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Reader Question: Cowl Patterns for Petite Women

February 8th, 2013

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A few weeks ago, we shared a guest blog post from Jessica in our sales department. Jessica is a big fan of crocheted infinity cowls and told us a little bit about her recent project. In response, we got this email from Esther C.:

“My daughter is short like me, and I am trying to tell her these cowls that you can use different ways would make us look top heavy. Do you agree? Is there a pattern for easy/intermediate that would fit the bill – maybe one using lighter weight yarn?”

First off, I just want to say that Jessica is petite (about 5 foot 2 inches or so), so shorter women can definitely wear infinity scarves! I think the key is simply to consider the scale of your project versus your proportions. A very long scarf may look disproportionate on a shorter person, but look just right on a taller person, and vice versa.

As a shorter woman myself, I like cowls that are more closely fitting around the neck  (instead of dangling further down the torso). Here are a few options in that style:

Image of Gray Lace Cowl Image of Pale Gray Lace Cowl Image of Cardiff Cowl
Knit Gray Lace Cowl Knit Pale Gray Lace Cowl Crochet Cardiff Cowl

Although they may not seem as versatile as the long infinity scarf, don’t forget that a well-placed shawl pin totally changes up the look–giving them the look of a little scarflet or collar–plus they make great headband/earwarmers, as well as being comfy hoods!

If you’re in love with the infinity scarf style, look for cowl patterns that use a thinner yarn or are not as “tall”. These less bulky options will also look more flattering and “in scale” with your height. Below, the first cowl uses sportweight yarn, and the next two are only 11 inches in height.

Image of Supernova Cowl Image of Porter's Cowl Image of Thermal Knit Cowl
Crochet Supernova Cowl Crochet Porter’s Cowl Thermal Knit Cowl

For Jessica’s cowl, she improvises the design using double-crochets in the back-loop. You could do the same and pick a simple stitch and make your scarf loop as long or short as is right for your frame, and as tall or short as you want. Pro tip: If you’re not sure what length looks good on you, grab a fabric or store-bought scarf and pin it at different lengths to see what length loop works best on you before you cast on or chain.

Any more tips? Questions? Leave a comment!

Related links: 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1239175710 Emily Boyd

    Thank you so much for these patterns! I have the same problem.

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      You’re welcome! Hope you found some options you like!

  • Irene

    Thank you for all those lovely cowls. I’d like to make the Pale Gray Lace Cowl since I already have the yarn.. It would be helpful if you showed what the pattern looks like by having the cowl laid flat. On this photo, you can’t see it.
    I have the same comment about the other cowls too.

    Thank you.

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Thanks for the suggestion, Irene; we’ll keep it in mind for future patterns. In the meantime, consider checking on Ravelry (a free website for yarncrafters) for additional photos from other knitters and crocheters. For instance, the Pale Gray Lace Cowl has quite a few user photos:
      http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pale-gray-lace-cowl

  • WendyBee

    I think there is a cowl style and proportion to suit any figure and flatter any face. I am tall – at least, for my generation (5’8″), with an overly generous bust, long torso (apple, not pear). I am also very fair and can be easily overwhelmed by dark/bold colors. So, a lot of thought goes into choosing styles and colors. But choose I must, because since reaching my 50′s, I always feel chilly on the back of my neck and shoulders, sometimes even my upper chest when I wear a deep open V-neck layer in order to most flatter my challenging figure. I fill in my neckline with silk scarves or knitted cowls, etc. I agree that long thick styles can easily overwhelm the petite figure, but the petite girl who is bottom-heavy can use a cowl to balance her appearance by judiciously drawing attention to the face and upper body