Hello! I’m Anisha from Sassy Creations. When the curvy fit Hemlock Hoodie was in testing, I asked Kristy if she could please please include a cowl option because I had a hack in mind for it. She very kindly obliged, and it’s been a while in the making, but I finally have that Baller Collar hack ready to share! I’ve been meaning to sew up another one, but just haven’t gotten around to it…I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way haha! And I did get a bunch of straight fit ones sewn up in the meantime. 😄
So anyway, with no further ado, let’s get started!
Technically, you could apply this technique to any cowl, but I of course used the Hemlock Hoodie for mine! This is from the curvy fit in size 10.
Okay, first off, take your cowl pattern piece, cut at the lined cowl line. I made the top a bit narrower so that it stands up a bit more. If you’d like to do this too, measure 3/8″ in from the top centre back edge and draw a straight line down to the bottom corner. Then draw in 3 more lines along the cowl, keeping them perpendicular to the bottom edge.
Cut off that strip along the centre back edge and cut along the other lines from the top down to within about a 1/4″ of the bottom edge. Now mark 3/8″ to the right of each one of those cuts along the top edge. Overlap the left side of the cut piece to line up with the mark and tape in place. Repeat with the others and trim the top to a smooth curved edge again.
Measure down 1.5″ along the top edge and cut along that line. This is where your zipper will go.
Now, depending on your zipper, you may need to do a little math to determine if you need to add or remove any seam allowance so that the cowl piece remains the same height after sewing. My zipper is 1″ wide, which means that if I sew it on with a 1/4″ seam allowance on both sides, I will be left with a 1/2″ wide piece. Taking a 1/4″ seam allowance out of my cut edges will leave me with a 1/2″ gap, which means I don’t need to add or remove any seam allowance. Yay! 😁 If your zipper tape is wider, you can use the same technique to determine if you need to change anything else on your pieces.
To figure out how long your zipper needs to be, we’ll do a little bit more math. Measure the length of the split minus the 3/8″ seam allowance at the back. Mine is 17.25 inches. You can make your zipper go the whole length, but I will add “zip ends” on each side so that I don’t have to sew across the zipper when I attach the cowl to my hoodie later; it will be thick enough without having to sew over zipper teeth as well. I want to have 1.5″ of zip end between my zipper and neck seam, which means with our 3/8″ seam allowance added to each side (+ 0.75″), that piece will measure 2.25″ long by the width of my zipper (you may want to make it 1/2″ – 1″ longer to account for the angle. You can trim it off later). So my zipper length will be (17.25 – 2.25) + 0.75 (seam allowances) = 15.75 x 2 (since this is only half of my cowl) = 31.5″ long. Don’t forget to cut 4 of the zip end pieces (despite what it says on my pattern piece in the pic here 😄).
Now we can get out our fabric! First, let’s cut out the pouch pieces. I cut these on the fold, so I folded back my 3/8″ seam allowance at the centre back. For the side that will be sewn to the bottom of the zipper, I will cut right along the top curve of the bottom part of my cowl piece and mark a little ways in from the point along the bottom curve.
Then I measured 3″ down from that top curve to get the depth of my pouch piece and cut along that and along the bottom curve to meet it.
For the other side, I will add a 1/2″ to make up for the fact that it’s sewn to the other side of the zipper which is a 1/2″ further up. Then of course measuring down 3.5″ from that top curve to get my pocket bottom line.
Now the rest of the cowl can be cut out. The outside in two pieces and the lining side as one. Here are my pieces (missing the zip ends here lol):
Now we can sew!
First off, make sure you have your zipper pulls on the zipper! Then sew the zip ends to the zipper by sandwiching the zipper between the two ends, right sides facing. Turn right side out and topstitch.
Sew the centre back seams of the cowl outer pieces and the lining. I did it with a simple straight stitch on my sewing machine since this seam won’t need any stretch and that way I can open my seam allowances to avoid bulk when I sew the rest together.
Open up the bottom of the outer cowl pieces. If you’re using the same fabric for the outer and the lining, double check that you do have the shorter piece. 😄 Find the centre of your zipper and place it right sides facing along the top edge, lining up the centre of the zipper with the centre back seam. Since my outer piece here is super fluffy and squirmy, I used wonder tape on that side. My pouch piece is custom cotton lycra so I just pinned that a bunch. Make sure you’ve got the shorter pouch piece here and pin it face down to the back of the zipper. You should now have a zipper sandwich. Sew, using a zipper foot or a walking foot with a hump jumper so that it feeds through better. Then flip it right sides out and press if your fabric allows. You can also topstitch if you like. I left mine as is. 😊 Because the cowl is on a curve and the zipper is straight, it may be a bit wavy, but that’s fine. It will curve around nicely and add help a little more volume to the finished cowl.
Next, take the top piece and place it right sides together on the zipper, lining up the centre back seams again. I used wonder tape here to keep it nicely in place. Flip it over and pin the the other, taller pouch piece to the back of the zipper, face down, creating a zipper sandwich again. Sew as before. Flip only the outer cowl piece up (not the pocket piece!) and press/topstitch again if desired.
Pin and sew the bottom curve of your pouch pieces together. I used a 1/4″ seam allowance here to get maximum pocket depth. You could use your serger for this step, but I used a straight stitch with Seraflex thread so that it’s still stretchy and less bulky. If you use your sewing machine for this step, make sure to use a stretch stitch if you don’t have Seraflex thread. Note: depending on how accurately you kept to your 1/4″ seam allowance while sewing the zipper, your pocket bottoms may or may not line up perfectly. Mine didn’t here, but I just sewed them as is without trimming them to match. 😁
Then you’ll take your cowl lining piece and sew it to your finished zippered cowl outer piece along the top curve, right sides together.
Flip the cowl right sides out and line up the notches along the bottom. You will probably have some unevenness along the part where you sewed the zipper in. If you added a bit of length to your zip ends, you can just trim them off now. I didn’t, so I’m just going to trim the whole bottom a little so that I have smooth even edges.
Line up the centre front notches and the front shoulder seam notches with the cowl ends and clip in place. This may be tricky as there’s a lot of fabric here. I highly recommend basting it all together before attaching it to your bodice! Note that in the centre photo I have it crossed over the other way. You can do it whichever way you like, I just switched it before I sewed it together so that it’s in the same direction as in the pattern listing. 😊
Sew up the rest of your hoodie as per the instructions and attach your cowl as you would a normal cowl. You may want to baste again, or just go ahead and sew it; Depending on your fabric and the height of your serger knife, you may want to baste first and trim the 1/8″ off by hand before serging the front. Mine was just borderline too thick for the knife to cut a clean edge with this fluffy sweatshirt fabric. 😄 The one I did with CL worked fine.
I also can’t wait to see your versions of the Baller Collar hack! Please do share in the Buttons & Bibs facebook group with #BallerCollarHack if you feel so inclined! 💜
‘Til next time!