A Franken-scarf is made from jersey fabric - sometimes old t-shirts - sometimes jersey top sheets - any fabric that is comfy and could be given a second life.
The basic idea - put two long pieces of fabric together with some stabilizer inbetween - serge or sew around the edges - then, drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine and go crazy with some free-motion embroidery.
If you already own a sewing machine and/or serger, this project can be completed for under $10 (the cost of the thread and stabilizer).
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Step 1: Cut Fabric Into Strips
The perfect scarf width and length really depends on your preferences. As a general guide, I like to make them as long as I am tall and about eight (8) inches wide.
I use a mat with a rolling cutter and a ruler but you don't have to -- just cut two strips that are the same length. If you would like a multi-colored Franken-scarf, you can sew smaller strips of different colored t-shirts together to make two long strips that are approximately the same length.
Step 2: Add Stabilizer and Pin
Get some tear away stabilizer. Put it between the two pieces of fabric and trim the edges. Pin the three layers together. This will ensure that your fabric doesn't bunch up and pucker when you do the free-motion embroidery part of this project.
Tear away stabilizer on Amazon.com.
Don't worry if your scarf seems stiff and unwearable at this point. Once you wash it once, the stabilizer will soften and become more like cotton batting in a quilt -- squooshy and comfy.
Step 3: Serge or Sew Around the Edges
If you own a serger, serge the edges of your Franken-scarf -- removing the pins as you go.
If you just own a sewing machine, just sew a straight line around the edges of the scarf on your sewing machine. If you leave an inch or so border, when you wash it, the edges will curl up and look finished.
Step 4: Drop Your Feed Dogs
This step prepares your sewing machine for free-motion embroidery. Feed dogs are the little grabbers that come up through the metal plate (circled in the image) and feed your fabric through the sewing machine in a straight line. If you drop them, you will be able to move the fabric around freely as you sew.
If you're not sure where your feed dogs are, consult your sewing machine manual. Failing that, check for a lever at the back of the machine.
Step 5: Insert Free-Motion Embroidery Foot
You can purchase a special foot for free-motion embroidery or, if you just want to test out the technique to see if you like it -- just take the foot off your sewing machine altogether.
If you sew without a foot -- just be very careful to sew slowly and watch your fingers.
If you purchase a Free Motion Embroidery foot make sure you get the correct shank type for your machine. They come in Low Shank and Slant Shank.
Step 6: Go Crazy and Free-Motion Your Pants Off
Now just sew. Sew all over. Sew in circles. Sew in lines. Sew in different colors. Just sew everywhere on the scarf - in whatever pattern (or non pattern) you think looks good.
Sometimes I sew back and forth in lines that look like tree bark. Sometimes I sew all over in big loopy circles. Sometimes I do both on the same scarf. If you look at what you've done and you don't think it looks so hot -- just sew some more over it. Use contrasting thread - or thread that matches your material.
Trust me; it all looks good.
Step 7: Wash It - Then, Admire Your Franken-scarf
The final step in the process is to wash your Franken-scarf to soften the stabilizer. Wash it like you would a t-shirt. It's okay to wash on warm and just throw in the dryer. The more you wash it, the better it will look.
Now you get to admire how awesome your new scarf is. And wear it somewhere. And have other people tell you how awesome it is. Remember to say, "thank you."
Finalist in the
Sew Warm Contest