How to finish a cowl neckline

As promised yesterday, here’s a really cool technique I used to sew the shoulder seams and get a clean finish at the neckline of my MyImage cowl tee (M1152 from the Fall/Winter 2011 issue) all in one go.

It’s a variation of “the burrito method”, and you can use it on any top where you’ve got a facing on one side, and a folded edge on the other. So it doesn’t have to be cowl necks, it’ll also work for surplice or wrap necklines with a self-facing, too!

This comes fairly early in the construction of your garment, but by this point you should have already sewn your facing (in this case, my back neck facing) to the body of the garment (the back here), right sides together. You should also stabilise your shoulder seams, either by using Vilene bias tape like I have, or with strips of knit interfacing or clear elastic – whatever your preferred method is!

In my example, I’ve got a back neck facing which is a separate piece, and a folded (ie: integrated) facing on the front.

Step 1. Pin the shoulder seams together from the shoulder edge to the back facing stitching line, right sides together. Keep the front facing and the back facing out flat (ie: don’t pin them!)

Step 2. Fold the back facing onto the shoulder seam so the wrong side of the back facing is on top of the wrong side of the back piece. Make sure your earlier stitching is just visible before the fold.

Step 3. Now take the front facing and fold it up and over on top of the back facing, so that the right side of the front facing is against the right side of the back facing. Yes, this feels wrong, but trust me!

Step 4. Serge or sew the shoulder seam through all layers. If you’re slightly unsure of how this will turn out, baste it first!

Step 5. Flip all the facings so the right sides are out. (The view above is for the inside of the garment, though!) Et voila! A nice clean finish on your neck edge, and for a few inches up the shoulder seam, too.

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