July 22, 2019

Hello! Today we're going to go over how you can customise the Clementine pattern to create a deeper cowl! This technique can also be used on any other pattern you like too, which is very exciting and gives you endless options for creating the cowl of your dreams. You don't even have to start with a cowl pattern; use this on any neckline you want to make into a cowl!

The cowl on the Clementine is designed to be a high, subtle cowl. However, a lot of people do prefer a drapier, lower cowl. Often, women with fuller busts prefer a deeper cowl, as high necklines can give the illusion of making the bust look even bigger. But it can also just be a style preference! Regardless of your reason, let’s go ahead and hack the pattern for a deeper cowl!

Step 1

Start by drawing a line across the pattern, perpendicular to the grainline, which intersects the dot on the pattern. This line is where the cowl folds. Cut the upper bit off and discard it.

Step 2

Draw diagonal slash lines on the pattern from shoulder to centre front, as shown below. For the third line, create a line perpendicular to centre front that goes to the bust notch. Also, mark the seam line onto the pattern piece along the shoulder seam. On this pattern the seam is 6mm.

Step 3

It’s time to slash! Slash to the seam, and stop just before the seam line. Then clip to the seam from the other side, leaving a little hinge. This allows the pattern to pivot without changing the length of the princess seam, so it will still sew together perfectly! Add fullness by opening these slashes up. I opened the larger two up by 2” (5cm) each, and the bust-level slash by 5/8" (1.5cm). The more you add, the more drape you are adding to the cowl. 

Step 4

Fill in your slashed lines by taping paper in behind. Trim along the centre front line and get rid of those extra jaggy bits. Draw a line from centre front to shoulder, perpendicular to the grainline, as shown in the image. 

Trim off the top part of the pattern piece along the line you just created.

Step 5

Last step! You’re going to create the cowl facing by tracing the top half. This is the bit that will be folded to the inside of the garment. Draw a new perpendicular line from the centre front, as shown in the image below. This intersects with the armscye 1.2cm (½”) above the edge of the pattern piece.

Trace this line, and everything above this line. You will now have a new, small piece duplicating the top section of the pattern. Flip this small piece upside down along the top of the piece, to form a mirror image of the rest of the pattern (you can see how this looks in the picture below). Now, stick it on! This creates the cowl facing which folds to the inside of the garment. You're all done, great job! 

The sewing for the deeper cowl will follow the exact same instructions as the cowl included with the pattern. Have fun and please do share any pictures of your cowl hacks!!

And of course, it wouldn't be a good tutorial without showing off the fruits of our labour. Here is the pattern made up with the deeper cowl from this tutorial!

Note: these sleeves are also hacked, so if you are interested in those sleeves too, we may be able to add a tutorial on that.

And of course, if you haven't already, you can buy the Clementine knit top and dress here.

Extra patternmaking note: Clementine is a knit pattern. In woven fabrics, cowls are usually placed on the bias to enhance the drape. So when working with woven fabrics, you will need to evaluate on a pattern-by-pattern basis.

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