The Draped Cowl Neckline in Recycled Polyester and ITY Knit Fabrics


Necklines play such an important role in a garment since they’re front and center, yet I find myself sewing the same one over and over when it comes to my knit clothing (I’m talking about you neckband). I can’t remember ever having sewn a draped cowl neckline before, so I think it finally deserves some attention in my wardrobe. This neckline has a put-together look that can be casual, professional, or fancy depending on the fabric, and I was able to find the perfect fabric to suit my look.

This first fabric is a grey and white 1/16 stripe recycled polyester knit that grabbed my attention mainly because it’s made from 95% recycled polyester, and I’m always a sucker for stripes! I’ve never sewn with recycled polyester fabric before (although I have purchased ready to wear garments made from recycled polyester), and I was very curious about this fabric when I saw it on Cali Fabrics’ site. I’ll tell you that it’s much softer than I thought it would be, considering its price, plus it’s a good light-to-mid-weight fabric, has 2-way stretch, is opaque, and has a soft, slightly structured drape. As for recovery, there’s a little (5% spandex), but not enough to hold its shape after a full day of wearing.

Myrtle 1

I decided to use this fabric to make the Myrtle dress from Colette Patterns, since it doesn’t require a fabric with a lot of recovery, and I like the soft structure of this particular cowl neck. This dress turned out to be casual and quite comfortable in this fabric. I didn’t include the pockets because I’m not a fan of pockets in a knit dress (I know, I’m like the only person on earth who feels this way), but I do think they would’ve clung to the skirt in an awkward way, as this fabric tends to cling to itself.

Myrtle 2

I loved sewing with this fabric, because it did just what I needed it to do. I didn’t have any curling at the fabric edges, sliding around, or skipped stitches, plus it presses really well.  My main issue with this dress turned out to be with the pattern and not the fabric, and since I wasn’t in love with it enough to make fit adjustments beyond the initial small bust adjustment, I decided to give the Camilla Dress from 5 Out of 4 Patterns a try with my second fabric.  I mashed both patterns together to create the dress I envisioned, and am so pleased with the way it turned out!

Camilla ITY 1

ITY (interlock twist yarn) knits kick up the look of any garment, giving it a fancier and more professional appearance. Its 4-way stretch and fluid drape make it perfect for this type of neckline, plus it’s soft and wrinkle resistant.  This is the navy and white layered waves ITY print and luckily there is still lots available!

Camilla ITY 2

This specific ITY print grabbed my attention because of its large sweeping lines which I knew would flow so well on a dress. The deep navy waves are beautiful against the off-white background, and it sets a perfect backdrop for a variety of colorful accessories.

Camilla ITY 3

Sewing with ITY can be a bit more challenging, and after sewing up the previous dress, the slipperiness of this fabric really stood out to me. I used lots of ball point pins and clips, and this is a great fabric to use wonder tape and other hem tapes with (always make sure to test these out on a swatch of fabric first and don’t forget your pressing cloth so you won’t damage your fabric).  When top stitching with my coverstitch machine, I needed to switch over from regular polyester thread to wooly nylon stretch thread in my looper to avoid skipped stitches.

Camilla 1

Since I loved how much this dress turned out, I decided to sew up another version using the recycled polyester to compare the drape of the same cowl neckline. You can see the soft structure of this neckline, different from the more fluid drape of the ITY neckline. Since I didn’t have enough for the skirt portion of this dress, I used some leftovers of a rayon french terry I had previously picked up and love. It’s currently sold out in this color but this deep wine poly/rayon french terry is similar and so beautiful!

Camilla 2

Have you done any warm weather wardrobe planning? I’m coming to the realization that I just really love sewing warm weather clothing. Do you have a season you particularly enjoy sewing for?

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