HOW TO FINISH A FLEECE SCARF #5: FOUR TO SEW ON CONT.

Here are two more scarf finishes to be sewed on. Each is fair game for variation, so let your imagination rule. 

Pink pocket

Children (of all ages) love having nooks and crannies in which to tuck their valuables. They also appreciate having a place to warm their hands when the weather’s cold. The simplest method for adding a pocket to a fleece scarf is simply to fold up an end of the scarf 4-6″ and stitch it down on two sides. Leaving the top open creates a pocket, while leaving the side open instead creates a hand-warmer. We don’t have a photo of that, but you can go here for instructions. The pocket at left is just a bit more work, but it’s charming. Take a square of cotton quilting fabric the width of the scarf. Then sew contrasting strips around the sides. Add a 6″ fabric tube tied into a knot as a final touch. The sky’s the limit on pocket creativity; most pockets found on shirts  or aprons can work at the end of a scarf.

Faux mod strip quilt trim

Quilting tricks are fair game for decorating scarves. A simple line of squares at the bottom of a scarf can be very fetching. But because quilting is so frequently based on blocks, the possibilities are endless for creating fabric squares to fill the ends of scarves. (Fleece scarves are already somewhat bulky, so batting — if any — should be very light.) The internet is chock-full of free quilt block patterns; here’s one place to start.

The scarf at left is inspired by the new trend in mod strip quilts, especially those that juxtapose striped strips against plain backdrops. Here are one, two, three, four, five examples of such quilting. In the scarf at left, instead of sewing pieces together to make striped strips, I chose a playfully technicolor quilt cotton already patterned with chunky multicolored blocks. Then I cut it into varying lengths, pressed the edges under, affixed the strips to the fleece with double-sided fusible featherweight interfacing, and stitched them on 1/8″ all around. In imitation of quilt backings, the opposite end of the scarf has only one square on it.The final touch was to double-topstitch-on a fringe made of fat square fleece blocks in a coordinating color.

If you’re interested in exact dimensions, here they are: Scarf – 60 X 6 3/4″. Width of finished (turned-under) strips – 1 1/8″. Length of strips from left to right: 4 1/2″, 6 1/2″, 8″, and 5″. Channels: 1/2″between blocks, and between blocks and edge of scarf. Fringe blocks: 2 3/4 x 2 3/4″. However, different widths of scarf and different kinds of strip should dictate the width and placement; yours will vary.

Next post: Caterpillars and butterflies

HOW TO FINISH A FLEECE SCARF #4: FOUR TO SEW ON

Well, we just couldn’t resist getting fancier. Here are four fleece scarves, two that are hand-stitched with felt and two that are machine-stitched with quilting fabric. This post is on the two scarves on the right side of the photo, and next post will be about the two scarves on the left. Meanwhile, please join us for our Softies for Foster Kids project. All year round, we collect handmade small soft toys for foster children in local counties.

Appliqued scarves

The ends of a scarf can just scream for a little decoration, and an applique is a simple way to doll up any scarf. (Note that putting appliques elsewhere on the scarf can add unpleasantly to its bulk.) A number of web sites offer free applique designs. You can applique on only one end (as with the scottie dog in the photo) or applique on both (as with the rocket ship scarf, which has a moon and two stars on the other end.) Simple designs work great on scarves, and www.freeapplique.com is a good place to start. It’s where I got the doggie pattern.

Featherweight double-sided fusible interfacing makes it easier to place and temporarily secure the design on the scarf before attaching it more permanently with thread. Check out this extensive demo on how to applique with fusible fleece if you want all the ins and outs.

Once the applique is pinned or fused in place, it’s fine to machine-stitch. But I also like the homemade look of hand-stitching. The scottie is attached with a running stitch, while the rocket uses both running stitch and whip-stitch. These stitches leaves the edges raw, but felt doesn’t ravel, so that’s okay. People can be intimidated by the idea of stitching by hand, but in reality very simple stitches make great effects. And don’t forget rustic is in style!

Next post: Pink pocket and mod strip

 

HOW TO FINISH A FLEECE SCARF #3: FOR THE BOYS

Today’s tutorial is on how to decorate fleece scarves for boys. But first, please consider joining us in bringing softies to Foster Kids! Check out the project specifications to see how you can help. We accept donations of crafted soft toys all year round.

And now on to scarves

Two of us founders of Made with Love: Crafting for a Cause are the mothers of boys, and only boys. (One of us has only male grandchildren as well!) So, while little girls’ things are darling and sweet and awfully fun to make, I am always on the look-out for how to craft for boys. Boys need handmade love, too!

Some basics

In today’s post, I’ll talk about how to make the scarves wrapped around the sadly weathered scarecrow my son made two years ago. But first, let’s look at some basics for adapting crafts for boys. An easy way is to pick bright colors and boy-like prints. Our group’s resident 6-year-old loves day-glow red and blue. And he’s in love with anything vehicular, animal-related, paleolithic, oceanic, outer-space-related, Dr. Seuss-ish, alphabetic or numerical, or sports-absorbed, along with a wide range of other things peculiar to his own random interests and the media to which he has been exposed. He delights at spotting such things in either a print fabric or, better still, a decoration, opens a range of possibilities for ways to trim crafts. Boys can differ greatly in their interests, of course, so don’t feel limited by traditional stereotypes.

