Ways to Cut a Cowl Neck

By LeafTV Editor

The neckline is a typical focal point on a garment and every style has unique characteristics to make it fashionable. The most noticeable feature of a cowl neck top is its drape. The amount of fabric used in the cowl results in an array of appearance possibilities, from draping dramatically down the chest to a barely noticeable fold below the chin.

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Cowl neck shirts drape at the neckline.

Fabric Amount

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The amount of fabric draping varies depending on style.

When cutting a cowl neck, first decide how much drape you want the finished garment to have and use that to decide on the amount of fabric you'll need. A nice characteristic of a cowl neck is that no matter how much extra draping fabric there is, it can be manipulated to a variety of positions and still look unique and fashionable.

Knit Cowl Neck

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A boat neck cowl pulls the fabric off the shoulders.

The draping cowl neck fabric often is stretched over the collarbone and off the sides of the shoulders, resulting in a boatneck shirt that can reveal a hint of skin or the straps of a decorative undershirt. The boatneck cowl style works well with a lighter-weight material and tends to have a casual, summery appearance. This style can be found in everything from formal bridesmaids' gowns or cocktail dresses to linen blouses and sleeveless tops. When cutting for a boatneck, be sure to account for the center of the neckline that will be stretched narrower when the sides are pulled to the shoulders and provide a bit more fabric in this area.

Knit Cowl Neck

Knit cowl necks are commonly found on sweaters. Created from a variety of materials, including angora, cashmere, or acrylic, cowl necks can be positioned in a variety of ways, from hanging straight down the chest to tilting off one shoulder, or even stretched out as a hood when there is excess material. When knitting a cowl neck, attach it to the top by knitting an extra cylinder-shaped length above the sleeves and neckline, and folding over when finished. Alternatively, you can create the cowl as its own garment, as they are often sold as a separate item that can be added to a variety of outfits.

Cowl Neck Tees

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Casual T-shirts sometimes feature a cowl neckline.

One creative method for cutting a cowl neck is to use an already-fashioned shirt or recycle an old T-shirt. Cut a lengthy strip of fabric and with reverse sides together sew this onto the preformed neckline. Another method is to turn a top with sleeves into a sleeveless cowl neck halter by rolling the top of the shirt over itself a few times then sewing the sleeve ends together. This forms an opening for the head. The wearer can easily arrange the resulting folds in the desired fashion.