This modification of New York Minute Dress for Girls is probably one of our favorites simply because of the cozy factor, and you can play around with some cute fabric for the lining! This scrunch neck will keep kids’ necks super warm and comfortable, and the bonus is that this hack is incredibly simple and fast to make. We do recommend making a practice neck piece first to ensure it fits properly over your child’s head and is the desired length.
The striped fabric is Raspberry Creek Fabric’s Club French Terry and lined with polar fleece. This French terry has plenty of 4-way stretch and excellent recovery, and the polar fleece lining gives it a bit of structure and that added warmth that’s perfect for colder weather.
This scrunch neck is made with micro fleece from Joann’s, and Cali Fabrics’ hot pink polar fleece. It has a beautiful scrunch even with both layers being fleece. Talk about warm and cozy!
Creating Our Scrunch Neck
First, place your front and back dress pattern pieces together, lining up center fold lines. You will want to measure the neckline from shoulder point to shoulder point, shown below in pink.
Take this measurement and double it, then add 1″ ([length of neckline x 2] + 1″ seam allowance = your neck width). This will be the width of your neck piece. The length is really up to you, as you can make it short and simple, or you can make it long and scrunchy. We chose a scrunchy neck with cozy folds, so our final main neck piece measures 5″ long X 16.5″ wide for a size 4 dress.
If you are making this in the smaller sizes, keep in mind you don’t want the scrunchy neck to cover their faces, so keep it shorter. You will be able to try it on them before attaching it to your dress, so you can always make changes if you need to, especially if it only needs to be shortened.
Alright, so from your fabric, you will cut a neck main and neck lining piece.
Take your main piece and fold it right sides together, matching short raw edges. Sew this seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat with your lining piece.
Turn your lining piece right side out, and slide it into your neck main piece so right sides are facing, and match up the top neckline and back seam.
Sew this seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Pull open, and with wrong side facing you, press your neckline seam well, using a pressing cloth so you don’t melt your fleece.
Turn your neck piece right side out and press using your pressing cloth.
Now is the time to try it on your child to make sure you like the fit. It might be just a bit snug pulling over their heads because it is something of a “turtle neck”, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Also keep in mind the length, especially for the smaller sizes. If it seems too long, simply shorten the bottom raw edges of the neck main and lining pieces until you get your desired length.
Sewing Our Scrunch Neck
Yesterday we completed through step 3 of the New York Minute pattern, sewing the shoulder seams. Now we’re moving on to step 4, finishing the neck. We’re doing it a bit differently if you’re adding the scrunch neck though. First, turn your dress wrong side out and your scrunch neck piece right side out.
Slide your neck piece inside the dress so right sides and raw edges are together, matching the center back of your dress with the neck seam. Also match your center front seam, and divide the other points in half too, so everything matches up. You shouldn’t have to stretch the neck piece at all while sewing in place as everything should match up evenly.
Sew this seam using a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Turn right side out and marvel at the coziness!
Our final version includes inset pockets and a ribbing hemline. The microfleece offers more drape as it’s a lighter weight fleece, yet it’s plenty warm on colder days.
If you find the scrunch neck to be too tight using the above method, you may have to widen the neckline on your pattern piece and make your neck piece wider. You can do this by lowering the front dress neckline up to an 1″, and lower the back a 1/4″, then blend to the shoulder seams (don’t remove anything from the shoulder width). Always make a practice version before you cut into your special fabric when making changes like this to a pattern. Once you have widened the neckline, go back to the beginning of this tutorial to derive the measurements for your new neck piece.
Now finish through to step 5 on page 12 of the pattern to add your sleeves.