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.


Fabric Amount

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

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

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.