As boys age, they may gradually fall prey to the restrictions of menswear, opting for more traditional themes and more subdued colors. For some teenage boys, the only viable choice could be an unrelieved 60 X 6″ block of black fleece. They may be less fun to craft for, but we still love ‘em.

Two scarves

Camouflage fabric keeps rising in popularity, and these two scarves feature a traditional woodsy pattern. On the left-hand scarf, a simple strip has been cut and stitched down onto the scarf on all sides with a wide, dense zigzag. It’s placed about 4″ from the bottom. (Edges were left raw.) I chose the buttons to resemble men’s cargo pants.

And speaking of cargo pants, boys may especially appreciate cargo pockets, not only for the look but as a place to stash a small toy or two or to warm up hands cold from making snowballs. The pocket in the photo is copied off cargo pants and is fairly simple as pockets go. Here’s a formula to use: First make the square that comprises the main part of the pocket. Cut a square of fabric the width of the scarf plus 1″. For a scarf 6″ wide, the rectangle would be 7 X 7″. Turn it under 1/2″ on three sides and iron. On the fourth side, turn it under 1/2″ and iron, then turn it under another 1 1/2″ and iron again. Stitch down the fourth side 1 1/4″ from the top. For a six-inch-wide scarf, the piece should now be 5 X 6″, a bit wider than it is tall. Sew a small square piece of sew-on Velcro (R) or similar product onto the fourth side of the scarf at the top middle.

Next, make the flap for the pocket. Cut a rectangular piece of fabric the width of the scarf plus 1″ on one side by 5″ on the other. For a six-inch-wide scarf, this would be 7″ X 5″. Fold in half lengthwise with the right sides of the fabric together and straight-stitch the short ends together 1/2″ from the edge. Trim the corners, turn, and iron. Top-stitch the three sides with a line of stitching 1/8″ from the edge and another 3/8″ in from that. For the fourth side, the one with raw edges, zig-zag with a dense wide stitch to prevent raveling. For that six-inch-wide scarf, the piece is now 6 X 2 1/2″. Fold the zig-zag side under 1/2″ and iron. You now have a 2″-deep flap for the pocket.

Sew the main pocket piece onto the bottom 6″ of the scarf using a double-line of stitching as described above; leave the top side unattached. Then place the zig-zagged edge of the flap about 1/4″ above the top edge of the main pocket. Straight-stitch in place 1/8″ from the edge. Iron the entire pocket. Lift up the flap and stitch on the matching piece of Velcro (R) at the appropriate spot. (To be traditional, sew around the edges and then put a big X from corner to corner.) There–your boy pocket is finished. If this whetted your appetite for something more complicated, try these upscale cargo pockets.

And don’t forget to keep crafting for boys.

Next week: We get fancier.

HOW TO FINISH A FLEECE SCARF #2: WEAVING FLEECE

Welcome back to adventures in fleece scarves. Continuing with easy finishes, here we discuss how to weave fleece strips into scarves. This technique is maximally simple and versatile. The advantages of fleece strips (over, say, fabric, yarn, or ribbon) is that they move with the scarf and feel the same as the rest of the scarf against the skin. And as always, fleece doesn’t need to be finished at the edge, making fleece weaving a simple way to doll up a scarf.

The basics

The scarf at left couldn’t be simpler to make. First cut the scarf about 56-60″ long and 6-8″ wide. Then make slits the width of your fleece strips and space them as far apart as appeals to you. The scarf in the photo has strips 3/4″ wide with slits spaced 2″ apart. Weave the fleece in and out of the slits, making sure that in the end the strips and the scarf don’t pull against each other.

Finish with a simple overhand knot, which can be either on the wrong side or the right side of the fabric; either looks great. Just make sure the knot is bulky enough; it may be necessary to tie another knot over the top of the first to ensure that the knot doesn’t pull back through the slit.

Variations I

A few tweaks in the fleece strips can add some lovely variety to a scarf. In the third photo, to the left, we see what it looks like to change the width of the strip in proportion to the strip through which it passes.

In example 1, the strip is the same width as the slit in the scarf, as it was in the first example (the white scarf with the Hawaiian print strips). In the second example, the wider strip make a sort of balloon effect. In the third example, the strip is wider than the slits, but it is pulled so it forms a sort of roll. Each of these can be fetching, depending upon what look you want.

The black scarf at left shows a few other options. At the bottom is a fleece strip that has been twisted before it is threaded through the slits. Notice that the strip goes from narrower, at the left, to wider, at the right, to illustrate the different effects to be gotten by varying the width. At the top of the photo the strips are woven through the slits using a whip-stitch. (See video on how to whip-stitch.) Again, the strips are narrower at the left and wider at the right (where they bunch a bit going through the slits). Choose whichever you prefer.

Variations II

Don’t think that your only option is making vertical lines parallel to the length of the scarf. You can fill up most of the scarf with strips, if you wish. Then think in terms of varying the length of the strips. Then consider going horizontal or diagonal, or making squares or triangles. The sky–or rather, your imagination–is the limit.

Next week: Don’t forget the guys.