Welcome to my 'bubble' scarf Instructable!
Most scarves seem to be either knitted or, if sewn, quite flat, so I decided I wanted to try and add a bit of dimension to a scarf. A personal DIY challenge for me :)
So I came up with this design which is padded throughout and has 'bubbles' or cylinders of stuffing for most of the length. The result is really warm and comfy so I'm pleased I tried this method.
I hope you enjoy reading.
Step 1: What You Will Need
- Fabric; One of the fabrics I used was a light grey sweatshirt knit fabric that is on the thicker side, and is soft & fleecey on one side. The other fabric was a thinner dark grey fine jersey fabric. Both have a very slight stretch. Note that the stretchier the fabric, the harder it is to work with, so try and choose fabrics with only a little stretch in them.
- Sewing machine; Threaded with either a matching thread or contrast thread (I went for a contrast so it is easier to see in the tutorial).
- Fastenings; the scarf will wrap once around your neck and then back fasten onto the scarf...you can do this with snap fastenings like me, or use a decorative brooch, or even Velcro.
- Stuffing & batting/wadding; I went for a polyester stuffing that is used to stuff toys, and a thick polyester wadding that is normally used in quilts. You'll only need a small amount of these items.
- Sewing pins
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat (or fabric scissors)
- Ruler (preferably a 30 cm/12" length ruler and a metre/yard length ruler)
- Disappearing fabric pen and/or a chalk marker for making marks on your fabric
- Iron & ironing board
Step 2: Cut Out Your Fabric Pieces
I cut out a 26.5 x 6.5" piece of my light grey fabric, which is going to be the back/inside of my scarf.
I arrived at this length by placing a tape measure around my neck the same as how I would wear this scarf, and adding that measurement to 0.5", plus the number of inches I want by scarf to overlap by.
The height of the scarf is literally how high you want the scarf to sit - bearing in mind that it is padded and so will sit upright - plus 0.5".
I cut out a 32 x 6.5" piece of my dark grey jersey, which is going to be the front of my scarf.
This is longer than the piece of fabric for the back of the scarf due to the fact that this piece will be ruffled/pleated and will end up the same size as the back piece of fabric by the end.
I placed the front fabric on top of the back fabric so that the pieces lined up at one end. You want the right (front) sides of the fabrics together (facing each other).
Step 3: Adding the Pleats
We are now going to add pleats to the front fabric, which in my case is the dark grey fabric.
Measure 1.5" from the end of the scarf where the fabrics are lined up, and make a mark with either a disappearing fabric pen or a chalk marker.
Then draw a little line 0.25" either side of this mark.
Pinch the fabric edge together so that the fabric folds along the central line you have drawn.
Fold this section of fabric over along the line to the left of the central mark (so this peak of fabric points towards the nearest end of the fabric), and pin it down. This creates a pleat which measures 0.25" across and removes a total of 0.5" from the length of the fabric.
Repeat this again, but from now on we're placing the pleats 2" apart.
So measure 2" to the right from the pinned-down edge of the last pleat you made. Again, draw a little line and then a line 0.25" either side.
Pinch the fabric edge together along the central line, fold over 0.25" to the left and pin down. This pleat should look just the same as the last one.
It's up to your how many pleats you want, but I did a total of 11 pleats.
Step 4: Repeat on the Other Side
You then add pleats in exactly the same way on the opposite edge of the fabric.
You'll know you've done this right if the pleats line up and are at exactly the same positions along each of the long edges.
Once you have finished, the other end of the 2 fabrics should now roughly meet up (or thereabouts).
Use a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat (or scissors) to cut this end of the fabric(s) so that they both line up perfectly. I had to cut off a thin strip of the light grey fabric.
Make sure you cut this edge square (i.e. at 90 degrees).
Step 5: Sew Along Each Long Edge
Now that the pleats have all been pinned in place, it's time to stitch down both of the long edges.
I used a 3-step zigzag stitch for this, as I like the look of it and it's good for knit/stretch fabrics. I also used a ball-point needle in my sewing machine, which is good for using with knit fabrics.
I simply started at one end and stitched in a straight line all the way along, remembering to do a reinforcement/backwards stitch at the beginning and end to secure the thread.
Be careful to remove the pins as you go so that you don't sew over them.
Another tip is to sew over the pleats slowly going from the unpleated end first. This will mean that you definitely avoid catching the pleats in your presser foot.
Step 6: Turn Right-Sides Out
You have now sewn a ruffled/pleated tube, and now you need to turn it right-sides out.
Then use an iron to flatten the pleats and the edges to make the scarf a lot easier to handle. I also laid the pleats out flat as shown in the photo, just to make the next steps easier.
Step 7: Sew Along One End
At the pleated end of the fabric tube, mark a line 0.5" from the end.
I pinned the edges together and then stitched along the line using a stretch stitch, however in hindsight I should have folded in the raw edges before doing this to make a neater seam. I don't know why I left the raw edges visible but learn from my mistake!
Step 8: Stuffing the Scarf
In the first photo you can see the polyester stuffing I am using for this step. I've also (mainly for demonstration purposes) marked in chalk the halfway points between the pleats. These are the points between which we will now be stitching.
First, take a small amount of stuffing and push it into the fabric tube so it goes right to the bottom. The idea is to add enough to fill out the first pleat in the scarf and create a sort of cylinder shape. You don't want to overstuff it as that will make it difficult to sew next to, and will make it difficult to contain the stuffing. You don't want to underfill either, though, as then the scarf will look a bit baggy and limp.
Add sewing pins next to this stuffed section, in a straight line, with the start and end of this line being approximately halfway between the 1st and 2nd pleats.
Then sew (topstitch) across the scarf along this line, making sure not to sew over these pins. There is an element of freehand sewing at this point, but just try and keep sewing in a straight line and try and make all of your stitched lines parallel. The first few might be a bit tricky but you'll get the hang of it!
I used 3-step zigzag stitch again for this sewing.
You then need to repeat this for each of the 11 pleats to give you a squishy and cosy scarf. It kind of reminds me of those air pockets you get sometimes as protective packaging!
Step 9: Add the Wadding
Next, cut out a section of wadding that is just slightly smaller than the area of the tube that is still empty.
Insert the wadding into this section of the tube and pin the end closed, making sure to turn the raw edges inwards first.
Sew along this edge using a stretch stitch.
Now all the parts of the scarf are stuffed and will keep you warm in the cold weather :)
Step 10: Add a Fastening & Finish!
I stitched a few snap fastenings in a line on the inside of the scarf, positioning them to my preference.
The scarf has a short amount of overlap, and of course if you want more or less you can build that into the project by changing the sizes of the fabric pieces you start with.
You could use another fastening of your choosing instead...even an ornamental brooch.
I have to say that having the fleecey side of the fabric on the inside, and having the scarf totally padded really makes it feel warm and cosy. Plus, when the wind is icy, you can pull it further up over your face easily too!
I hope you have enjoyed this project, and thanks for reading.
Runner Up in the
Warm and Fuzzy Contest