How to Sew a Cowl Neck Top That's Essential For Your Summer Wardrobe

Samera Boa
by Samera Boa
7 Materials
2 Hours

We’re going to be making an absolute essential for your wardrobe! I'll show you how to sew a cowl neck top. This sleek and satin DIY cowl neck top has a beautiful open strappy situation in the back, too.

You’ll definitely look like a glam goddess with this beautiful cowl neck top. I can’t wait to show you the results, so let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric 2x1m (2.18 x1.09 yards)
  • Scissors
  • Thread cutter
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Safety pins
DIY cowl neck top pattern

1. Make the DIY cowl neck top pattern

Just to help you visualize the pattern, I drew out the pattern on a whiteboard. This pattern will be most suited to UK 6-8 (2-4 US). It is on the looser end because I like cowl tops that way.

The pattern is accompanied by a four-strap design so you can make a halter at the back. There’s also an extra two straps to cinch in the top here and there. Trust the process; it’s going to look great! 

Folding the fabric in half and measuring

For the back panel, fold your fabric in half. Mark 11 inches from the top plus 1 inch for seam allowance. To be on the safe side, add another inch for seam allowance. 

Marking off the hem for the back piece

Mark off the hem for the back piece. 

Marking the measuring the pattern

Starting with the top edge of the garment, measure 16 inches for the width plus a 1-inch seam allowance for both the left and right seams.

Fold the measuring tape in half to find the mark on the fabric that’s also halved. The total is 18 inches. 

Locating the waistline

Locate your depth for the waistline and mark. 

Marking the width of the waist

Using the same measuring tape method, mark the waist’s width. Remember to account for a 2-inch seam allowance for the waist measurement. 

Marking the hem

Mark the hem measurement; mine is 18 inches + a 2-inch seam allowance. 

Drawing a curved side seam

Draw in the side seam shape while keeping the curvature of the waist in mind. 

Pinning satin before cutting

Satin is extremely slippery, so use as many pins as possible to secure it down when cutting. Better to be safe than sorry. 

How to make a DIY cowl neck top pattern

Cut a 3-inch thick panel with the same width as the top edge of the garment. 

Marking the length of the cowl piece

The front panel will come out quite long as it contains the cowl piece in front and an additional piece that folds behind the cowl, resulting in that weighted effect.

Start by folding the fabric in half (mine measured 34 x 25 inches). Mark the length for the inner folding cowl piece, which is 5 inches. 

Marking the length of the upper chest

Mark the length of the upper chest. This will be 12 inches down from the last marked section. 

Marking the length of the body

Next, mark the length of the main body. This will be 11 inches down from the last marked section. Add in seam allowance if needed. 

Measuring the the underbust, waist, and hip

Mark in measurements for the bodice shape and account for 2 inches of seam allowance. This will be for the underbust, waist, and hip. Here, I’m measuring the underbust with the folded tape method. 

Locating the waist point

Locate the waist point. 

Marking the waistline

Then, mark the waistline; 15 inches + a 2-inch seam allowance. 

Cutting out the bodice

Draw the bodice shape and cut. Remember to place pins to secure the fabric. 

Ironing down the fold

Open your fabric and locate the demarcation line for the cowl area. Iron down the fold with the matte (or wrong sides) kissing. 

Sewing the DIY cowl neck top

2. Assemble the DIY cowl neck top

Zigzag stitch the lower edge of the inner cowl segment. Then, straight stitch the side edges of the front bodice by folding the edges over twice. 

How to sew slippery satin fabric

If your fabric is too slippery, fold the edge over once and sew a straight stitch. Then, fold the sewn edge again and sew a second line. 

Leaving a gap for the straps

Leave a one-inch gap at the top as a hole for the straps. 

Sewing the raw edges

Sew the top and bottom raw edges of the back piece. 

Making the straps

3. Make the straps

Make four spaghetti strap pieces. You can fold the fabric twice lengthwise or cut it separately. 

How to sew spaghetti straps

Fold the strips in half, wrong sides kissing. Sew a strap thickness of 4mm (0.004”). 

Turning the fabric on spaghetti straps

Now, turn each strap inside out using either a loop turner or bobby pin. 

Tip: For the bobby pin method, create a small incision at one strap's end and feed the pin through it to act as a grip. 

DIY spaghetti straps

You should now have four straps for your DIY cowl neck top. 

Inserting the straps into the DIY cowl neck top

Sewing the straps in place

4. Insert the straps

Insert one end of each strap through either side of the front bodice (where you originally left a gap). Then, sew to secure. 

Sewing the straps to the back

Now, place the back panel and two remaining straps on the back piece. The panel and whole back piece should be right sides kissing. Decide on your strap placement and place the panel over, as shown. 1-2 inches of the strap should extend outward. 

How to attach the straps

Sew along the top edge. Backstitch when you get to the straps for a more secure stitch. 

How to make a cowl neck top

Now all that’s left is to layer the front and back piece, right sides facing, and sew the side seams. 

How do you make a cowl neck top?

You can tie your straps low or high according to your preference. Remember, this DIY cowl neck top also serves as a halter top because of the versatility of the straps. 

The same goes for the back straps; they’re pretty adjustable but do cinch at the waist depending on how high you tie them. 

DIY cowl neck top

How to sew a cowl neck top

How to sew a cowl neck top

That’s how to sew a cowl neck top! Thanks for joining me on this tutorial! It’s pretty straightforward and so is the cowl neck top sewing pattern. Good luck! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric 2x1m (2.18 x1.09 yards)
  • Scissors
  • Thread cutter
See all materials

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Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Angela Angela on Jul 08, 2022

    Looking forward to trying this😉 Great instructions 👍