handmade holidays, day one: circle scarf


And it begins! Five days of handmade gift ideas that are super affordable and pretty simple. Day one.. how to sew a circle scarf.

Circle scarves (infinity scarves, loop scarves, whatever you call them) are one of the easiest things to make, an awesome way to get into sewing and have something practical and professional to show for it. In stores, circle scarves are a bit expensive but with the right fabric, you can seriously make it look like the exact same product for less than half the cost.

What you'll need for this project.. 1 1/4 to 2 yards (depending on the desired length and scarf layers) of stretch knit fabric and matching thread. I used 1 1/4. You're going to leave the cut edges raw, so be sure to pick out a fabric with some stretch and very little fraying (you can tell by looking at the cut edges at the fabric store and see how bad they're fraying already, but also, stretch knits are good at not fraying so anything jersey or rayon-ish should be good). I chose a charcoal colored stretch knit with a lightweight purl knit texture.

One other thing - while this is a great project for beginners, I would highly suggest using a serger to finish the one seam you're going to sew. Because it's a stretchy scarf, it's important to have the seam reinforced - and the best way is to use a serger (although there are other methods, which I'll get into later). If you don't have one, find a sewing friend and borrow theirs - or steal one (just kidding).


First step - fold the fabric with cut edges together, right sides in, and pin the selvage together. Check out this handy guide for illustrating the difference between cut edges and selvage edges, in case you're wondering.


In order to make a circle scarf, we're going to sew the selvage edges together, using the two cut edges as the outer edges of the scarf (thus, pretty much sewing a giant tube of fabric).

Therefore.. next step - sew! Sew the selvage edges together, right sides together, using a standard 5/8 inch seam allowance. Once the seam is sewn, trim the edges - if you're using a serger, trim the allowance to about 1/2 inch.


Now, pull out that super awesome serger and finish the edges of the seam. You want to leave two inch thread tails intact at each edge, because this will prevent the seam from coming undone. To keep the tails discreet, I simply sewed them onto the finished serged edge with a straight stitch, but I got away with it because the fabric and thread match and are both so dark you can't see the thread tails - if you're less lazy than I am, I suggest using this handy guide and weave the thread tail into the edges.

Now, for the alternative. The reason I suggest using a serger is it's quick, easy, and gives the scarf a professional finish without a bunch of work. There are several ways to finish a seam without them, however - check out this guide to seam finishes.. the author makes a great case for non-overlock finishing (although keep in mind, you're working with stretch fabric so certain rules vary - but a safe bet when it comes to stretch knits is the handy zig zag stitch).


And that is it! You've got a circle scarf to wrap around however you'd like - as a hooded scarf, loose fitting long scarf, or bundled up tight around your neck. The beauty of this scarf is that the raw, unfinished edges really add to the look.

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I've started a Flickr set for handmade holiday gift ideas, so check it out for more photos. Tomorrow, I'm making an embellished sweater using fabric glue, velvet ribbon, and a thrifted wool sweater.. more soon! And if you have handmade gift ideas of your own, please share them (I loved LisaMarie's suggestions last post)! Happy Wednesday, all.