The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Free Sewing Tutorial: Drafting a Facing for a Cowl Neck Top

Now that it's fall here in the Midwest, I'm in the mode of making some longer sleeve knit/jersey tops  I have a couple of tutorials that give instructions on how to draft a basic cowl neck jerey top (see here and here).  With my first few cowl necks, I was satisfied with a simple hem or leaving the cowl neckline serged, but recently I've wanted a more finished look.  This tutorial will teach you how to add a self-facing to your cowl neck pattern, so that you can't see any stitches around the cowl.

You will need:
*cowl neck top pattern
*pencil, pen

Here's an example of what your cowl neck pattern will look like WITHOUT a facing:

The first step in creating a facing is to tape some paper to the cowl neck line, so that you can extend it.

Next, draw a line 2-3 inches above your cowl neck line.  Angle the edges so that it it is a mirror image of your original cowl neck.  It will look like this:

Cut out the front of your top as you normally would.  To sew your top, fold across the neckline at the extention that you made with wrong sides together (wrong side of facing against wrong side of fabric).  When you attach the front of the top to the back of the top at the shoulders, you'll have a double layer of fabric on the top front and a single layer of fabric on the top back.  It will look like this after you've sewn it together:

Inside cowl neckline (front)

Cowl neck from right side

For this top, I used ponte knit fabric (thicker, more stable) that I purchased at Hancock Fabric's in a sale (I think their ponte knit is still on sale).,, and all have a good selection of ponte fabric, mainly in solid colors.  I wanted longer sleeves for it, so I used the sleeve piece from my Silhouettes Pattern #195 and shortened it to bracelet length.   I finished the edge of the back neckline with 5/8" fold-over elastic (I pulled it slightly as I attached it to the neckline with a zig-zag stitch - I find that pulling it slightly stops the back neck from gaping).  I originally recommended cutting on the top on the bias to make the neckline nice and drapey, but this weekend I experimented with cutting it out on the straight grain and it worked just fine. To cut the top out on the straight grain, you'll need a fabric that is nice and drapey to begin with, but most knits/jerseys are plenty drapey.  Here's how it turned out:

I made a pencil skirt with the same fabric (not to be worn together - THAT look was a freaky visual disaster!) and I'll post about that later this week.  Let me know if you have any questions about the facing and I'd love to see pictures if you try this tutorial!  Email them to, and I'll add them to the post with a link to your blog (if you have one).  Here's one that Diya at The Hobby Harbor made recently:

Pinned Image

1 comment on "Free Sewing Tutorial: Drafting a Facing for a Cowl Neck Top"
  1. A nice continuation post to the cowl tutorial.Thanks for featuring my top :) I forgot to mention that I have added a facing to my top..