Tag Archives: cowl neck top

The Eve Appeal Cocktail Hour – V1415

Ahem . Hello, it’s me again. Like the veritable bus – nothing for absolutely ages then three come at once.  So how did I manage to be the first blogger in the fantastic themed appeal this year for the Eve Appeal charity? I think I felt I should not allow myself a long deadline, plus I wanted to make myself something wintry & that would not be helpful writing about it in the summer.

Last year the blogger tour raised lots of money for The Eve Appeal through pattern sales and awareness of women’s cancers in the sewing community. 

 Last year’s appeal was all around vintage sewing patterns , this year it is ‘The Cocktail Hour’ running from approx. March-November. McCalls have chosen a selection of their favourite Vogue Patterns suited to sipping cocktails. The idea, like last year, is that they are asking sewists all over the country to make one of the patterns, which will raise money (through the sale of each pattern) and awareness for the Eve Appeal charity

There is a festival of patterns – check them out here.

Now arguably I have gone off piste. When you look at the adorable patterns that I could have chosen you may have picked out a classic dress for me, indeed that would have been me in my comfort zone. And there are a few dresses I considered. However, this time I was driven by something different – what about some dressy trousers? Well, the pattern that enabled me to make some dress trews was Vogue V1415 – two cuts of trousers and two tops. It was the cowl necked top that drew my attention – and folks, it can be made out of a knit.

There is just something of the sci-fi about it though … don’t you think?

So my vision was to make a pair of black dressy trousers with the cowl neck top. Maybe play around with it to suit my form if need be.

The online store I immediately thought of for unusual evening fabrics was Croft Mill and it didn’t disappoint. I hunted down some tame gold lame – what does that term conjure up for you? I remember using the term ‘gold lame’ to encompass everything I wouldn’t be seen dead in as I would never have dressed up to go out, let alone in something shiny! But hey ho, times change! I occasionally have the option to dress up & wowser, I have my own gold lame!  I catch myself brewing a bit of Shirley Bassey (on a good day), or failing that, Spandau Ballet ….(please tell me you know what I’m talking about…)

I love the dress trousers – they are also made from Croft Mill fabric –black chino fabric with 3% lycra– I wanted black with a tad stretch (to enable them to fit when my body moves between sizes). The slight sheen on the chino fabric is nice, but to elevate it to posh, I sewed some velvet ribbon along the side seams, like men’s formal trousers (or guardsmen’s trousers if you like).


This involved moving the zip to the back and making sure to sew the side seams first & attaching the ribbon before sewing up the rest of the trousers.  I needed to sew two lengths of ribbon either side of the side seam so that I could include a little side split at the ankle.  Incidentally, I did baste the trousers to make sure the fit was OK before sewing on the ribbon (unpicking the basting to leave just the side seams sewn to make a flat stretch of trouser to attach the ribbon.)

Now, V1415 has cigarette trousers as one of its variants, but since I know the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers always fit me, I compared the two patterns and based my trousers on the tried & tested Ultimates.

Now the gold lame…..what do you think? I was all prepared to customise it as I wasn’t sure if the asymmetric hem or tunic style would suit me so I played around with it once the sleeves and the cowl were installed. I took some pics to show what I was thinking. I also cut the length longer than the pattern so that should I cut it across horizontally, it already hit hip length.


Take One- the slightly longer than the pattern version:

Take Two: With a gathered side

Take Three: As if it was cut horizontally at the hip

In the end I think I made it up much as the pattern designed, but what do you think?  I have not ruled out later changes….

Top tip – with this gold lame you really don’t want to be pinning it in places where the pin holes will show, so to play around with hem lines I used sellotape inside to fix the hem temporarily so that I could get an idea of what I wanted.

This ensemble is a quick make- & bear in mind that the world of cocktail dress sewing is usually a long path, sewing V1415 is a swifter option!   I overlocked much of the top (the lame is a jersey don’t you know). And as it is a loose fit, the hems (sleeves, hem & cowl hem) are sewed with a regular straight stitch on the sewing machine.

