Sew Yourself a Cosy Neck-Nest This Fall

Fall is my favorite season because it means I can wear scarves without people judging my inappropriate neck temperature. Oh yeah, and leaves turning and all that, but mostly just scarves. For me, if the temperature is below 70, I am wearing a scarf. Right now I’m really digging with circle scarves, but I’m too cheap to buy something I could make in ten minutes.

And thus we begin our journey to making scarves with minimal effort or knowledge of sewing skills. I also hate knitting-in-the-round, so there’s no way I could knit an entire scarf that way… or any other way at the moment (I have three thousand half-finished ones around the house, tucked in drawers and closets).

Giant knit scarves are wonderful, but there’s no way I’m making this.

Expert seamstresses beware: I am probably the furthest thing from being good with a sewing machine. I’m competent with sewing, but mostly I’m just very okay at making stuff up and rollin’ with it. The only reason I actually have a sewing machine at all is because my mom bought one for my sister and my sister is the least crafty person I know, so I’m borrowing it indefinitely.

This weekend, I made three scarves and it was a fantastic time had by all. Here’s how I made them!

Basic circle scarf

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Level of difficulty: one glass of root beer to enjoy after the five minutes this will take you
For this project you will need: One scarf you probably already own one yard of cotton/modal fabric, matching thread

I originally picked up this scarf at Cotton On on sale for $5. It’s a cotton/jersey knit and the softest thing you’ve ever felt. I want sheets made of this stuff. It was around 37″x74″. They sell these at every store ever, or at least I’ve seen them at the Gap, H&M, Target, etc. You probably already have some extra scarves in your closet that you’re not crazy about wearing anymore and could use a makeover.

back-stitching is your friend — this is the only picture i took of the entire process so hope that helps

1. Match up short edge to short edge so you basically have a square. One thing to remember — because all of these versions use knit fabrics, make sure to use a tender hand on the fabric so you don’t stretch it at all while you’re sewing. Tender hands, people.
2. Pin the short edges because knit fabrics move around a lot.
3. Sew using a zig-zag stitch and loose tension.

Voila! Easiest circle scarf in the whole wide world!
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Braided circle scarf

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Level of difficulty: one cat/dog cuddle halfway through and some deep breaths.
For this project, you will need: 1 yard of cotton/modal fabric in any color, matching thread, scissors or rotary cutter

I found a picture of a scarf I loved online but it was $50 and I can’t justify those kind of purchases in my life. I also couldn’t find a tutorial I liked. So, I winged it. This resulted in me rage-quitting halfway through, but once I figured out an alternative route, I got through it and it turned out pretty well, except Zeller messed it up right as I took the photo. I’ll forgive her this once.

1. Cut the fabric in half long-edge to long-edge. Set aside one half.
2. Take the other half and mark six strips — you’ll want three 4″ strips and three 2-3″ strips. You can make these different sizes if you want, of course. You do you, especially when you’re crafting and making shit up on the fly.
3. Cut the strips, leaving a bit at the top — this makes it much easier to braid them.
4. Find a secure area and make two braids, one big and one small. Pin or sew the ends.
5. Take the other fabric set aside earlier and fold it in half length-wise. Pin and sew with a zig-zag stitch and loose tension all the way, making a tube. Flip the tube inside out.
6. Fold in the ends of the tube 1/2″ to 1″ and pin or sew. I sewed one end and realized I didn’t actually have to.
7. Attach the end of the braids to one end of the tube. You can tack them in place or sew across, no big deal. Don’t twist them!
9. Attach both ends of the tube together. Sew across all the way, hiding the braids in the middle or on the inside.

DONE. Wear that sucker with pride.
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Knotted Circle Scarf

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Purple and white with red and black plaid? I promise to not let her leave the house wearing this combo.

Level of difficulty: Three sips of wine. This looks much harder than it actually is, I promise.
For this project, you will need: 18″ of two complimentary colors of cotton/modal fabric, matching thread in both colors, scissors, sewing needle, belief in yourself

I loved this braided/knotted scarf I found, but again, that’s a lot of money for a scarf. I found a few tutorials around the Pinterest-world and decided to make an adaption of this one, mostly.

The inside-out sewing looks so intimidating until you actually do it, and then it makes so much sense that even if you can’t wrap your head around it by looking at this tutorial, just physically sewing it will be much easier than you thought. You want to sew them this way so your scarf isn’t awkward and flat on one side and you can bunch it all up and look cozy and comfy, which is the point of a scarf.

I also didn’t account for how wide knits run, so I bought way too much of this. Don’t make my mistake! Save yourself money! Knits are expensive! Joann’s is having a sale on knit fabric right now, so this scarf is mad cheap until that sale ends.

Fold in half, pin, sew, and look it’s a tube!

1. Fold both fabric colors in half width-wise and sew in a zig-zag pattern with loose tension to make two tubes.
2. Take both tubes and lay them out on the floor or a table, both folded in half.
3. You’re going to be making square knots. You got this.

they never taught me knots in girl scouts.

4. Reach through the middle of the circle and pull the ends through twice. Here’s a little video from the other tutorial if this seems confusing.
5. Tighten and fix up the knots so it looks nice.

infinity scarf. get it? get it?

6. Sew the opposite color ends together. Match them up and pin them if you’re like me and easily distracted.

you got this.

7. Hold the ends of the tube side by side and pinch them together. You’re going to start by sewing this side together. Flip just the ends inside out, and move all of the extra fabric to one side.
8. Start to sew, pinching the edges together as you circle around.
9. Once you get to the point where you can’t sew any more because all of your fabric is bunching together, flip the edges right-side out and hand-sew the small pocket that remains with a blind stitch.
10. Repeat steps 7 through 9 on other end. Pat yourself on the back because that was kind of confusing and I’m so glad you understood me.

You’re done! You are so good at life and that scarf looks damn good on you.

Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 190 articles for us.

27 Comments

    • Yes, this.

      I need some boi-ish scarves…thoughts, anyone? Scarves tend to run towards feminine and therefor I look dumb in them, I think. (the only time I wore one religiously was while I was coming out and after a hickey incident, for a good week. let she who is without hickies cast the first stone).

      • I’ve had one or two hickey incidents in my life and scarves saved the day.

        Andro scarves — go for a cotton/knit or wool. Something about super puffy knit scarves says feminine to me. Houndstooth is a classic pattern that I rock a lot in scarves, and also bold colors — my mustard scarf goes with everything, for real.

      • You guys are so cute. I am feeling all the love and all the feelings.

        Marika, I love the grey braided scarf because I feel that it’s andro/boi-ish enough but still has a little excitement to it. You could also do the first scarf she posted in a muted earth tone like greys, greens, browns.. whatever your favorite color is.

  1. zeller why you so cute in all the scarves?

    also I really appreciate the level of difficulty things because I get very ambitious about these sorts of things and I need to stay realistic because I also want to actually finish projects.

  2. Zeller should not go out of the house without a scarf on ever.

    Also, I think I’m going to face my sewing machine fears and attempt the second scarf because I’m in love with it.

  3. Soooo…why don’t you just start making these? Because I want. Imagine it: you need to finish writing a post, but you aren’t because: procrastination. Instead you watch tv online while productively making a cute scarf that you will sell. For money!

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