Convertible Scarf-Bag!

Introduction: Convertible Scarf-Bag!

In San Francisco's warm-one-moment and chilly-the-next (And then warm again. And then chilly again.) weather, I'm always a little ambivalent about hauling a scarf out with me for the day.

Especially if I'm going to be on-the-go and walking or biking around.

Which is basically every day.

I figured that I needed something effective against the wind and chill-- yet lightweight and portable. Relatively stylish--- but cheap to make.

So I designed this convertible scarf-bag (for lack of a better name-- neither "Scag" (scarf+bag) nor "Barf" (bag+scarf) really had the right ring to it).

This project is designed for someone who has basic sewing skills and confidence and access to a sewing machine. Parts of my scarf-bag were made on a serger, but it's not necessary.

I didn't use measurements when making the convertible scarf-bag (I just used a ruler and cardboard boxes to make my shapes).

Up next: Supplies

Step 1: Supplies

Here is what I used:


1. About a yard of jersey knit (t-shirt fabric) from a 60" wide bolt of fabric (about $5/yard at my local discount fabric store in San Francisco). This will be the scarf portion.

2. Less than a yard of the silky fabric that gets used to line coats (about $2.49/ yard in the bargain bin at the same store). This will be the bag portion, so choose a color you like. Also, it turns out that this fabric is kind of hard to work with-- so if there are slightly thicker or "tougher" looking options for like a dollar more, it will be a dollar well spent.


1. All the standard scissors/thread/pins/etc. I used these sewing clips to hold the finicky bag fabric together without shredding it, but you could surely make due with pins or clothespins or something.

2. Sewing machine (I used both a basic machine and a serger-- but you don't truly need both for the basic construction. It just looks fancier).

3. A yardstick

4. A flattened cardboard box to trace as a size guide for the bag. Something to cut the cardboard to size with.

5. A sharpie to trace shapes onto the fabric. If you're classy, you might prefer to use tailors chalk.

Step 2: Part A: Make the Bag Part 1

1. Decide what kind of bag dimensions are desirable to you. Look at your existing totebags for inspiration. Do you want over-the-shoulder straps? A bag body that will fit a binder, a record, a bike helmet? Keep in mind that when it's in bag form, the final product will need to be able to fit the scarf in addition to the other stuff that you want to put inside.

2. Cut out the cardboard an inch or so bigger on each square than the desired size.

3. Trace the cardboard 2x, end-to-end, onto the silky fabric. (see illustration)

4. cut out the long rectangle (don't cut down the middle line).

5. Fold in half and sew (or serge) the sides together (sew side a1 to a2 and b1 to b2). See 2nd illustration. You should now have a sack with a raw-edge top.

Step 3: Part A: Make the Bag Part 2

It's time to make and attach some handles/straps.

1. Sew 2 tubes of the silky fabric that are a couple inches longer than the handles/straps that you want on the bag (photo #1). The style's up to you on this. I sewed two tubes with the fabric's wrong side out, and then flipped them right-side out. Mine are around 1.5 inches thick. It's a floppy, flexible fabric, so perfection isn't 100% necessary.

2. Flip the sack you just made inside out and fold down the top a couple times (to start making a cleanish-looking hem) (photo #2).

3. Pin down the hem and stick the ends of the handles/straps into the fold where you want them to be (photo #3). Be sure to line them up on both sides so the handles are even on both sides of the bag. Pin them in place and sew along the hem to hold everything in place.

4. Yay, now it's a bag! But you still should flip the bag right-side out and sew the handles to the hemmed area to reinforce their attachment (illustration #1).

Step 4: Part B: Make the Scarf Part 1

1. Take the yard of jersey knit and cut it the long way so you have two long strips of fabric. Use a yardstick if you're into precision. Cut one of them in half into 2 equal short pieces and put the other (still-long piece) aside for the moment (photo #1).

2. Hem 1 end of each of the short pieces (illustration#1). If you're using a fabric with a "right" and "wrong" side, be mindful of that . Try to make a tiny-ish hem so you don't lose too much scarf length (photo #2).

3. Take your two short halves and overlap the hemmed edges by a few inches each. Pin them in place (photo #3). Sew or baste the overlapping side edges together (don't sew shut the part that you just took all that time to hem). You should now have a strip of fabric with a big hole in the middle where the 2 pieces meet.

4. Now you have the original still-long piece (that you previously put aside) and the sewed-together shorter side. It's time to put them together.

Step 5: Part B: Make the Scarf Part 2

1. Lay the long piece of scarf fabric on the floor (or a sewing table if you're fancy) "right side" up.

2. Lay the shorter sewed-together piece on top of the long piece "wrong side" up.

3. Cut the long bottom piece down to match the size of your sewed-together shorter piece.

4.Pin the edges and sew both pieces together (illustration #1).

5. Reach into the hole on the short-pieces side and flip your scarf right-side out. Cool! It's a scarf! (photo #1).

6. Next, it's time to connect them.

Step 6: Part C: Making the Connection Between Bag and Scarf

1. Yay, you've made two things (photo #1). Grab them both.

2. Flip the bag inside out and make sure the scarf is right-side-out.

3. Open the opening of the scarf, and right there, put a pin or some kind of marker right in the middle (photo #2).

4. Also put a marker in the slightly upper middle of one side of your inside-out bag (photo #2).

5. Join the two markers and sew them into place with a seam that's maybe an inch or so long. Use a thread color that you're ok seeing on the outside of your bag.

Step 7: Part D: You Did It!

1. Back away from the sewing machine and look at what you've just made.

2. For the scarf style, find the opening of the scarf and push the bottom of the bag down one side of the inside of the scarf and the top of the bag (along with the handles/straps) down the other side of the inside of the scarf. Wrap the scarf around your neck (with the opening toward your body) and you're all set (if you're feeling fancy, you can add a button to hold the opening shut, since it can be a little floppy) (photo #1).

3. To turn it into a bag, reach into the opening of the scarf, pull out the bag, and flip the bag right-side out. The scarf should fall inside the bag (photo #2).

4. Done!

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    7 years ago

    have I spotted a flaw? you're going to have to carry an empty bag around in order to use it as a scarf when needed. ????


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Not necessarily! See, there are multiple options:

    1) You can wear the scarf until it gets too hot around your neck- and then flip it into a bag (and even fill the bag with stuff you bought or a now-too-warm jacket). The project was created because I typically leave the house in a scarf and then regret it within an hour or so...

    2) Or you could step out in the afternoon with a bag full of picnic food, eat the picnic, and then convert it to the scarf as the afternoon turns to evening and the weather cools

    3)Or, quite simply, pure novelty!