Twisted Scarf-making From Old Clothes




Introduction: Twisted Scarf-making From Old Clothes

Scarves can be pretty handy, from lassoing culprits or clothes-lining villains, to even keeping your neck warm.

Have some old, incredibly comfy shirts lying around? You never have to say goodbye to those great memories (and possibly stains) by retiring them if you make them into something else!

I was going to make a normal ol' double-sided tube scarf, then wanted to try something a bit more interesting. After some plotting, a pretty comfy twisted scarf was born, which promptly began to breathe fire and has been hiding under my desk ever since.*

This was pretty easy to finish in a couple hours, and I am no expert when it comes to sewing. Plus, if you own a sewing machine, this is an entirely free project.
This is my first instructable of ever, so I appreciate any comments and suggestions. If any of you make one of these it would be awesome to see your results! 

*Some of these statements may be questionable.

Step 1: Materials

To make your very own, you will need:

Fabric. - I used 2 shirts, but any type of fabric you have lying around and want against your neck works.
A sewing machine, unless you want this project to take a very long time.
A straight edge
Ruler/measuring tape/measuring device

Construction can range from simple to nerdy, depending on how exact you want your measurements to be. For more exact measurements, a protractor and calculator would be useful as well.

Step 2: Plotting

Firstly, as this isn't quite as easy to measure as an ordinary rectangular scarf, think about how wide and long you want your scarf to be. I wanted mine to be about 6 inches wide, and about as tall as me. These dimensions will be important in a minute.

We will be making each shirt into a long strip of fabric. For my scarf, I wanted 2 kinds of shirt winding around each other. I made 2 long shirt strips of equal width, but you don't have to. (3 strips? 4? All different widths and different colours? Awesome.)

We want our scarf, BEFORE it is sewed into a tube, to look like (1). Notice the slanted top: the angle controls how 'twisted' your scarf will be. The steeper (closer to vertical) this angle is, the tighter the twisting will be. This means that you will need a longer piece of fabric before sewing it into a tube.
[Think about 2 springs: a tightly wound spring and a loosely wound one. Even if they are the same length when coiled, if you stretch them out ALL the way (until they look like a piece of wire), the tightly wound one will be longer.]

If you are nerdy like me, you can pick an angle that you would like (I used 45 degrees). Eyeballing works too, as long as the slants are the same for the top and bottom.

Step 3: Extra Plotting

A couple points to remember:
-The final width of your scarf will be HALF of the length of the slanted top.
-If you imagine your parallelogram as a rectangle with a triangle stuck on either end, the final length of your scarf will be the length of that rectangle in the middle. Depending on how steep those stuck-on triangles are, they can add a lot or a little to the length you need overall.

If you are planning to eyeball the exact width of the long pieces of cloth, you can skip to the next step. If not, here's some math for ye! (I hope I don't bore you too much...)

Using a little handy-dandy trigonometry, we know the width is the cosine of the angle, multiplied by the length of the slanted top. In my case, having a 45 degree slant and wanting a scarf 6 inches wide (making the slanted top 12 inches), I would use:
cos(45 degrees) x 12 inches.
This results in about 8.5 inches as the width of our long piece of cloth. I made my long shirt-strips of equal widths: half of 8.5 is 4.25 inches.....Though I rounded up to 5 inches to account for the seams. (2 decimal have to be kidding.)

If you want to find how much each triangle adds to the overall length, you can use this time the sine of the angle, multiplied by the slanted top. (In my case it is the exact same as the width, so add about 8.5 inches added to each end.) OR, if you prefer pythagoras, go for it. 

Step 4: Sewing Time.

To start off, I cut the t-shirts into strips 5 inches wide and sewed them together, until I had one long strip of each kind of shirt. 

I didn`t worry too much about measuring the length of each small strip. Once they were sewed together into a long strip about 20 inches taller than me, I stopped adding to them. Depending on how tightly coiled and how long you want your scarf to be, you may want to add more fabric.

Once you have your long strips, put them face-to-face and edge-to-edge, and sew ONE of the edges. Now you have a long piece of fabric with 2 long stripes (or more, if you so chose). 

Step 5:

Now comes angling the ends. You can do this whichever way you choose - protractor, eyeball, etc. As you can see from my pictures I ended up with one end of differing lengths, so I used a protractor at the meeting of the shirt-fabrics. 

To get the same angle for the other end, either measure again OR fold the angled end over, making sure to TWIST it before laying it down. (You want to end up with a parallelogram, not a trapezoid.)

Step 6:

NOW comes the twisted part!
Pick an end to start from. You want to sew the 'point' of the angle to the less pointed other side.

**Notice how in the first picture here, you want to fold and sewaway from yourself so that you don't end up with the final result being a combination of inside/rightside out. 

Once you've started sewing at the corner, continue down the whole scarf. I found pinning it was a bad idea, and just went slowly and pulled the two edges together as I went. You might end up with a big tangle coming out of your sewing machine, but just focus on making those seams meet and sewing them together.

Keep going once you reach the end. In a perfect situation the 'point' and 'lesser point' -s of the edge will meet up, but it really depends on the accuracy of your measuring and how stretchy the fabric is. Don't worry if they don't meet up - I found it was pretty forgiving. Even though mine didn't meet up by a couple of inches, it is barely noticeable that the one end is a bit narrower than the other.

Step 7: Finishing Up

Next, time to hem the ends a bit if you so choose....then...congrats! Time to turn it rightside-out and see how it looks!

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! This is probably the coolest scarf I've ever seen