Flat felled seam

The pattern has the odd flat felled seam which is a nice touch (eg at the back of the cowl). Altogether a designer feel (& it is a designer pattern from Tom & Linda Platt).

Oops. it seems to have got caught on my a*$3 again

Hey guess what? Vogue McCalls will provide a copy of this pattern as a giveaway for one lucky reader – just register your interest in a comment before midnight GMT Saturday 18th March 2017 & I will pick a random winner.

And as it is cocktail hour there is a special cocktail (which I failed dismally to make- mine is a poor fake hiding behind Star Wars straws.   I may have reached the early sewing deadline, but getting the provisions for the cocktail in time did not get fulfilled in the badger burrow, but the recipe is:

  • 2x sugar cubes
  • 6 x fresh raspberries
  • 2 x lime wedges
  • 2 shots of vodka
  • crushed ice
  • Ginger beer
  • ‘Slim Jim’ glass


Place the sugar at the bottom of the glass then add the raspberries and the squeezed lime wedges.

Mash the ingredients together, crushing them to puree the raspberries, before adding the vodka.  Add the ice to 3/4 full, stir to distribute the fruit & top up with ginger beer.

Garnish with a lime wedge to the side of the glass & a freesh raspberry.  Add two [Star Wars] straws and enjoy!  Chin chin!

So there is a big campaign around this and you can join in- why not host your own cocktail party?

The hashtag is #sipandsew The general hashtag for the McCalls social media accounts is #McCallUKMakers. Their social media accounts are: TwitterInstagram

The Eve Appeal lives on social media hereTwitterFacebook and Instagram – so if you get making one of these patterns be sure to let everyone know !

Want to know who else is taking part in this ace campaign?  I have no idea who is making what….keep tuned for some amazing creations from some of our favourite sewing bloggers:

2. Kate Underdown

The Fold Line

10th March



3. Portia Lawrie


17th March



4. Rachel Walker

The Fold Line9

24th March



5. Wendy Gardiner


31st March



6. Abigail Dyson

The Crafty Pin Up

14th April



7. Lucy Regan

Sew Essential

28th April



8. Fiona Parker

Diary of a Chainstitcher

12th May



9. Nina Chang


26th May



10. Jen Sanders


9th June



11. Charlotte Powell

English Girl at Home

23rd June



12. Elisalex de Castro Peake

By Hand London

7th July



13. Kerry Patterson

Kestrel Makes

21st July



14. Gabby Young


4th August



15. Abigail Norton

Sew Abigail

18th August



16. Karen Ball

Did You Make That?

1st September



17. Rachel Wain

Rach Against The Sewing Machine

15th September



18. Elle Harris

Sew Positivity

29th September



19. Rachel Pinheiro

House of Pinheiro

6th October



20. Amy Thomas

Almond Rock

13th October



21. Jane Marland

Handmade Jane

20th October



22. Jennifer Walker

Ginger Thread Girl

27th October



23. Marie Koupparis

A Stitching Odyssey

3rd November



24. Elena Rosa Brown

Randomly Happy

10th November



25. Laura Clarke

Sew for Victory

17th November



26. Janene Spencer


24th November


Day to Night Drape Tops- compulsive!

OK, confession time.  I am a Maria Denmark super fan.  Apart from enjoying her blog tremendously & having a stackload of admiration for her giving up her day job to live her dream designing & drafting sewing patterns, I absolutely love every single pattern that I have made that she has produced.  I am particularly keen on the knit patterns she has crafted – the style & fit are perfect for me.  They are distributed as pdf downloads, but don’t let that put you off – I’ve seen that she is making it even easier to download & construct all those pieces of printed A4 with her new Audrey dress pattern (yes I have it 🙂  ) Anyway, I have to say also that her instructions are also very well documented with photos to help explain the steps, and are easily achievable makes in my opinion.  Anyway, this post is about the Day to Night Drape Top pattern.

Folks, this is a speedy stylish sewing fix – seriously this pattern is sooooo easy to make, especially the sleeveless version.  Lizzy has made it in the sleeveless variety in highly covetable stripes, & even making it up as a dress (see here) .

