A Cool Cowl Dress

If you’re looking for a cool summer dress, to dress up or down, check out BurdaStyle Aug 2011 #116, aka The Cool Cowl Dress.

Similar to Catherine Daze‘s recent post, this pattern was a bit of a ‘sleeper’ for me…and one I am glad I woke up to! I was inspired by several versions on BurdaAddicts, especially this Halloween Orange version, made as a top:


If you are a fan of BurdaStyle Magazine, check out the BurdaAddicts site. Various pattern renditions are posted by magazine issue as well as by garment type. I particularly enjoy scrolling through by issue. It’s a French site, but not that hard to comprehend if you are not a French speaker (I am not). I use Google Translate when in doubt. They recently also set up sites for SimplicityAddicts and BMVAddicts.

Back to the dress…it’s similar to the wonderful Vogue 1250, which I’ve also made, but this one is much looser…not so much ‘stomach-sucking-in’ required! (at least for me!)


  • There are only two pieces, front and back (I didn’t add the pockets). The cowl takes up a bit of fabric but not too much. Both pieces fit well within 2m of wide fabric.


  • Both are slinky knits. I have yet to see the term ‘ITY‘ (Interlock Twist Yarn) on a sales docket, but I think that’s what they are. Both fabrics are from Spotlight. The B+W polka dot is a little ‘rougher’ to touch than the floral fabric.
  • I recently discovered the benefits of an FBA but did not need to add one with this very roomy pattern.
  • I definitely need a belt, it’s quite sack-like otherwise (mind you, it’s great for feasting, without the belt… 😉
  • The sleeves have a self-binding. I also self-bound the hems on both dresses. The floral one looks ok but the polka dot hem looks skewiff…apparently it ‘doesn’t look that bad’ according to my family, but it bugs me….and having recently discovered the charms of ‘Steam-a-Steam’, I’m going to remove the polka-dot hem binding and apply SAS.
  • I used stay tape in the shoulders to keep their shape. The back shoulder has slight gathers. which adds a bit of interest.
  • Be careful  to stitch only up to marked locations on the neck seams. I got a little giddy with success and whipped up a third version in a bright mondrian print and ruined it by sewing the shoulder/cowl too far into the neck and it bunches up unattractively around my neck ! No, I’m not posting a picture of that.
  • I’m going to add 4cm to the length the next time I make this; it’s just a little on the short side when belted.

Such a quick and easy dress – to make and to wear!