How to Make a Cowl Neck Dress Out of a Scarf - Quick & Easy DIY

The DIY Designer
by The DIY Designer
7 Materials
3 Hours

This is a tutorial on how to make a cowl neck scarf dress. Ready for an awesome upcycle? If you have an unused scarf collecting dust in your closet, this project is a great idea.

This DIY cowl neck dress is an easy DIY that anyone can do, regardless of skill. Before you know it, you’ll see how magically your scarf turns into a dress! Let’s get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Scarf
  • Elastic
  • Dress form
  • Needle
  • Matching thread
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Broach (for the belt)
Choosing a scarf based on the length

1. Choose a scarf

To find the right length scarf, fold it in half to figure out the length. The length should be long enough to cover your body. 

Measuring the width of the scarf

Also, make sure that the width is at least as wide as the widest point of your body (hips). Another great tip is to find a scarf that has some sort of stretch to it. 

How to make a scarf into a dress

2. Cut your scarf

Fold your scarf in half and line up the bottom to make sure the two pieces are even. Then, cut along the fold to make two separate pieces. 

How to make a cowl neck dress pattern

3. Check the fit

I pinned the pieces on my dress form to map out how it would look and if I'll need to make any adjustments. If you don't have a dress form, you could do this on your own body.

I realized that creating a large fold-over in the front is really beneficial because it gives me the perfect length that I need (mid-calf), it's automatically lined on the front bust area, and you're not going to see any seams.

How to sew a cowl neck dress from a scarf

4. Assemble the DIY cowl neck dress

Fold the front (for your bust area) and do a blind stitch on the right side.

Note that I’m hand sewing this dress, but you can use your sewing machine, too. Either way, the results will be amazing!

Sewing the back of the DIY cowl neck dress

Go ahead and do the back piece, too. Align the folds, so it’s symmetrical with the first stitched piece. 

Measuring straps for the DIY cowl neck dress

5. Figure out strap options

When it comes to the straps, you can literally pick anything you like. From gold chains to lace trims, the sky’s the limit here. 

Make a dress out of a scarf

I used scrap ribbon just to figure out what would be the height of my neckline, armholes, and side seams. Once you figure that out, you’ll know what measurement you need for the straps. I finally settled on this lovely thick black elastic for my dress. 

Scarf turns into dress

6. Make a matching belt (optional)

I opted to make a matching belt with the same elastic I used for the straps. Look at that! What a stunning transformation! You can do the same should you wish. 

How to turn a scarf into a dress

7. Sew the sides

Now that you know where your shoulder strap is and the height of the armhole, you can go ahead and stitch the sides of the dress.

Turn your dress inside out for this part and sew it the same way, using a blind stitch on the right side. 

Leaving slits at the bottom of the DIY cowl neck dress

Leave little slits at the bottom. Just ensure that the right and left slit are both aligned. 

Sewing straps to the DIY cowl neck dress

8. Sew the straps

Now, sew down the straps the identical way as the rest of the dress. 

Trimming the excess fabric

Then, trim off the excess elastic. 

How to turn a scarf into a dress

Back of the DIY cowl neck dress
How to make a cowl neck dress out of a scarf

How to make a cowl neck dress out of a scarf

There you have it; your DIY cowl neck dress is complete. What do you think of this awesome DIY?

I love how easy it is; it’s really great for all enthusiasts who want to know how to sew a cowl neck dress seamlessly!

Thank you for joining me, and I hope you got a lot of inspiration from this tutorial! 

Suggested materials:
  • Scarf
  • Elastic
  • Chain
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 22 comments
  • Ifi28770356 Ifi28770356 on Oct 23, 2022

    Love this! I received so many extra-large scarves from well-meaning folks during my chemo days. What a great use for them!

  • Mcc Mcc on Mar 10, 2024

    Is there a rule of thumb how many inches extra you need to sit comfortably? Hoping a stretch fabric helps.