Wednesday, July 11, 2018

More Cowl Neck!

I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowl neck!

When this month's Threads of the Month arrived, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. But I couldn't find a pattern that matched my imagination so I went to my Google drive and I made it out of patterns I already own!

I call this the "Hey Maddy P.". It's a mash of the Halla Madeline (adjusted some) and the Halla Hey Babie. I used sleeves flounces from Made for Mermaids free Mama Paige pattern.

This is a spun poly that came in my monthly mystery subscription from Thread and Grain. I noticed immediately that it had great drape and would make an awesome cowl.  But I also thought it would look great with an accent color.  I went into my stash of solid cotton lycra from Elevated Fashion Fabrics and of course, I had a perfect match.

I thought of the Hey Babie for the accent cami of course.  I have a bit of a Hey Babie obsession.  But who doesn't need a nursing friendly top for all occasions. (Here's some of the others I've made).

The Halla Madeline is nursing friendly without any modifications, but I prefer coverage on the top and bottom like the Hey Babie provides.

Monster Mash

I ended up using three patterns for this dress:

  1. Halla Madeline
  2. Halla Hey Babie
  3. M4M Mama Paige (free!)

I think you could apply what I did to any cowl pattern (such as the 5oo4 Camila - I have this one too and it looks like the alterations I made to the pattern piece would be the same on this one) and attach any half shirt you have.  I think the Versatility tank, cut to crop length with a band would work.

I did a lot of research on cowl necks on the internet and the most important fact I learned is that the distance from the fold across to the shoulder (underneath the facing) is the depth of your cowl.  The Madeline is about 9.5    I measured and determined for the look I'm going for, I needed about 14.5'

Cut off the facing strip from the pattern. (remember this is called the facing, it's the part that folds down in case the underside of the fabric shows, you'll see the print)


So we need to make this distance greater to get the cowl low enough to show the accent underneath.

Draw lines on your pattern piece and slash (Cut but leave attached at the bottom) so that you can hinge (slash and spread method)

Mount onto another piece of paper.  Tape down the fold and prepare to draw a new pattern piece

I pushed the slashes really far apart to get the extra 5" I felt I needed.  This meant that my pattern piece got taller and wider.   Don't forget to draw the facing back on and true up (draw back to its original shape) the armscye.  I made my facing a little taller just in case more of the underside might show in a deeper drape.

As a visual, here's what it looks like with the original piece held up to the new piece.  That corner (that I'll shade in the next pic) is basically what I'm adding to the pattern.

Here's the shaded corner so you can see what I added.

I also re-shaped the armscye to bring it back to it's shape so it will fit with the sleeve. My shoulder is straight instead of angled now, but that's okay.   I also transferred my pleat marks and added a couple more to account for the additional fabric above the arm.

Here's the new pattern piece and the measurement from the fold to shoulder under the facing is 14.5".  Exactly what I wanted.

 Other Adjustments

I made the Madeline before, so I know how it fits my shape.  Therefore, my pattern piece that I started from already had an inch added above the waist for my height and already had the skirt A lined out a little in the hips and down because I wanted a little flare.  (Shaded area - I held the pattern piece for the slim cut of the Drama Dress up and traced since I like how that skirt falls on me)


I cut my sleeves a little above the short sleeve length cut line and trimmed them a bit to make them a little tighter above the flare.

I printed the flounce from the Mama Paige pattern in my normal M4M size and it fit perfectly.
If you don't want to grab this pattern (why wouldn't you? it's free!) you can draw a flounce. I saw lots of tutorials on the internet of drawing a circle within a circle.

Hey Babie mods

I used my normal Hey Babie nursing cami (front only) pattern piece.  I didn't adjust the armscye to match the Madeline.  You could.  I just got lazy and chopped it off with my serger while I was attaching.  But you could save yourself about two inches of fabric by planning ahead :-)

I always use the E/F cup line because I like the extra length.


I love how slim the Madeline is!  One of the few dresses where I can get both halves within the same width. (Size 20).

Here's all my pieces.


Bands -

The Hey Babie has a neckband and a chest band.  Serge and top stitch.
The Madeline has a back neckband to be serged and top stitched too.

Then the pleating.

There's a great how-to in the front of the Madeline tutorial.

If you're using pins, be really careful not to serge over one! We're a pin free household for feline safety.  Clips for the win!

I pinch the pleats, then turn all the pleats to face up and fold the facing piece down.

Now - this is different.

Attaching the shoulders - don't forget to add the Hey Babie cami piece right side facing wrong side of the bodice front and line up the armscyes.

You may need to redo your pleats to make sure the size of the front shoulder matches the size of the back shoulder before attaching.

(with facing up)

Then fold the facing down.

and serge to attach all three pieces at the shoulders.

Since a serger tail will be in your neckband, and I am not good at tucking serger tails, I like to cut it off and dab some glue to keep the threads locked in.


At this point I attach the flounce to the bottom of the short sleeve.  I also like to top stitch where the sleeve and flounce meet because I like the look.

Then attach the sleeves as you normally would. Just be sure to catch the Hey Babie in with the front.  The Hey Babie armscye is longer than the Madeline, so just stop when you get to the end of the Madeline and then you'll trim the excess when you do sideseams.

When you do the side seams, catch the Hey Babie cami and chest band in the seam to hold it down.  Make sure you have it level.

Then hems and you're done!!!

(Wondertape will really help with hemming the flounce!)


I intended to have a really long cowl, but it actually was long enough I could knot it in the front and I love that look too!

To show you how much lower the cowl is, here's my original Madeline (with 1" for height and A line skirt, but no cowl adjustments).


So easy to use!  Cowl down, Cami up

I love this dress.  It's so comfortable, functional and the sleeves really bring it up a notch!

I couldn't do it without my trusty Brother machines.  I have the 1034d Serger and the 2340CV coverstitch.

In this post you also saw me using:
Cutting Mat with rotary cutter
quilting ruler (square)
quilting ruler (the longer one)
Westcott Scissors

Feel free to reach out if any of my instructions didn't make sense. I usually stay up too late sewing and my brain isn't fully functioning by the time I write down what I did.   Facebook Messenger or email work for me!

Pattern Stats - 
Maternity possible:  Yes! When I slashed and spread I added some width to the bodice.

Nursing possible: Yes!  The Madeline alone is pull down friendly but with this hack of lowering the cowl and adding the Hey Babie cami, it's accessible.

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1 comment:

  1. Fabulous, darling! You look amazing and your dress is so perfect!