This tutorial may be of use to you if you A) have some spare jersey or knit fabric hanging about and you're not sure what to do with it, or B), you've got some people to make Christmas presents for and you are in a hurry! This cowl neck scarf is basically two tubes of fabric joined together. You can use jersey or knit fabric, or a couple of T-shirts, sweatshirts or knit jumpers (or a cunning combination of two of those things). In this tutorial I use an overlocker (serger) to construct it, but you can use a regular sewing machine. I would recommend that you test out stitching your intended fabric with whichever machine you plan to use before you begin. Here's how to make a cowl neck scarf...
This scarf basically consists of two rectangles of fabric (or four which you must stitch together to make two). The dimensions are totally up to you, but for the cowl neck scarves pictured in this post (there are a couple of knit versions pictured at the end) the initial rectangles measured 76 cms wide and 42 cms deep. For my version pictured above I used a light-weight drapey jersey, but thicker fabrics can also give a fantastic (and more snuggly) result. As you can see, I just drew my measurements straight onto the fabric, no pattern. Told you this is a quick project.
after cutting out, you will have two rectangles the same size. Make each rectangle into a tube by stitching the two shorter edges together, right sides together.
What did I tell you? Two tubes!!! (I know, this isn't really a step!). Remember, the right side of the fabric is currently inside the tubes. Keep it that way for a minute.
To make life easier for yourself when matching up the edges later, make little notches (no more than 0.5 cms) by snipping at the top and bottom of the raw edge at the other end from where the stitching is.
Now you have to join the two tubes together at one end of the cowl. Turn one of the tubes through so the right side of your fabric is on the outside. Put this turned through tube inside the other, matching up the stitching seams and the two little notches. Pin these together around the circle of raw edges.
Sew the tubes together as you just pinned them. Remember to take the pins out as you go before they reach the needle or blade!!
Now the two tubes are attached. Don't worry about trimming your loose ends too much, they are going to get hidden inside the final cowl neck scarf.
Now pull the tube out to make one long tube. Make sure you pull it out with the right side of the fabric inside the tube.
The next couple of steps may require a bit of a leap of faith, they may not make sense so you're going to have to trust me! Problem is, this bit is really tricky to describe. If the instructions don't make sense at first read, it is likely they will make far more sense when you read them with the half-made thing in your hands.
Hold both ends of the tube at the edge where the stitching lines finish. See where my boss is holding it in the picture above? Take hold of yours at these two points. Bring the two points you are holding closer together. They are going to meet up, but before you put them together, you need to fold the edges in a bit so that it is the right sides of the fabric that touch. (See picture below.)
Put them together to make those two points meet. It will help to use a pin to keep them together for a bit.
Now you have those two points together, with their edges tucked inside, all held together with a pin. Turn this area round so that you can see the raw edges (see picture below). Now put a second pin in to keep these raw edges together. Take out the first pin. The whole cowl neck scarf at this point will look all twisted and wrong. Don't worry, it's meant to be like that at this point. Where you have just put this new pin to hold those raw edges together, that's going to be the beginning of the next line of stitching. Matching your corresponding final two notches along the raw edge, you need to sew the last circle of raw edges together LEAVING AN OPENING FOR TURNING THROUGH (i.e. stop this sewing before you meet up with where you started this row of sewing!). This gap should be at least 10cms long.
Now the whole damn thing will look all screwy and twisted up, like the picture below. At the left you can see the seam edges I just stitched together in Step 11. The loose overlocking threads indicate where I left an opening.
Now the magic bit... Reach through the gap and pull it all through so that the right sides of your fabric are now on the outside and all your stitching is inside.
Pin the opening closed.
Stitch the opening closed neatly by hand, or quickly with a regular sewing machine like I did below:
Admire your handiwork!!!
As I mentioned before, this basic method can be applied to all sorts of stretchy (non woven) fabric. The scarf below was made with an old jumper for the outside and snakeskin printed jersey for the inside.
This cowl neck scarf was made using a few fine but very soft grey jumpers. The subtle differences in shade make a really nice effect. If you have some old knitwear, you could try combining two different ones for a toasty warm way to reuse unwanted garments.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions and/or you need me to clarify something. Happy making!!!