This is the perfect time of year to make yourself a Cowl Collar Surplice Front Tee! In cold weather I like to have my neck covered. The cowl collar surrounds my neck in cozy warmth without feeling constricted, as it does when wearing a turtleneck. I have recently made two more for my winter wardrobe, so this seemed a good time to show you how easy it is to put the cowl collar onto a Surplice Front Tee. This style is especially great for sweater knits and other textured knits. Take a look at these great samples.
The pattern and directions for the Cowl collar are included with the Clever Crossing Variations for Tabula Rasa Knits. This collar is one of the 3 ways to finish a surplice front tee, so if you’ve already made a surplice tee, you’ve got all of the pattern work done. If you haven’t made a surplice tee yet, now is a great time to get started. The first step is to cut out the surplice front and cowl collar patterns in your size, choosing AB or CD as appropriate. Make the same adjustments to the surplice front that you made to your original Tabula Rasa Knit Tee & Tunic front.
When laying your pattern out on the fabric, remember you will need to cut two surplice fronts. Sew the fronts and back together at the shoulder seams and finish those seam allowances as usual. Cut out one Cowl Collar on the fold. (There are also directions for cutting the collar in two pieces as an option, but we’re going to stick with the basics here.) Follow this step-by-step to attach the collar to the continuous front and back neckline as illustrated on page 8 of the CCV instructions.
- Fold the cowl collar in half the long way, right sides together, and press or steam lightly. Mark the center of the cowl collar and center back with pins.
- Pin both raw edges of the folded collar to the body of the tee, pinning at the center backs and side seams first, then fitting the collar to the full length of neckline.
- Baste at the 5/8” seamline and check your work. Make adjustments if needed and then sew with your standard knit stitch.
- Finish the seam allowances together by your preferred method. Press collar away from the body and seam allowances toward the body.
- Topstitch the neckline 1/8” away from the seam, anchoring the seam allowance.
- At each side seam, fold the collar toward the hem so it covers the neckline seam and shapes the collar. Baste fold into place along the side seam.
That’s it! Now you are ready to proceed with construction of the Surplice Front as directed on page 10 of Clever Crossing Variations. This will include adding pleats and layering the left and right fronts before inserting the side/sleeve unit as usual. One little tip – I’ve found it helpful to use my walking foot to sew the side seams together because of the bulk of the pleats and folded collar, especially in heavier knit fabrics like these.
Here is one more cozy cowl collar surplice tee I made from a bundle of a mohair/wool blend knit that we were selling at our Fall shows. I chose to use the blue for the collar, sides and cuffs and the floral for the front, back and sleeves.
We have just two mohair bundles left, one the same as you see here and the other with a pink and blue floral combined with the same “solid” blue. I think this fabric would also make a lovely draped front tee from the Wide Neckline Variations. Each bundle contains 2 yards (1 1/3 of the floral and 2/3 of the solid) and sells for $80; order the Mohair Bundle here.
Have you already made a surplice front tee with a cowl collar or one of the other finishes? We’d love to see what you’ve created, so send us a photo or post a photo on our Facebook page. Are you are looking for an opportunity to get started with the Tabula Rasa Knit Tee & Tunic? We will be teaching a two-day Tabula Rasa Knits workshop in early December at Danner’s Bernina Shoppe in Hanover, PA. We’d love to have you join us, so contact the shop to register for this class.
Happy Sewing, Carrie