A few weeks ago Rae wrote about sewing jackets and vests with the Funnel Neck pattern from Rain or Shine Variations, one of our favorite styles. I hope you saw her beautiful finished blue jacket on Fit for Art’s Instagram or Facebook! A few months ago I experimented with creating a funnel neck knit top. Since the last several days have been cold enough to savor a few more chances to wear my new Funnel Neck Sweater Tee, Ithis seemed a good time to share it with you. This knit tee was an easy make with my established Tabula Rasa Knit Tee & Tunic pattern, so give it a try yourself now with these tips, or tuck the idea away for fall weather sewing.
Developing the Pattern
I started with my trusty Tabula Rasa Knit Tee pattern, adjusted to fit me, and the Boat Neck variation from Wide Neckline Variations. The boat neck templates seemed a logical choice to build on as their wide shallow neckline could accommodate the funnel neck. I also looked to my Funnel Neck templates from Rain or Shine Variations for the Tabula Rasa Jacket for guidance. I knew that I wanted this knit funnel neck to reach a bit higher on my neck for cozy warmth and that it would need to have a wider opening to pull it over the head, but the rest was guess work. In the photos below, see the comparison of the two variation templates I was working from and the back pattern I crafted for this Funnel Neck Tee. After establishinhg the shape of the back neck, I moved on to adapt the front boat neck template, matching it to the back funnel neck at the shoulder and neckline seams.
I also decided to feature a softer, looser sleeve gathered at the wrist with elastic. Widening the sleeve is an easy pattern adjustment that’s come up in many blog posts. Here you can see the difference between the basic knit tee & tunic sleeve and the sleeve pattern I used for this top. The wrist was finished simply by turning under 3/4″ to form a casing, stitiching it down, and running elastic through the casing.
Constructing the Sweater Knit Top
I love this sweater knit fabric, purchased a few years ago at Textile Fabrics in Nashville. Unfortunately I discovered that I hadn’t bought quite enough fabric to match the stripes in all four side seams. Naturally I opted to make the stripes line up in the front, if not also in the back.
Like all Tabula Rasa Knits, the square armhole construction made this top quick and easy to put together! The front and back necklines were sewn together as an extension of the shoulder seam, and everything else followed our basic instructions.
Finishing the Funnel Neck
After the top was together, a test fit established that I wanted to keep as much of the funnel’s height as possible. (Reminder to self, add an inch to the top of the pattern for next time!) It was time to make samples with my scraps to help me decide how to finish the top edge of the neckline. I tried turning the raw edge under, with and without serging, and securing it down with a variety of stitches, but none were satisfying; the looseness of this weave was vexing.
As I was also concerned that the knit might irritate so close to my neck, it occurred to me to try finishing the funnel neck with a lining. I placed my funnel neck patterns on a folded scrap of rayon jersey knit to cut a front and back, and then sewed them together at the neck seam. The resulting tube was sewn to the top of the neckline with a stretchy zigzag and then turned inside the sweater funnel neck. Voila! To keep the lining from crawling up and out of the top while wearing it, I handstitched the lining to the sweater along the two sides seams of the funnel neck. These stitches are invisible in the loose sweater knit and it works perfectly.
I look forward to making a few more of these knit tops before our next cold season, but now its time to turn to sewing for the coming warm weather. We hope your spring sewing will be inspired by Fit for Art’s article “4 Updates for a TNT Top” in the most recent issue of Threads magazine (Spring 2023, Number 221). What are you planning for spring sewing?
Happy Sewing! Carrie