Cargo Scarf: Free your hands, and your mind will follow!

Picture of Cargo Scarf: Free your hands, and your mind will follow!
As much as I love purses, they're a pain. Aside from getting dropped, lost, and snatched on a regular basis, they almost always leave their carrier without a free hand for everyday tasks. A cargo scarf is the perfect, inconspicuous way to hold all your small essentials--keys, cash, pens, cigs, cell phone--without tying up your hands. Plus, it helps you stay warm on cold nights all year round.

This instructable is for the Etsy SewUseful contest...
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
To make a cargo scarf, you will need:

1/2 yard 45" wide cotton for outer layer
I chose a cute banana-print cotton; any decorative or fashion fabric will do, but it should be woven (not a stretchy knit).

1/2 yard lining
This is the part of the scarf that will be against your skin, so choose something warm and comfortable. Softer felts, flannels or fleeces are all good options.

Decorative trims
These can be lace, eyelet tape, or whatever else you prefer. If you plan to adorn all the edges, you will need 4 1/2 yards of trim for a 68" scarf. To decorate only the short edges, 1/2 to 3/4 of a yard will do; vertical accents will require 2 yards of trim each, and horizontal accents will only require 6 inches of trim each.

D-ring and nylon webbing
These are for creating a decorative accent and/or ring to clip your keys to. You can substitute the nylon webbing (only a few inches are needed) with a piece of matching or contrasting fabric.

Narrow Elastic
This is for constructing a pen or pencil sleeve. You only need a few inches; choose a color that complements your lining and fashion fabrics, as it will be visible.

Bias square, measuring tape, or ruler

Chalk or marking pencil

Sewing Machine
This project can sew by hand with a needle and thread, but a machine will make it much faster and easier.



Step 2: Mark and Cut Fabric

Picture of Mark and Cut Fabric

A) Mark and cut your fashion fabric--you'll need two 6" wide strips the length of the fabric, as shown.

B) Cut two identical strips from the edge of the lining fabric.
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Have to try it! Love the idea of carrying your stuff and not a purse. That way the weight is distribute evenly, you don't have to carry around more of what you need and I think that your shoulders would appreciate the thought. ;)
amethyst851 year ago
wouldn't it be heavy and hazardous to the neck because that is what i think.

Thank you so much for this idea-pattern , I am in a wheelchair & it is hard to keep everything handy , purses are awkward . This is so perfect again thanks .

dear291 year ago
also I forgot to mention, I didn't do it on the one I made, but I will on my next cargo scarf...
if you want to cover your pockets for added security, take another piece of fabric and sew it above your pocket (make sure it matches up with the sides and end of your scarf before sewing). let it cover your pockets and at the bottom of your scarf, attach Velcro or snap buttons. your pockets are now concealed!
though I bet this would only work well on thinner fabrics, I don't know because I haven't tried it yet, but I think it might look too bulky with anything too heavy.
dear291 year ago
let me start by saying this, I am a waitress, and I love my server apron. I can carry practically everything but the kitchen sink in that thing when I'm at work, all hands free. I love that, and let me tell you, I got spoiled by it. if it were acceptable for me to wear my waitressing apron everywhere as opposed to a purse, I totally would, but that would look slightly too silly for me. haha!

but this scarf is amazing, and the same wonderful hands free idea like my apron. of course, you can't carry everything but the sink in it, but that's totally okay. how much of that stuff in your purse do you really need? (unless you're a mom, in which case that question doesn't apply to you.)

I made it with a few personal alterations. I love soft flannel. I put in 4 pockets, two on each side, front and back, and I used the items I knew I'd be storing as the guide for how big the pockets would be. I didn't want to give myself extra room, because then I would be carrying too much non essential things with me. on my right side, I made a pocket for my car and house keys just big enough for the keys, and attached a zipper because I do not want to lose those. since the keys are heavy, I wanted to balance out the weight. behind them, I put the pocket (also with a zipper) for ID card, debit card, cash, and Chapstick. I divided the pocket so that my Chapstick wouldn't get in with my money, ect. but I left space above that stitching so I only had to use one zipper. the other side of my scarf, I put a zipper pouch for my iphone, and a non zipper pouch for cigarettes and a lighter (trying to balance out the weight again). I love my scarf. I will be making more. I used a gray scale flannel so this one goes with anything, but I need MORE!

totally recommend. 10/10 stars all the way!
Love this! Think I know what my mom is getting for Christmas this year. :) I might make one for my sister too. I'll have to figure it out.
spiritflare2 years ago
Wow this is amazing! Found it just in time to make a bunch for christmas too!
Arendos3 years ago
As a guy who carries a shoulder bag wherever he goes, I don't think I like the concept. Wouldn't that be cool, but really uncomfortable?
Kinnishian3 years ago
When I was making this, I did not understand the step about opening the seams with a warm iron. Maybe, could clarify this for other people?

