Comments 28

Finishing A Cowl Neckline

I recently made Lekala 4119.  If you’ve tried Lekala you’ll know the instructions generally expect you to have a fairly decent knowledge of garment construction or time to google.  Or both. These are the complete instructions of the top describes as “Blouse with Draping” lekala 4119

1. Sew side and shoulder seams. Serge and press toward back. 
2. Serge neckline, fold to wrong side and topstitch. 
3. Serge armhole, fold to wrong side and topstitch. 
4. Sew bottom part into ring. Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and sew to hem, stretching a little bit. The seam is at the left side seam. Serge the seam.

This is a great easy to wear top.  Cowls are in, but sleeveless ones narrow down their wearability. With this there’s no sleeves to set in so it’s a really quick make – if you know what you’re doing! 

I like a clean finish on all my clothes – makes them last longer, they look more professional and less home made. I thought I’d share how I finish my tops and dresses with a cowl neck.  

Bear with me.  I’m not a teacher, and I’ve never had sewing lessons.  This is just how I’ve found best to do it. 

We are going to use a single folded piece of our jersey.  It needs a little bit of stretch.  If your fabric has stripes or a pattern try and use them – it make it easier when sewing if you’re following a pattern. 

The length should be slightly longer than what is required. Fold it in half and press.    This top called for a 1cm seam allowance, so your band wants to be slightly more than this -after folding. 

I thought the width of the piece below was too wide so I chopped off one stripe. (really technical!). #lekala4119 1 Once you’re happy, pin in place, pulling very slightly so the strip of jersey binding is slightly smaller than the neck line. #lekala4119 2 Stitch binding to back neck line using a 1 cm seam allowance – I used the stripes as a guide – you can just make it out as I had a slight wobble midway. #lekala4119 3 Turn it over and make sure it looks even.   Trim off excess binding. #lekala4119 4 Now you need to finish off your seam allowance.  I overlock/serge mine, but you could trim it slightly and zig zag the edges.  To serge or zig sag turn the fabric back to how it was when you stitched your binding on. #lekala4119 5 Overlocked/serger……. Give it a good press. #lekala4119 6 Top stitch in place with a normal straight stitch. #lekala4119 7 The inside finished. #lekala4119 8 Next you need to sew the shoulder seams. Below you can see the front and back are about the same size. #lekala4119 9 Close up of neckline where front and back pieces will join. #lekala4119 10 We need the front to over lap the back so shift your fabric so the front overhangs the back by 1.5cm. #lekala4119 11 Bend it over and pin. #lekala4119 12 Stitch – I use a straight stitch for all neck and shoulder seams on a cowl top as there’s no negative ease. #lekala4119 13 Turn it the right way to check it’s ok. Inside view: #lekala4119 14 Outside view: #lekala4119 15 Turn the top back to inside out and finish your shoulder seam.  I haven’t used any clear elastic to stabilise the seams but you can if you prefer. #lekala4119 16 I like to topstitch to strength the seam and finish it off nicely. #lekala4119 17 On some tops I’ve made which are slinky jersey i’ve not finished off the front neckline at all, and just left, as Jersey doesn’t fray. #lekala4119 18 In this case I used wonda web to hem it – it gives it a sharp finish and no stitching to be seen. #lekala4119 19Ta-dah! #lekala4119 20 and another! #lekala4119 21 And another! #lekala4119 22 I finished the bottom hem the same way but top stitched it with a twin needle (pat on the back – not done this before! well, not successfully!). #lekala4119 28 Hope that’s useful.  Any questions leave a comment or email me! Or if you spot any errors or anything that doesn’t make sense, let me know. #lekala4119 27

This entry was posted in: Tutorials
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I sew and play golf. I blog about my sewing as I don't think you'd want to read about my golf. It's bad enough watching it on telly! Contact me via email - Thimbers.blog@gmail.com


  1. Bekki Hill says

    If anyone is going to tempt me away from my current yarn obsessive behaviour, it’s you Thimberlina! I do love love that Candy Bag strip top.

      • Bekki Hill says

        That’s a grand idea. But the house has a lot that needs sewing for it and the fabric’s just sitting waiting while I ignore it. I really don’t need to find my dressmaking mojo right now.

  2. You may not be a sewing teacher but thats a great tutorial! Love the neat neckline!

  3. Thank you soooo much! Was wondering how you managed that perfectly matching trim round the front neckline! 🌻🌻🌻

    • no fitting issues to deal with! I should image it will be a nice quick sew for you after all the pattern drafting 😀

  4. corrineappleby says

    Lovely clear tutorial with great pictures – thank you! Will be returning to this one!

    • There’s just so easy to wear, aren’t they?! I’m definitely going to make a couple more before I put away me pattern 😀

  5. This is a great little tutorial 🙂 I don’t think I’ll ever make a cowl neck but it’s great for those that will! Those instructions from Lekala are the shortest ever… No.4 confused me! That stork (is it a stork?! Something like that) besides you in the last pic frightened me, I thought it was real and so close to you hahaha!!

    • No it’s a heron….its plastic and is supposed to scare away the real one that comes and steals my dads fish from the pond 🐠

  6. I love this colour on you. I too have found pink a great colour although would never have bought a pink garment from a shop!
    My cowls have a big flap of material in the front so you just don’t see the edge at all but I love how you finished of the back neck edge. Something I’ll definitely do next time.

  7. Pingback: The 2nd Half of MeMadeMay 2017 | T H I M B E R L I N A

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