Oops! Apparently I've accidentally deleted all of my images. I'll see about fixing that soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Grey Cowl Shirt

This is the last of the posts on the holiday gifts I gave this year.  I've saved it for the end because it was one of my favorites. (Apologies in advance, most of the photos were taken before we got our new camera.)

You may remember last year I got this pattern from my wonderful husband as part of his anniversary gift for me:

Butterick 5710

I was totally excited and wanted to do something with it right away... well, i did play around with it a little, but only in miniature.  
But then my sister-in-law loaned us the first season of Nikita. I was really taken by the wide variety of design choices in the costuming.

But when I popped online to look for pics (because I forgot to take some screenshots before I gave the discs back) I also found some other fun wardrobe choices by the star of the show, Maggie Q.
Hey SOPA, we win.

Well, I couldn't help but be inspired.  So I set up the dressform to her size and pinned on the paper pattern.

And I also found this fun fabric.  True, I don't usually go for synthetics, but this one i liked.  Microfiber knit. Nice weight. Dark grey with nice rich undertones (i.e., not a flat color)

Now, this pattern is not intended for knits. At all.  But it's what I wanted.  Unsurprisingly, once I got the pattern pinned on and  started making notes about the construction & design I decided that:
  1. four layers of this fabric in the front and one layer in the back would be bad. very bad.
  2. if I removed the layer under the cowl, the cowl drapes way too low for my liking (yeah, i'm playing the slightly overprotective older sister-in-law here and raising the neckline.)
  3. if I'm redrafting the back anyway, do i really need the pattern at all? (answer: yes, see later...)

So I redraped the cowl:

Here you can see the difference between the original paper pattern and the one I drafted.

With the paper pattern made, I laid out the fabric and carefully positioned the pattern on the true bias.

With the new cowl cut out I pinned it back on the dressform and began draping the lower half of the front as well as the back.

With the pattern for the new back, I laid out on the fabric and positioned the paper with the grain this time. (fold line at center)

I draped and cut the fabric for the bottom front and pinned it all on the dressform.

So then I started to work on the sleeves... which went well.... until they didn't...

I draped some sleeves as one piece. then I marked out the pattern and cut the sleeves.

Sounds good, right? Yeah... until I pinned them back onto the shirt. Total fail.
Back to the pattern.  I cut the original pieces out, as directed. Then I draped *those* on the shirt/ dressform.

Here are the new pattern pieces I ended up with laying on the original pattern pieces so you can see the difference.

And stitched together... they look kind of like lungs... lol

The new sleeves attached beautifully to the shirt.  I trimmed the hem to the length I wanted. (no finishing required - yay for microfiber)

And after I took these pictures I trimmed up and finished the sleeve hems by hand.

I hope she liked it, I really had fun with this one.

Happy Monday, everybody!


  1. Ihave never worked with knits, it looks scary, however yours is lovely.

  2. honestly, i felt the same way about knits for years. Eventually I decided to just jump in and give them a shot. I enjoyed it a little but felt my abilities were truly mediocre until i got my serger. since then i have found that I really love working/playing with a variety of different knits.


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