Thanks :)
cannot figure out a way to edit my comments (Wait, surely I am missing something), but I also wanted to add that I was phased for a while on the idea of the "wrong side". I think something that indicates "inside" or "non-outside face side side" [but...less confusing..] would make it clear for people who are clearly having a difficult brain day.
WhiteTech3 years ago
Hey, I made two of these! one for me and one for a special someone, Here's mine, hers is the exact same with the same checkered fabric, but black and white and used on both sides. Instead of the solid colour on one side

I skipped the lace and such ;) but my mother being the professional seamstress that she is, added a zipper on the bottom pocket for loose objects and kept the top pocket open for phones and such.

The special someone loves hers and uses it everyday!
goliver23 years ago
This pattern/scarf is pretty awesome and I made it being an amateur. I do have to give warning on the warm fabric you use. I used a really fluffy fabric and it was a real pain to sew and cut because the edges were falling off. Now that it's done it was worth it but just a heads up =D
l8nite3 years ago
I showed this to my daughter some time ago, she made one and I couldn't find the "ible" but it's back on the front page. Everyone liked hers, now her sister, sister in law, a couple aunts, MY sister and 2 sister in laws all have one. Really great idea
una_amor3 years ago
Thank you for this. It is fab!
mnrsiat3 years ago
Oh I love this!
vdat3 years ago
Very nice ! sometimes I don't like to carry a purse. This is a great idea
Azalara3 years ago
This is a fantastic idea. I've already made one for my male friend (without the lace) and I'm using the same basic idea without the pockets to make scarves for my co-worker's kids.
Thank you so much for this, I will surely be using it for years to come!
nambrose3 years ago
I love that lace. Where do you get that lace from?
D.Wyndia3 years ago
This is a great idea, since so many women are being robbed of their purses right now.
orisj3 years ago
great idea!
Really neat looking purse and useful!
What a great idea, looks very easy!
SageMinto4 years ago
Very useful!
Especially during the winter and fall seasons.
CuttiePiie4 years ago
Sherlock694 years ago
WOW I don't usually wear scarves but I HATE to carry a purse. I was thinking about doing a small pocket that would go between the fabrics with a small zipper to carry money. Like a "hide-a-pocket" I LOVE this idea
margime504 years ago
This is a great idea. I will definitely make one to show everyone and then take orders for Christmas gifts.
Solovei4 years ago
This is the greatest idea ever - Totally making this to carry my mp3 player and possibly bus pass :) Probably wouldn't put my keys out in the open like that, but I do have an owl keychain that'll go with this perfectly.
xaphor5 years ago
 Why is everyone overlooking the fact that a guy could wear it as well.  

I would wear it, it is totally awesome, and I am a guy, maybe change the style just a bit, but still, it is useful.
bpfh xaphor4 years ago
Just seen this and I'm now thinking about making one for my morning motorbike commute: Keeps the back of your neck warm, stops the cold air freezing your chest hair and gives you a perfect place to stick your wallet, pens, ipod/phone & papers and any other stuff you do not want to put into your jacket and avoid having to carry a manbag...
Yep - I looooove it when a guy is wearing a scarf! Anyone remember how John Bender looked in "Breakfast Club" at the end? ...Yeah, exactly. ;)
I am so making this for my brother for Christmas this year. I can totally see a guy wearing it. Especially the college type. Pocket for Ipod is so cool =)
mikeh3k xaphor5 years ago
Sooo true Xaphor. I'm making one for myself
Completely agree - I only wish that I had seen this before March, I might have been able to cut down my need for a bag by 75% or more this past winter (most of the time I really only need to carry a few tiny things and my bag is pretty empty).
JessickaRay4 years ago
Are those leopard print scissors? So cute!
How 'bout adding a button-and-loop (or pushbutton or something) to fix your scarf in the position you like to wear it (I wear mine the same style all the time), so that heavier things don't drag their end down, disarranging your style and choking you?
I was wondering the exact same thing (heavy object choking you) when reading this, and this could be a solution.
Absolutely have to give this scarf a try!
Darn I wish I had a sewing machine.
Pick one up for cheap at St Vincents or Goodwill.  Get your make on - you deserve it.
patmac5 years ago
I also don't like carrying purses, but find it necessary to have my wallet, phone and keys with me.  I love scarves, so for me, this is the perfect solution.  I can wear them every season.  These will make wonderful and inexpensive gifts.  Thanks for the great job.
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