Squares and Pleats- By Margaret Scott

I love a cowl neck blouse.  They look great on everyone and I feel like they are so versatile.  When I saw this material at l’oiseau, I thought I’d give one a try.  The material arrived and it’s even lovelier in person than on the site.  The colours are gorgeous and it makes me think of spring.  It’s also very pink, so I must have been feeling quite girly when I ordered it.  I’m figuring on wearing this tucked into a skirt, under suit jackets, loose over summer capris – you name it. 

It turns out, cowl neck blouse patterns are hard to come by!  Or at least the areas I looked.  I found lots of patterns for knits (that’s going to be a project for sure and I already have my eye on some other l’oiseau fabric for that) and lots of hacks for turning regular shirt patterns into cowl neck patterns, but none that made me feel confident.  Then I came across this pattern and I thought “that’s the one”.  It’s not a cowl exactly, but I think it will look great.  I read the instructions, downloaded the pattern and I’m on my way! 

But wait, now I have to cut the fabric, which is always the scariest part – did I line it up correctly? Did I forget a pattern piece?  Do I have a big fold somewhere?  It’s also the most exciting part and there’s something about the anticipation that I love every time. 

This material was a dream to work with.  I expected it to be tricky, since it’s quite slippery.  But it’s actually heavy enough to hold together well.  It also holds a pressed seam well once ironed.  This was very helpful while in the pinning stage shown below.  The pattern is busy enough to be interesting with the neck pleats but not so patterned it’s confusing.

One of my goals for this project was to slow down and practice patience.  I tend to rush a project because I want it finished, and then I’m not delighted with the results.  This time I was more careful with my serged seams and took the time to do practice seams to ensure I had the right machine tension.  I also tried to only sew when I was properly in the mood and not trying to fit it in among the rest of my life.  Sewing is a pleasure and should remain so (sew!). 

Ready to wear!  The neckline is lower than I’m really comfortable with, but some large jewellery or a cardigan or suit jacket will do the trick to balance it out.  And the weight of the fabric works very well – it’s light enough to be flowy, and heavy enough to hold its shape.