How to make a cowl-neck dress

Updated April 17, 2017

Cowls are folds of fabric created by allowing the fabric to drape around the neck. They can fall at a variety of depths to create a flowing look to a dress. A cowl-neck dress is a simple style that lends itself to a variety of fashion looks, and can be made in any length you desire. You can make one without a pattern, and if you make it from a knit fabric, you will not need to use darts or tailoring techniques.

Take your measurements. First, measure yourself around your hips. Then, measure yourself from where your neck meets your shoulder to the length you want the dress.

Cut the knit fabric into one rectangle, half your hip measurement plus 1 inch for the width, and your shoulder-to-hem measurement plus 5 inches for the length. Cut a second rectangle half your hip measurement for the width, and your shoulder-to-dress length measurement minus 10 inches for the length.

Fold the top and bottom of both rectangles in 1/2-inch, wrong sides facing each other. Sew in place using a stretch stitch on the sewing machine.

Lay the small rectangle right-side-down on the right side of the large rectangle. Match up the bottom hems.

Sew the side seams together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Fold the two unfinished sides of the top of the large rectangle in 1/2-inch, wrong sides facing each other, and sew in place.

Bring the two top corners of the large rectangle together and sew them, right sides facing each other, at a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Knit fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Ballpoint or stretch needle
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About the Author

Nicolle Gunay worked in the fashion industry for several years before becoming a teacher. She has an Associate of Science in fashion design and a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Florida Atlantic University.