Tutorial: Scrappy Pieced Scarf

With the holiday season closing in on us, I thought some more tutorials might be useful to those of you who like to handcraft your gifts.

The first new tutorial I have for you is the basic Scrappy Pieced Scarf. This scarf can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it.  This is a great way to use up scraps in your fabric stash, and the instructions can easily be adapted for charm packs, leftover quilt blocks, or fabric strips. In the directions here, I’ll be working with simple, unpieced sections of fabric, but I encourage you to be creative and to experiment.

1. First, decide how large you want your scarf to be.  You have a lot of flexibility here, and your decision will be based on the size of the fabric scraps you’ve chosen to work with.  In my case, I had originally hoped for a finished width of 7″, but I wanted to include a stack of fabrics that were all no more than 6-1/4″ wide and in varying lengths, so I altered my plans and settled on a narrower scarf. Next, I decided that 60″ would be a nice length, but this measurement is flexible as well.

2. When you’ve decided how wide and how long your scarf will be, cut an assortment of fabric pieces in the width you’ve chosen. They can be squares or rectangles. I chose to cut rectangles, some short and some long.  Anything goes, so don’t feel like you have to be rigid and precise. If you are using leftover quilt blocks, make sure you cut them to fit the predetermined width of your scarf.

3. Arrange your pieces end to end as you’d like them to be sewn together, until you have enough pieces to achieve the length you want. Don’t forget that you’ll lose length to seam allowances, so plan accordingly and give yourself a little extra.

4. Now sew the pieces together end to end, right sides together.  I like to use a 1/4″ seam, but you should use whatever you’re comfortable with.

5. Press all the seams to one side.

6. With right side up, topstitch near each seam line, being sure you are stitching through all the seam layers that you previously pressed to one side.  This will keep all your seams flat, and will give your scarf a nicely finished look.  I like to use a slightly longer stitch length when I topstitch.

7. Repeat this process for the other side of your scarf.  For mine, I made it even more simple by using just 4 long pieces of fabric for the second side. If you like, you can use one piece of fabric for this side.

8. Place the two sides right sides together, and stitch all the way around the scarf, leaving an opening large enough for turning right side out.  I suggest making this opening large enough for your hand to fit through, so you can more easily turn the piece.

9. Clip the corners to reduce bulk, then turn right side out through the opening from the previous step.

Safety tip: When your turn a project like this right side out and are trying to get the corners nice and pointy, I strongly recommend using a chopstick or a very skinny dowel to get the job done.  Avoid using sharp, pointed scissors, as they can poke through the fabric and injure you. I badly cut myself  using scissors this way, and over 10 years later, my scar will still hurt on occasion.

10. Turn the edges of the opening to the inside and carefully press the scarf.

11. Topstitch all the way around the edge. This will sew the opening closed, as well as give a smooth finish to the edges of your scarf.

All done!  My finished scarf measures approximately 5-3/4″ wide by 62″ long. This project lends itself well to embellishment, fringe, fancy trims — whatever your imagine can come up with, so have fun with it!