How to Make an Elegant Cowl Neck Dress Without a Sewing Pattern

Creations by Shey
by Creations by Shey
10 Materials
2 Hours

If you’ve been looking for a tutorial on how to make a cowl neck dress, this DIY tutorial is for you! I’ll show you how to make a cowl neck dress pattern using your own blouse.

This dress is perfect for any occasion and is ultra-flattering! You can adapt the cowl depth to make it deeper or shallower using this super-easy cowl neck dress sewing pattern. Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric - 3 yards
  • Your own loose-fitting blouse
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Safety pin
  • ½-inch elastic
  • Weights to hold down the fabric
Making the back pattern for the dress

1. Make the back pattern

Fold your blouse in half so the side seams are right on top of each other. Fold the fabric a bit wider than the width of your blouse.

Lay the folded blouse on top of the fabric, with both folds on top of each other.

Using a blouse as the pattern template

Start cutting the fabric, using your blouse as a template, leaving at least ½-inch seam allowance. Extend the cut to your desired length. In this tutorial, I made mine quite long.

Making the front cowl pattern

2. Make the front cowl pattern

Fold the fabric much wider than you did before to cut the back piece. Pin the fabric at the top to keep it from slipping.

Tracing around the blouse to make the pattern

Lay the blouse on the fabric again but move the blouse at least 8 inches away from the top folded edge. The more you move the top of the blouse, the deeper the cowl will be.

Cutting out the front pattern piece

Cut the front pattern length following the shape of the top but keeping the neckline flat.

Cutting the front and back pieces to the same length

Cut the front piece to the same length as the back piece. 

Making the pattern for the sleeves

3. Make the sleeve pattern

Fold the fabric in 4. Pin the open edge at the bottom to secure the fabric.

How to draw the sleeves

Carefully draw a sleeve design starting at the top of the folded edge.

Finishing the sleeve top with a curved line

Finish the sleeve top with the curved line ending about 10 inches from the top on the other edge of the fold. 

Measuring the desired length

Then, measure your desired length on the folded edge. I measured 23 inches for my sleeve length.

Cutting out the sleeve pattern

Cut out the sleeve including the length.

DIY cowl neck dress sewing pattern

Cut open the fabric on the folded edge on the bottom edge. You’ll have two sleeves.

Making facing for the dress

4. Make the facing for the dress

Fold the fabric to the width of the front panel. Lay the folded front piece on top of the folded fabric.

Making facing for the neckline

Cut around the neckline and shoulders and go down about 8 inches from the top.

Cutting out the facing

Fold back the front of the dress and cut the fabric underneath at the 8 inch mark.

Pinning the facing to the dress

Pin the facing to the dress, right sides together, including pinning the shoulders.

Pinning the facing to the back of the dress

Repeat this technique for the back facing, also cutting the fabric to the 8-inch mark. (Remember that the back panel won’t have as wide a facing as the front.)

Attaching the facing to the dress panels

5. Attach the facing to the dress panels

Stitch the facing to the front and back panels of the dress, with the right sides together. Once you’re done sewing, turn the dress panels right side facing out.

Sharpen the corners of the dress, making sure the facing lies flat on the wrong side of the dress.

How to sew a DIY cowl neck dress

6. Sew the dress together

Join the front and back panels of the dress right sides together. Sew the shoulders together.

Attaching the sleeves to the DIY cowl neck dress

Attach the sleeves, right sides together, at the ends and then at the center of the shoulder to create gathers in the middle. Repeat for the other sleeve. Stitch across the top.

Pinning the side and sleeve seams

Pin the sides of the dress and inner seams of the sleeves. Stitch together.

Adding elastic to the cuffs

Fold over the sleeve to make a casing for the elastic at the cuff. Sew the casing together, leaving a 1-inch gap.

Place a safety pin at the edge of the elastic, insert it into the casing, and when the ends meet, stitch them together.

Closing up the gap in the elastic casing

Close up the gap in the casing. Repeat for the other sleeve.

Hemming the DIY cowl neck dress

Hem the dress with a ¼ inch double fold.

How to make a cowl neck dress

How to make a cowl neck dress

There you have it! I hope I showed you how to make a cowl neckline dress that is so elegant and perfect even for a wedding! I’ve accessorized it with a simple belt to show off the waist.

Please let me know in the comments what you think of this DIY cowl neck dress and if you're going to make it.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric - 3 yards
  • Your own loose-fitting blouse
  • Scissors
See all materials

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