Simple Blouse Variation: Cowl Tunic

1:12 AM

I released a PDF sewing pattern for the  Simple Blouse 
and part of the pattern is sharing more tutorials here on the blog to add ideas taking the simple pattern to the next level.

This time we have a winter variation!!

This tutorial is for colder weather, and I've loved it.
It's like wearing pajamas that can pass for a sweater.

The cowl collar is kind of like wearing a scarf and makes it interesting.
I chose to sew the tunic length so you could wear it with leggings and cover your butt.
The one thing I wish I had added were pockets!!
What was I thinking, maybe next time.

This is using stretch poly sweatshirt fleece from
It is a thinner fleece than a regular sweatshirt hoodie, and worked well for the drapey cowl.
I'd recommend a thinner fleece, or regular sweater knit for this variation.
The regular sweatshirt fleece could be too thick for the drape of the cowl.
Unlike the other knit variations, I didn't go down a size, but cut out the size on the pattern chart according to my measurements.
I sewed a large, and have extra long arms, and this required 2.5 yards of fabric.

-used knit rather than a woven fabric
-long sleeves
-tunic length
-wrist and hem bands
-cowl collar


Changes to pattern:  
RAISE NECKLINE: Add 1" on fold to pattern front and curve up to original neckline.
LONG SLEEVES: Use pattern directions to lengthen sleeves.
EXTEND BODICE LENGTH: Using the "cut to lengthen or shorten" lines on pattern, I extended my front and back pieces 3 inches.  If you have a long torso you may want more than 3".
You'll also notice the majority of my tunic length I put into the wide hem band.
You could add more to the front and back and have a shorter band as well.
CUT CUFFS: You can choose how thick you want your cuffs.  I went on the longer side:
Wrist cuffs 3" tall:
Bottom Hem: 5.5" tall 
**You may want to make your tunic using the standard instructions and try it on before you cut your bottom cuff.  I'm 5'10" so that is the reference for this 5.5" bottom strip.
If you're petite, that may be too thick for your cute little frame and may look like you're trying to attach a mini skirt rather than a chunky hem.  
So I'd say let the 5.5" finished be on the tall end of the spectrum.

These are determined by your own preferences and measurements.

You'll sew the band the same way.
CUFFS: With sleeve right side out, pull cuff over the top, lining up cuff seam with sleeve seam.
Sew around with 1/2" seam allowance and stretch cuff to the same size as sleeve as you work your way around.
BAND: Because the band is larger, I mark quarters on the band and tunic.
Pin band to tunic with right sides together and raw edges lined up. 
Center band seam in back.
 Sew with 1/2" seam allowance.
The tunic will be just 1" smaller than tunic so you won't need to stretch it much to attach.

You'll notice as we get drafting the cowl, the center back is a lot longer than the sides or front.
I designed it to have extra fabric so it can fold on itself on your back to balance out all the drape on the front.
Otherwise it could feel like a huge chunky fabric necklace.

1. Create Your Pattern for the Cowl
I used IKEA kids art paper off my kids easel, but any large paper will do, left over wrapping paper, poster board, etc.
My instructions require you to draft only 1/4 of the final cowl pattern piece, and you'll use 2 folds to get a symmetrical final piece.
You can choose your seam allowance, I went with 1/2" so I wouldn't have to trim it but it would give enough for the fleece.
**A tip I got from Melissa at Melly Sews is to use a regular compass (the circle drawing geometry kind). Just measure the setting for desired allowance and trace along finish line of pattern with metal point and compass pencil will give you a consistent seam allowance.

Because our pattern piece is 1/4 and has two folds, I thought it was more accurate to trace the pattern again.
If you don't want to extend the paper, you could just trace one side on your fabric, flip the pattern and trace the other side.
The cowl pattern is lined up on the fabric fold.

Cut out cowl into this weird shape.

Fold cowl in half with curves shaped like a hill lined up.
Sew seam. 

Open the back center seam and fold on itself, taking the hill shaped curve in half, and creating the shape below.
You'll notice your finished cowl is the original pattern upside down and flipped. 

To get an even attachment, pin cowl center back and front along raw edge through both layers.  
Fold those together and pin or mark the sides.
This marks the quarters of the cowl neckline.

Pin quarters of the tunic neckline the same way.

With the tunic inside out, insert the cowl inside, and pin the cowl to the right sides of the tunic:
(center back seam will be pinned to tunic center back, and work your way around)
Sew cowl to tunic with stretch stitch or narrow zigzag (length: 1.5, width 1.5) so it will allow stretch to go over your head.
Finish neckline seam and you're finished!

The cowl is quite tall to allow a generous bunchy drape.

You Might Also Like


  1. I love this variation!! I've linked to your tutorial at Craft Gossip:

  2. i love this version! it's snowing here today and i could totally use a cowl neck top!

  3. I love your pictures. They are awesome. And if I ever got a blog, and had to do pictures, I would hire you!

  4. This one may be my favorite! It looks so sassy on you too.
    I have never liked anything around my neck (like cowl necks, or turtle necks), but this one looks so dang comfy!
    You may have converted me:)

  5. This looks really cozy! And that shade of blue is beautiful on you. =)

  6. Is there any chance you will make available this pattern in larger sizes? or a tutorial on how to adjust the pattern up to bigger sizes. Us plus size gals would love to use this pattern too!


Thank you for stopping by, we love to hear from you!

Popular Posts