I was trawling Pinterest the other day looking for inspiration for a new top and I scrolled across this top that I had completely forgotten about.
I absolutely love this top, the huge cowl neck and the gorgeous little ruffles, but, sadly, it is no longer available to purchase, so I set about making my own version using a couple of cheap long sleeved tops that I picked up from Kmart.
The short story is that I took two long sleeved tops, hacked some pieces off of one, stitched them onto another and made a funky new top, complete with a cosy cowl neck and a pocket. For more in depth instructions, see below.
I cut 35cm off the bottom of one top, the choice of how much to cut was two-fold, I measured the length from the neckline of the top to where I thought the cowl would sit if I rolled it over, that gave me about 30cm, the other reason was that it was around the narrowest part of the top, which made it easier to fit to the neckline.
The front of the neckline was the same length as the front of the piece that I cut off, but the back was much shorter, to overcome this I gathered the back half using a long, straight stitch, make sure you fold and mark the centre before you gather so that you can spread the gathers evenly across the neckline.
Pinning the new neck piece to the top was tricky, because it went against the rules of keeping the right or the wrong sides together. So, the new cowl neck goes inside the top, with the right side against the wrong side of the top, confusing, but trust me, I thought about it for at least 5 minutes. I stitched the cowl neck on using a straight stitch, you can get away with this because you don’t need the garment to have any give around such a large neckline, if you were to try this with a t-shirt or higher neckline, you would need to use a zig zag or a stretch stitch, otherwise you would pop the stitching the first time you tried to pull it over your head. For the seam allowance, I used the original neck seam as a guide, making sure that I stitched just to the other side of the overlocked seam allowance, so that it didn’t pop through to the right side of the cowl neck.
And stitched. If you roll the cowl up you can see the original neckline and the seam, but it rolls to where it sat originally and hides the raw edge of the cowl. It can be rolled down over the arms, but it is a bit tighter than the original and tends to roll up when you lift your arms. Quite cute like this, but time to add a little ruffle action.
I used the sleeves from the second top to make the ruffle and pocket, cutting 30cm off the bottom of the sleeves. Cut one sleeve open at the seam to make the pocket, then trim off the bottom 5cm to take off the hem. It will be a little wider at one end than the other, this is fine. The other sleeve gets cut into a continuous strip of fabric, much like if you were making continuous bias tape, cut into the tube at a diagonal, aiming for about a 5cm width, don’t worry if it gets a bit wonky.
Stitch the strip to the top corner of the pocket, make sure it will be on the side that it in the middle, depending on where you want your pocket. Stitch a piece of thin elastic about 3cm from the top of the pocket, stretching as you go so the top of the pocket gets the gathered effect too and then stitch a long (about 4mm) straight stitch down the middle of your strip and start to gather, don’t go too overboard yet though.
Stitch the pocket to the shirt at the bottom using a stretch or narrow zig-zag stitch, I stitched this seam so that I could fold the pocket up onto the t-shirt and hide the raw edge. Fold the pocket up and the edge under a little and stitch the edge against the side seam of the shirt. Then take it to the table and do a little play with the ruffle layout.
I say play with the ruffles, because you need to have a little look at it, as you can see I got a little pulling across the middle and at the top of the pocket and the ruffle line on the bust is not quite right. A little repinning and we are all good.
Keep your stretch or zig-zag stitch and stitch the central seam of the pocket from the bottom up, then carry on stitching up the middle of the ruffle (over the top of the gathering stitch) to the top. Pull out your gathering thread and Voila! You are finished.
As an added bit of fun, I discovered that the cowl can double as a funky little hood, love it!
As always, let me know what you think and send through any of your own makes in the comments.
Enjoy, K x