Hot! The “Princess and the Cowl” Top

The Facts
Fabric: Ivory cotton knit from
Pattern: Sewaholic Patterns 1201 Renfrow Top
Year: 2012
Notions: Twill tape
Time to complete: A few hours
First worn: December, 2011
Wear again? Yes.  I already have many, many times.
Total price: $20

I feel like this week’s challenge makes me look a bit like a celebrity stalker.  Instead of pulling my Make-This-Look inspiration from an online dress, as is typical for Mena’s MTL series, I have an image of Kate Middleton.  And, to top that, I know the exact Cashmere Cowl Neck Tunic she happens to be wearing in said image.  A bit much, right?  Well, I can’t take credit for the garment sleuthing.  The transformation from image to actual garment was done by  All my stalking really boils down to a serendipitous Google search that led me here and here.

Original Inspiration

  • Cashmere Cowl NeckTunic from John Lewis (no longer available online – what better reason to make it yourself! – but it was £99, and then eventually went on sale for £49.50)


The pattern I chose to use to make my own cowl was the just-announced Renfrow Top from Sewaholic Patterns.

“But, Amy, if it was just announced, then how could you have already made it?”

Magic, dear readers.  Of the similar sort that uses to figure out everything that Kate Middleton owns.  Creepy, stalker magic.

No, really, I helped Tasia test this pattern, which means she sent me (and others) an early version of this pattern to make up and work out all of the kinks so that it would be perfect for all of you.  I chose to make the official view C with the cowl neck and three-quarter length sleeve, but it would have been easy enough to make the long sleeve version in a tunic length had I wanted to more closely replicate the original cowl.

For the fabric I focused on how much I liked the look of Kate Middleton’s simple tunic, so I chose a cotton sweater knit in a neutral color from similar to this one (the fabric I originally purchased is no longer available online).  I was really pleased with the knit.  It was so soft and comfy, and immediately I knew it was perfect for this cozy cowl.

Now, I have to be honest.  Though I liked this sweater on Kate Middleton, I was anticipating more of a “Meh.” response for it on me since I’ve never owned a cowl-necked anything before.  Yet, after it came together (in hours, no less!), I didn’t take it off for nearly two days.  Don’t judge; it was love.

Anyway, there you have it.  My “Princess and the Cowl” top.  And they lived happily ever after…



Amy slowly eased her way into sewing in 2010. In 2011 her hobby truly blossomed, aided in part by the wonderful Sew Weekly community. She can also be found writing on her own blog, Sew Well.


Comments are closed.

  1. Nope not Meh at all that is great. I bet you’ll wear it forever.

  2. Wow, that’s great. Great plug for Tasia too, can’t wait to get my hands on a couple of her patterns and this one might be the first one I order :-)

    • If you order this week, you can get free shipping on two patterns. You need a promo code that’s sent to all of her mailing list subscribers.

  3. Ohh I love the top! It’s a beautiful cowl neck shape. I can’t wait to get the pattern – I just got the shipping confirmation the other day. Great job!

    • Hooray! And, we nearly had a Bay Area shut out this week between Mena, Laura Mae, you, and me. I’m glad the Britex trip was fun, and I was sorry to miss it. I couldn’t get out of work. I will also miss the Alameda Fair. I planned on going, but my friend has a birthday brunch that day. She takes precedent over the fair. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to make it to another Bay Area sewing meet-up.

  4. You aren’t a stalker, you are a fan. Subtle but important difference. And in your stunning homage to Kate you have excelled, this is lovely. Man, I have to buy this pattern now, don’t I? Yeah. Yeah, I do. It’s over. This is happening. And it’s all you and your awesome top’s fault.

  5. Love, love, love! I’ve been guilty of loving a piece so much that I’ve put it on days in a row, too. I wouldn’t take this off either.

  6. Really lovely! I think I’ll have to add this to my evergrowing list of items to make.

    • Yes, you must! It’s quick, and would be a good project to sneak in after something more involved. It’s a good reminder that not every favorite is going to take weeks and weeks of work.

  7. Looks great and comfortable. Would totally add it to my wardrobe.

    • I agree – everyone should have a cozy cowl. I’ve worn it with a skirt and boots to a party and with jeans to a beach hike (where these photos were taken). It’s perfect!

  8. great use of an independent pattern company for a chic, elegant, royally-inspired look :-)

  9. I love it! It’s such a classic top, I can’t wait to get my pattern in the mail now.

  10. This is awesome. I really great staple. I am totally inspired by your post. I might have to also add this one the the list.

  11. This is adorable! Looks great on you, lady!

  12. It looks totally fab on you, I didn’t know about that website, might have to have a little looky now…

  13. You look great in this top; it looks like the kind of wardrobe piece that you’ll be wearing forever!

    I’d never heard of that style blog before, and it does sound a bit stalker-y…..but I have to admit that her style is so elegant. You can’t go wrong with perfectly fitted and silk, can you? ;)

  14. Oh, looks great! Can’t wait to get my pattern in the mail! :)

  15. Such an elegant look

  16. This is so you, I bet she feels amazing on. Just lovely.

  17. I love the inspiration behind this look and it’s gorgous on you!

  18. Love this top and the story behind it.

  19. I love Princess Kate. her style is to die for. You did an amazing job!

  20. The tyop looks beautiful. It was made very well!

  21. I didn’t realise I needed this pattern until I saw your top! So perfect. I’d probably want to wear it days on end too.

  22. Simple and gorgeous! I love a cowl neck :)