Hi Minerva makers,

This month’s project is a style that I’ve been wanting to make for so many years and when I received this beautiful Lady McElroy crepe jersey I knew it would be perfect for what I had in mind. What I wanted was a cowl neck dress, I had in the past a ready to wear top that had a cowlneck and I really liked that design feature on me so over the years it was something I always had in mind to make. As this fabric is very drape, just like this design requires, when I received the fabric my first thought was to finally make this dress. I remembered I had seen a similar pattern on a Burda Magazine and after browsing through my magazines I found pattern 106 from issue 5/2014, it is a tight fitting dress, with raglan sleeves and draped cowl neck. A very easy design that does not require a lot of fabric, the pattern comes in sizes 36 – 44 and I traced my usual size 44.

What I wanted though was not a figure hugging dress but more of a fit and flare so I made some changes. The top part of the pattern was perfect for what I had in mind so I traced only that pattern up to the waist line, Burda always marks the waistline on both front and back pieces so that was very easy to do.

To get the flared look on the skirt I could have used the slash and spread method on the existing pattern or even use a different skirt pattern from Burda, instead I choose something easier, I measured the waist circumference of the top that I had already traced and I used that measurement on the By Hand London app to make a ¼ skirt. I only used the waist radius that the app gave me and made the skirt as long as the fabric I had left allowed me to make, which was 65cm long. I drafted the pattern directly on the fabric with a chalk which made everything quick and easy.

The construction of the dress was quite easy, (i realize I've used the word easy a ton on this post) just a simple raglan construction, off course I managed to make mistakes even in such a simple dress. I neglected to add interfacing on the back neckline and the sleeve and also did not use a walking foot which was a big mistake since the fabric is a jersey so the neckline opened a lot, I had to add some gathers around the neck to fix the mess, thankfully because the dress has gathers in the raglan seam as well the it did not look bad after all.

Attaching the skirt was easy also, just one back seam there and then I sewed it together with the top at the waistline adding some elastic to help it stay in place and keep the weight of the fabric. I left the skirt to hang for a day before hemming it and that was it.

I really love this style on me and I’m glad that I finally have a garment with a cowl neck!

Take care,