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Pattern Fundamentals - Cowl Twist Jersey

Monday, June 22, 2015
About two years ago, in a Draped Dress Patterns workshop, this jersey style came into being.  A combination of Cowl and Twist Drape, it proved to be a fabulous idea for students dealing with their first ever drape pattern.  Using my knit block for these early drape patterns is always a plus.  There is never any question about... ' what to do with the darts!'.  If you'd like to learn my method for creating Twist Drape Patterns I have a detailed worksheet for making Jersey Twist Patterns.  For just a few dollars you'll get the same training you'd get if you came to the workshop in my studio.
Cowl Twist Jersey
This draped design will only really work if the dress is well-fitted around the body to hold the twist in shape in the back.  Twists and drape often rely on the tension of a close fit to be successful.   Think carefully about where you decide to place the back twist.  A fan mentioned on Facebook that they were concerned the twist may be uncomfortable when sitting and leaning back.  This is possible, so you may want to consider where you place the feature at the centre back.  My suggestion is to also be careful about the fabric you use for this style.  I think if you use a light two-way stretch merino, polyester or cotton jersey and don't add too much fabric in the twist drape, the knot will not be uncomfortable.  What the twist feature does is attract attention to the part of the body that is universally attractive - the derrière. :)

Trace out the front and back of your knit block and include the sleeve:  
  1. Extend the block to your desired dress length.  My diagram is for a dress length just past the knee.
  2. Add a small amount of flare (4-5cm), to the front and back side side seam and the centre back seam, at the hemline. 
  3. Take this opportunity to shape the centre back seam by reducing 1-1.5cm at the waist and shaping back toward the hipline and shoulder blade area.
  4. Mark in the cut sections on the front bodice to make drape for the front cowl neckline.
  5. Move the back shoulder line forward to help with the making of the wide boat neckline.
  6. Mark in the shoulder length half-way along the shoulder line on the front and the back.
  7. On the centre back seam, at the waist level, mark in 2-3 cut lines to introduce the extra fabric for the twist drape.
  8. On your sleeve block mark in a three-quarter sleeve length.
Women's knit block
To develop the drape in the front and back dress:
  1. Cut open the sections on the front bodice and swing them open for the Cowl Drape.  
  2. Square (90 degrees) back from the centre front to the shoulder line for the top edge of the cowl.  Mark in a 5cm turn-back facing for the front neckline.
  3. Cut open the sections on the back dress, at or below the waist, to introduce extra fabric for the Twist Drape.
  4. Add 1cm to this drape area to compensate for the loss in fabric length in the twist.  Connect back to the dress with small curves for ease in sewing.
Cowl Twist Jersey
Trace out full patterns for the front and back dress.  Join the back pattern at the twist area.  If both sides of the back are facing in the same direction it will make a double twist.  Trace your three-quarter sleeve pattern.  Seam allowances of 7mm/1/4" and hem allowances of 2cm/3/4" will best suit the specialist seams and finishes needed for stretch sewing.

Hope you all enjoy the post.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I'm always happy to help.  :)

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Vancouver Barbara commented on 28-Jun-2015 01:14 AM
Nice design. My concern is with the knot making the dress uncomfortable when sitting down but if the dress were made with the cowl in the back and the twist in the front there would be no discomfort when sitting down.
Anonymous commented on 28-Jun-2015 01:58 PM
Great to hear from you again Barbara. :) Yes you could move the twist to any area to suit yourself. Some earlier pattern puzzles have a twist at the CF and were very popular.
Harini commented on 02-Jul-2015 03:19 PM
Do u have any dresses with front twisting designs pls? Thanks,Harini
Anonymous commented on 02-Jul-2015 03:50 PM
Hi Harini, thanks for dropping by. There are a few styles in the original blog location: http://studiofaro-wellsuited.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/pattern-puzzle-jersey-twist-dress.html

I would love to see photos of your dress when you make it. :)
adeleye commented on 23-Jan-2016 11:33 PM
Is it possible to make d front both cowl neck and twisted
Anita commented on 24-Jan-2016 01:54 PM
Hi Adeleye, I'm sure you could combine the styles on the front. However I'm not sure how good that would look. There would be a lot happening in just one dress. Very busy to look at. :)
Olamide commented on 24-Apr-2016 09:38 PM
Nice design. I really love it. Is it possible to have the twist and cowl in front
phyllis amaarh commented on 30-Apr-2016 06:31 PM
Great designs.please how do you do the twisting after cutting the fabrics.and also can you add more lines to get more folds?thx
Anita - studiofaro commented on 02-May-2016 12:55 PM
Hello Olamide, thx for dropping by. Yes I imagine you cloud have both the cowl and twist in the front but I think you'd need a different pattern. The CF bodice would need to be on the fold for the cowl, but lower down the skirt must split somehow to form the twist. Like this: http://studiofaro-wellsuited.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/pattern-puzzle-jersey-twist-dress.html Or maybe this: http://studiofaro-wellsuited.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/pattern-puzzle-hip-twist-top.html

Let me know if you have any questions as you go along. I'm always happy to help.
Enjoy :)
Anita - studiofaro commented on 02-May-2016 01:01 PM
Hi Phyllis, thanks for dropping by. Yes you can add more fabric to get more folds. The number of lines is already ok. For the twisting, have a look at this post: http://www.studiofaro.com/well-suited/pattern-insights-jersey-twist-patterns

And this post on FB may help: https://www.facebook.com/464204903600087/photos/a.464218726932038.102202.464204903600087/1146602078693696/?type=3&permPage=1
Let me know if you have any questions. I'm always happy to help.
Elivia commented on 25-Jun-2016 08:36 PM
Hi Anita, thank you for sharing this.. Really helpful for a beginner like me :) do you have YouTube channel showing how you sew it? I still don't understand how to form the twist and sew it :(
Anita - studiofaro commented on 27-Jun-2016 04:11 PM
Hi Ellvia, thanks for dropping by. You'll find some more information here: http://studiofaro-wellsuited.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/jersey-twist-dress-sampled.html Let me know if you have any questions. :)
Anonymous commented on 17-May-2017 12:40 PM
I use commercial patterns and alter them to make original designs for a small number of regular customers and for myself. I'm desperate to learn how to make a contrasting draped neckline! I've made myself a burn-out velvet gown and want to add a chiffon drape to front and low back neckline but can't work out how to do it!! All I can find anywhere on line is instructions like yours for this dress cowl neck. If you could email me, I can send you a photo of the fabric and my (very bad!) sketch of what I want to achieve. I don't know how else to contact you! Thanks very much - love your site!
Anita - StudioFaro commented on 22-May-2017 11:42 AM
Hi Sally, thanks for getting in touch. There are two places you can ask me your pattern making questions. There is the free members area on this website and I have a Facebook group for exactly the same thing. Facebook will currently be the best place to ask your questions because you can post photos. And all the other members will benefit from the exchange. I look forward to seeing your question on Facebook. :)
Anita - StudioFaro commented on 22-May-2017 11:45 AM
Hi Sally, so sorry forgot to add the link for the FB group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/studiofaromakers/

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All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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