Tutorial- The "Spiral" Cowl Collar

Saturday, November 5, 2011

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" !