Drafting from RTW: Cowl Neck Tank

Scuse the hiatus. My computer died, so I’ve spent the last week or so figuring out what sort of machine I can get for a decent price, and then trying to salvage all my stuff from my old machine, which has a busted backlight. (The backlight shines through from the back of the monitor — which means I can still see stuff on the old machine, everything is just very dim, like I’m looking through some ridiculously dark glasses.)

Just before the computer died, I had just finished a project. The staring point was this:

It was a freebie from some golf thing Spouse Phor went to for work. It’s a men’s XXXL cotton knit t-shirt with a polo neck. Waaay to huge for him to ever wear.

Now, I wear cotton knit tanks constantly. Like they are going out of style. I must have four or five in black, at least, but a couple are getting a bit ratty and overwashed, so it’s time to add a few new ones. I figured this would make a great practice fabric for pattern-making. I’ll throw together a pattern, see if it works out, and if it does, I’ve got a great easy pattern for knit tank tops.

To make this pattern, I started by tracing around a top I already own:

You can see that I folded it half. Because knits are stretchy, if I’d have spread it out and traced both sides independently, there would have been a decent chance that the sides wouldn’t match. By folding it in half, I get a pattern that can be placed on the fabric fold line and the left and right sides will match.

I traced around the back half of the top — the front neckline is slightly lower, but happily, the back and front sides of the pattern are identical.

So now I have a basic tank top pattern, without seam allowances. The next thing I wanted to do was play around with the necklines a little. I drew another copy of this pattern, and shifted the neckline up — this, with seam allowances added, is now my back pattern piece. On the front piece, I wanted to draft a cowl neckline. To do this, you need to spread the shoulder points out to give you excess fabric for the cowl.

To make the cowl neckline, I started by tracing the armscye from just below the armpit all the way up to the shoulder seam:

I then cut around the curve. I took this curve and laid it on top of my original pattern piece. Using the armpit as a point of origin, I pivoted the curve outwards. I probably shifted it so that the new shoulder seam was about 2.5 inches away from the original seam.

It took me a few tries on the fabric until I got this just so — I basted in the side seams and chalked in the armscyes, then hand basted the shoulder seams on the back and front until I had it the way I wanted it. Once I’d figured the pattern the way I liked it, I added the seam allowances to the paper piece.

The final garment came out with a nice shape. But:

Because I was futzing around with the fabric *before* I’d properly cut my pattern, I ended up with the original logo of the shirt sitting. right. there. On my shoulder.

It says “Loretta Sanchez for Congress”. I have nothing against Congresswoman Sanchez, but I’m not sure I want to wear that over my heart, yanno?

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9 Responses to “Drafting from RTW: Cowl Neck Tank”

  1. Summer Dress « The Coracle Says:

    […] bodice part of this dress was easy enough — it comes from this pattern, and took me maybe an hour, hour and a half to cut, sew & […]

  2. Anonymous Says:

    awesome

  3. Hilde Says:

    Thanks for showing how to do this! I made my own cowl neck top using your instructions on a Burda WOF pattern and it turned out great. So simple, yet I haven’t seen this method anywhere else.

  4. Recreating Fall 2010 Runway Looks: Two of Ten : Chromatophore Studios Says:

    […] Coracle has an interesting piece on one woman’s experiences drafting a cowl neck blouse from a freebie gol….  Another interesting cowl-neck tutorial is about halfway down the page on VintageSewing.info.  […]

  5. Recreating Fall 2010 Runway Looks: DSquared2 : MNStitch Says:

    […] Coracle has an interesting piece on one woman’s experiences drafting a cowl neck blouse from a freebie gol….  Another interesting cowl-neck tutorial is about halfway down the page on VintageSewing.info.  […]

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