining fabric. I could have left it as is, but both fabrics are fraying like crazy and I wanted to enclose everything, which is why I hand stitched the lining to the bias tape. (I pulled the lining up for the picture).

Then some backside views:

Back View - nothin exceptional, really

Back View – nothin exceptional, really

Inside Back View - all neat and stuff

Inside Back View – all neat and stuff

Some notes about pattern changes: I only did minor alterations, lengthened the bodice 4cm and changed the skirt to a slight A-line, as I have some saddlebags to accomodate.

The second project that I mentioned at the beginning of the post is another Eva dress (my 1st version here). I’ll write about that after Christmas, though, this post here is waaaay too long to add another project.


15 thoughts on “I’m Obsessed With Cowl Necks I

  1. I would
    Love a tutorial on lining this dress! It looks like you did a beautiful job, and I’ve been dying to make one too but the wool I have really needs to be lined and I wasn’t sure how to do it, being a beginner!


  2. Hi! I am curious about the sizing. Did you make your normal Burda size(s)? I think one or two people made it up in a knit so I was wondering how fitted the lower dress was. I haven’t received this issue yet (I completely forgot to renew my subscription! gasp!) but I am very interested in making this dress. Also, was you wool thin enough to accomodate the side gathers? Or would you recommend a thinner fabric to make it up. I am probaly not going to use wool as I live in the Caribbean, LOL!


    • I changed the bottom to an A-line so I can’t really say if it’s snug or not. I used my usual Burda size (1 size smaller than the measurements suggest). The muslin was a tiny bit snug, so I just left a 3cm seam allowance in the back to adjust the fit at the end. Finally it was not neccessary. So I’d say if you know your Burda size, use that one.
      The wool was a bit thick, but it was just on this side of ok. Lucky you to live in a warm place, I’m so jealous!


  3. Hello! Your dress came out beautifully. I am about to embark on the same pattern, and wonder if you could clarify something for me (please excuse any awkwardness in my wording, I’m rather self-taught and as such don’t always know the appropriate sewing lingo): My understanding of lining dresses is essentially that you sew 2 copies of the dress and insert the lining version inside the fashion fabric one, attaching at the neckline/along the zipper/at the sleeves. On this dress, as your pictures show, the fashion fabric folds over in the front to self-line the cowl. Where do you attach the dress/lining in the front?

    Thanks much & enjoy your dress!


    • Hi! Thank you! I don’t know the lingo either, I’m German speaking and still learning the appropriate English expressions. 🙂 Also, I hope I can describe the process well enough to make it clear.
      The lining gave me a bit of a headache, too. I didn’t want to have to cut an unnecessary front lining all the way up because of the self lining. So folded the front pattern piece at the fold line for the cowl and then just cut the lining piece from where the self lining would end downwards. Then I sewed the lining and cowl self lining right sides facing. I hope this makes more clear? If not, I will upload a step by step tutorial after January 14 (probably January 20).


  4. Great work on this dress! It will be my next project and I will now absolutely follow your instructions, especially for adding a lining. I might return with some questions along the way 😉


  5. Pingback: Stripes, asymmetric gathers and a cowl | He Cooks… She Sews!

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