Remember I made it here with long sleeves as soon as it came out, & was impressed with it & it has been worn lots.  Plus, you must know by now that I adore cowl necklines!  With summer on the horizon I could at last make it up sleeveless.

Drape Top

I had some fabric recently acquired that cried out to be made up in this pattern.  This is the wondrously fine jersey from Jill’s Itterations Workwear store on Etsy (remember it is still on special offer).  I had me some Silver lurex sparkle on beige (hey disco!!)

Drape Top

So this pattern is constructed from just two pieces: a front & a back.  It is easily made from less than a metre of fabric.  Bargainalicious.  And so stylish too.

Drape TopThe front has an integral facing that folds down to make the cowl.  This is what it looks like from the inside.  I am rapidly falling in love with using clear elastic to finish the neck & sleeve edges.  Just requires two rows of zig zag & so neat.

Drape Top

I could not stop at one, I had to make two 🙂

Jill kindly sent me some black to try & it is so soft & wonderfully fine.  Perfect for a drapey cowl.

Drape Top

Black to bring my By Hand Charlotte skirt into Spring rotation…

Drape TopI think it’s just the way I’m standing that makes it look a bit tight across the chest.  Although to be honest, this is clingy top.

And an added bonus?  This top took me an hour tops to make, once I’d cut it out.  Cutting out must take all of 15 minutes!

Day to Night Drape Top

OK, I promise that I won’t be bombarding you with posts now that my technological problems appear resolved (albeit with having to re-educate my spam filter so please bear with that one – your comment may not appear until I’ve unspammed it, & from then it remembers you ever after …).  But, just this once I’m following yesterday’s post with one today because I just *had* to respond to a challenge set by Maria Denmark on release of her latest pattern, the Day to Night Drape Top.  It’s a slinky cowl necked top, & if you make it sleeveless it really takes minimal fabric for maximum effect.  I have a thing for cowl necklines & when I saw it was on special offer at Craftsy, popped on over & added it to my sewing queue.

But when I saw that Maria had laid down a gauntlet – the  first four reviews of this top would win an awesome Maria Denmark pattern as a prize- it suddenly rose to the top of my list as I can recognise a quick make when I see one (& love Maria Denmark’s pattern range having the Birgitte Tee and Kimono Tee as wardrobe favorites) .  I thought it would be the perfect tonic to unselfish gift making – a fab Maria Denmark top, just for me.  If I wasn’t one of the first four, never mind.  It’s knit – score.  Something for my holiday.  Something that I could also wear to work.  I had some 100% synthetic lycra with wonderful drape that was destined for a cowl neckline.  That’s what is so cool about having a fabric stash.  Moments such as this – want to make a top & go look & find something perfect.  What’s so great about the Day to Night Drape top pattern is that although it is sleeveless, it can be made long sleeved by using the sleeves from the Birgitte tee (ha ha- yes- it’s winter after all!!!)

Do you like the coolest tree ever – it’s fibre optic too!! Makes me SMILE so …

I had enough fabric to make a long sleeved version, much as I adore it sleeveless  & will undoubtedly make a few of those in Spring.   So, a front, a back & sleeves, just three pattern pieces.  Sewing took hardly any time at all, I reckon an hour & a half tops.  It’s a simple make, just have to get your head around how the shoulder seam works with the cowl facing.  The method Maria uses in this pattern for the back neckline & armhole facings if sleeveless uses FOE (fold over elastic) or clear elastic.  I used the latter.

I found the instructions easy to follow, but was not quite sure what to do with the cowl facing when sewing the sleeves – should some of it be attached in this seam as well?  I thought yes.

The pattern, like all of Maria Denmark’s tops fits me well.  I really like the cowl neck & being able to winter-fy it was clever.

The butterfly looks like an elbow patch …

This is definitely going to be useful & I can’t wait to make spring sleeveless versions out of *not much* jersey.  Thanks for another great pattern Maria.  Remember everyone, it’s on for a special introductory price through December.  Buy it at Craftsy or at Maria Denmark & enjoy 🙂