Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Easy Tee With A Nancy Cowl

Do you ever buy a pattern because there’s a specific part of it you want and you never bother to notice the other parts?  I do this more than I realized and I’ve discovered it because I’ve made a few things recently that I thought I was going to have to mash patterns together or finagle something and then after asking around, it turns out some of the patterns I have already do this!  This is exactly the case with my Halifax Hoodie/Brunswick mash last month.

I’ve been itching to make a winter dress from some thermal fabric but I wanted a turtleneck/cowl type of neck.  My first outrageous idea was going to use 3 patterns, from 3 completely different designers.  It was going to be an undertaking but I thought it needed to happen.  I was going to use the cowl from Nancy Raglan from 5outof4 patterns (affiliate link) and stick it on a t-shirt neckline from someone else, with a dress length from someone else.

Somewhere along the way, I looked at the Easy Tee (affiliate link) and realized- there’s a dress already drawn out!  I completely forgot about the top, tunic and dress lengths of that pattern because when I made it the first time, I only cared about the t-shirt.  This took 2 patterns I was going to use and made them one.  And I was happy to see that the dress was draw with a wider A line than the other one I was going to use, so that was even better!

The Easy Tee (affiliate link) has a hood, but a hood isn’t where I was going for what I had in mind.  I remember seeing a dress once that had a great turtleneck that was full like a cowl (not skinny right to the neck) but didn’t dip down like a cowl. Do you think I can find anything like that now, even with the amazingness that is a google search?

Side note.  I made a Halifax Hoodie from Hey June once in a quilted fabric that was amazing until I did the cowl and it was such a thick fabric, it was like a giant neck brace.  I couldn’t make it dip, there was no folding or fluffing, it was just inches of a cone standing up around my neck.  I thought  it would be so pretty and holiday like with the off white and gold.  I don’t even want to talk about what I did to try to cut it down a little and wrestle it into submission.  It has moved along to an unsuspecting person through the donation box.

Back to the matter at hand.  I was slightly afraid that this thermal fabric might end up recreating the cone of despair just mentioned.  I have a Jalie pattern with a turtleneck that I didn’t even look at because I know is a close fitting neck.  The Nancy cowl (affiliate link) seemed a little floppy for the fabric but time was marching on and I didn’t want to keep looking for a neck I might have just made up in my head.  I figured it all else failed, I’d have yet another cowl in my lineup.  I like them, they are fine, I just don’t want to be that weirdo who only has one style all winter.

One thing I like about knits is how easy it is to mold them into what you want.  I knew if the Nancy (affiliate link) didn’t quite fit the top of the Easy Tee neckline, I could wiggle them enough to get them to line up.  I could have measured the neckline and the cowl bottom but alas, I did not.

One of the things I do not like about knits is how stretchy they can be and can easily get out of control.  This waffle/thermal fabric is nice but my serger made it grown by leaps and bounds, even when I adjusted the differential.  I ended up sewing it all on my regular machine with the walking foot, but not before I had managed to stretch the neckline of the tee from crew neck to practically boat neck.  Just handling the fabric was like adding water to a dried sponge.  It just kept growing.  The bottom of the cowl is a lot wider than it should have been due to the super stretched neckline.

I foolishly thought topstitching the cowl was going to do something.  I don’t even know what I thought it would do.  Keep things under control, I guess.  What it ended up doing was stretching and rippling it so much that even once I had removed the topstitching (black thread on black thermal- please sends your words of comfort) and washed it and dried it, the ripples are forever.

The neckline sort of does what I envisioned.  I played with it as I wore it and got it to a state that I like.  It’s not quite as cowl-like as the pattern intends but also a little more cowl-like than my imagination had hoped. If I made another, I think if I brought the top of the cowl piece in a little bit, it would allow it to old a little closer to the neck.  The line drawing has it tipped out a little at the top which is what allows the finished cowl to do that dip.  These are the kinds of things I can only understand by doing it and seeing the result.  I tried to imagine how that shape played out in the finished cowl but only now do I understand.  I have a very hard time envisioning 3D without holding it in my hand.

The dress itself is super easy.  Just a front and back and the sleeves.  The sleeves are not side specific so again, really each because you don’t have to keep track of which one goes where.  I ended up putting cuffs on my sleeves because with the tendency for this fabric to grow, I knew that even hemmed, these sleeves would end up a mile wide by the end of the day.  The cuffs slow that down a little bit.  I also like a longer sleeve because nothing bothers me more than a sleeve that is too short as I reach my hands forward.  I’d rather have a little extra fabric than not enough.

For the hem, I used a hem tape before topstitching.  I usually don’t like a hem tape, but I couldn’t imagine ironing and pinning  a good hem without it being 6 miles long.  That was definitely the best solution because it lays exactly as I wanted it to.

The Easy Tee (affiliate link) has a great cut that’s flattering but not too loose or too tight.  I’ve made a couple of t-shirts with the short sleeve option but this was the first long sleeve or dress that I made.  I would try another turtleneck or cowl neck on this pattern because if I had fabric that behaved better, I think I could achieve the look I originally started out wanting.
This Easy Tee and Nancy mashup were my ambassador make for 5outof4 patterns for this month.  Get your copy of each pattern here (affiliate link)!