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Raising the neckline on vogue cowl neck dress
Deepika
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Date: 4/4/12 10:51 AM

Does anyone have any ideas on how to reduce the depth of the cowl neck of the popular vogue dress? This is just for modesty sake. I want to make a spring version for everyday wear and I prefer a little more coverage.

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marjoriekh
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In reply to Deepika <<
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Date: 4/4/12 12:44 PM

Hi Deepika -- my Vogue 1250 never got beyond the muslin stage, in part because the cowl was way too deep for my taste. Now your question has prompted me to work out how I was planning to alter it. (I am no expert, so please everyone jump in and comment on whether you think this will work.)

To make the cowl less deep, you need to shorten the neck/facing fold line (you need less distance between the neck end of the shoulder seam and CF). This is easy in a drape neck top or a dress bodice with a waist seam, but here the whole dress front is cut on the fold, so you can't change the angle of the CF fold line above the waist.

First, you should put on the dress you've already made, and decide how much length you want to take out of the cowl by pinching it where you want it to fall. The distance from your pinch to the CF of the cowl will be how much you take out of your pattern piece. Also, make note of the point where the dress begins to become more fitted in the lower bodice -- you will want to make your adjustments above this point, since you will be losing some ease.

Here's how I propose to make the alteration. (*** ETA: Below I post again with what I think is an easier method to achieve the same alteration.) Note that I am working with a section of the dress front pattern piece from which I have removed the seam allowances and the neck facing:
Vogue 1250 front bodice pattern before alteration. (I am using a freehand sketch here, not to scale.)

Mark the line above which you will make your alterations (green dotted line). Draw 3 lines (in pink) parallel to the CF fold, from the neck facing foldline (solid green line) down to the dotted green line. You will distribute your adjustment among these 3 lines, reducing 1/3 of your total adjustment at each line. (You can probably do it all at just one line, but I prefer to distribute it this way.)

Next, cut along the green dotted line, to separate the area to be adjusted from the rest of the dress front. (You can also cut just almost to the side seamline, leaving a tiny hinge of paper there.) Then, cut along the pink lines almost to the green dotted line, leaving tiny hinges there. Close up each of these slashes at the neckline by 1/3 of your total adjustment.

Reattach the adjusted bodice to the rest of the dress front pattern, matching at the side seamline on the green dotted line, and overlapping at the CF until the CF fold lines match up and make a straight line. (This shortens CF a little bit.) The adjusted pattern looks like this:
Vogue 1250 front bodice pattern after alteration

The last step is to true the neck foldline, drawing a straight line across from the end of the shoulder seam to the CF. ***ETA: The neckline and the CF fold must end up at right angles, so it will be necessary to extend the CF line up a bit and draw the line to that point; see the Fashion Incubator blog post Elona links to below. Then, using your original neck facing as a model, redraft the facing to match the adjusted pattern and add it back at the neck foldline. You'll have to pinch out the tuck on the dress shoulder line to accurately draft a matching facing. (Also add your seam allowances back at this time.)

So -- what do people think? Will this do the trick?
-- Edited on 4/4/12 4:28 PM --
-- Edited on 4/4/12 4:57 PM --

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Laurie Lou
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Date: 4/4/12 1:08 PM

This is not to reduce but a different concept. I made this dress with a diagonal print and by mistake the center fell over to the side and made an interesting right angle to the print. I decided to pin it up that way with a broach and it gave the dress a totally different look. . If you get what I am saying, you just manipulate the drape so it comes across the neck to one side. The drape creates it's own natural dart and looks like it was designed that way.

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Laurie Lou

marjoriekh
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Date: 4/4/12 1:57 PM

OK, it occurred to me that there may be an easier way to accomplish the same thing:

Easier way - pattern before alteration

Again beginning with a pattern from which the neck facing and seam allowances have been removed: 1. Mark the point to which you want to shorten the cowl along the neck facing line. 2. Draw a line perpendicular to center front above which you are willing to lose some ease. 3. Draw a line from the marked point on the neckline to the intersection of the CF fold and the perpendicular line (green line).

Easier way - pattern after alteration

Cut along the perpendicular line from CF to side seamline, leaving a tiny hinge at the side seamline. Rotate the upper bodice until the green line lines up with the original CF fold line below, forming a straight CF fold. Cut away excess to right. Done (except for adding back facing and seam allowances).

(ETA: I missed an important detail: The neckline and the CF fold must end up at right angles, so that the neck/facing fold will go straight across the entire neckline. It's necessary to extend the CF line up a bit and draw the neckline perpendicular to it.
Like this (additions in pink).
Thanks, Elona, for posting that link to Kathleen Fasanella's blog below.)

This would seem to simplify altering the neck facing as well.

What do you think? Does this accomplish the same thing?
-- Edited on 4/4/12 4:52 PM --
-- Edited on 4/4/12 4:53 PM --

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marjoriekh

Deepika
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In reply to marjoriekh <<


Date: 4/4/12 2:03 PM

OMG Marjoriek. You completely translated my thoughts into pattern alteration. That's what I've been wondering. There is extra fabric in the neckline area, how to get rid of it! This is perfect. I might have to try this on a smaller scale and see if that works.

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Deepika
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In reply to Laurie Lou <<


Date: 4/4/12 2:05 PM

Laurie, I see what you're saying. There is a pattern similar to what you are suggesting on Stylearc. I think they call it creative cate top. Basically a cowl neck pinned to one side. I will have to try that. Now all I need is an interesting broach.

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- Deepika
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Laurie Lou
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Date: 4/4/12 2:44 PM

Interesting. I'll have to check Stylearc out. It is always nice when you make a garment you can ear it more than one way too.

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Laurie Lou

marjoriekh
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In reply to Laurie Lou <<


Date: 4/4/12 3:42 PM

In the upcoming issue of Burda Style there's a top that seems to have something similar (a cowl pinned to the side):
May Burda top line drawing
So maybe it's a trend.

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marjoriekh

Elona
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In reply to Deepika <<


Date: 4/4/12 4:16 PM

Here's Kathleen Fasanella's discussion of the problem.

marjoriekh
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 4/4/12 4:22 PM

Elona -- Kathleen Fasanella's method is the one I've used before on drape-neck tops/bodices with waist seams.

Looking it over again, I realize that the neckline and the CF fold line need to be at right angles, in order for the neck/facing fold line to be straight all the way across.

So, in either alteration that I posted above, that needs to be fixed.

(ETA: I added something to both of my posts above that addresses this omission.)
-- Edited on 4/4/12 4:59 PM --

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marjoriekh

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