Friday, September 16, 2011


For the past two years, stretch jersey fabric has been the bane of my crafting existence. Thanks to stretch jersey, I swore off using my sewing machine for the past two years. Then I saw these scarves on Pinterest. Pinterest is going to be the end of me. I know this now. However, for once, I do believe my obsession with Pinterest has paid off. Not only did I buy two new yards of jersey fabric this week, I hauled out my sewing machine again. To sew jersey fabric no less!!!

If you've never worked with stretch jersey (or probably any stretchy knit), you have no idea how insane it can make a person. I have no idea how those participants on Project Runway can deal with jersey over and over (by choice) under that sort of pressure. I would never last a second. It can get caught in the sewing machine teeth (the things that pull your fabric along as you sew), it can pull or snag while you're stitching it. Don't even get me started on the pain it is to cut the stuff (unless you have one of those sweet rotary cutting tools...which I may need to get soon). So I decided to give it another chance, and it was worth it. I was patient and in the end no one was hurt and I didn't threaten to burn all the jersey fabric in the world in a large molten pit along with my sewing machine.

So here are the two items of inspiration, which also came with tutorials.

I read through this tutorial.

And I read through this tutorial.

And then, as usual, I just made something up as I went along.

Stuff you'll need:
a sewing machine (although you could do it by hand)
scissors (or if you're awesome, you can use your rotary cutter)
jersey fabric (it's expensive...just FYI...about $14 a yard or so)

So here is my tutorial (be sure to read through carefully, and then later I would):


My fabric (two yards) was 60 inches wide (standard bolt width) by 72 inches long (two yards). I wanted to get three scarves out of that cut of fabric so I CAREFULLY cut it into three sections of 20 inches wide.

For each of those 20 inch sections, I cut another three strips. I needed one for the bulk of the scarf and two for the braids. I just went with 10 inches, 6 inches, and 4 inches. You can mix it up however you want but I would suggest sticking between 8-10 inches on the widest piece.

So, you leave your 10 inch piece alone, but you need to cut the two smaller strips so that you can braid them. If you notice in the image above, I didn't cut all the way to the end on these strips. It's easier to braid if one end hasn't been cut. This way you can stick that end under something heavy like a book or pin it to something so it stays put while you braid the rest of it.
So braid your two narrow strips and you end up with something like this (I rolled it up for the purpose of this photo but you can see the two ends at the bottom of the photo...the ends that I didn't cut all the way through. It's sort of Rapunzel-esque.

So after the braiding is done, you need to lay things out to sew. Here are the ends of the scarf. You have a braid (1), a solid piece (2), and a braid (3) and that same thing on the other end (4, 5, 6). With all the braiding, the solid piece ends up being longer than the braided pieces. That's okay. You can snip that off because you'll need it later.

So now you need to sew (by hand or with the machine). Just lay out a braid, then on top of it the solid piece, then a braid. I started with the braids that had the un-cut ends (numbers 4 and 6 above) since I figured they'd be easier to sew and I was trying to manage my jersey-rage. Just lay the three pieces stacked together on the sewing machine and stitch away! It doesn't have to be pretty because you won't see it in the finished product.
It's not your monitor. Yes, this scarf is brown. I made a brown one first out of a scrap of jersey
I had from the jersey-rage project of 2009.
Then do that same thing for the other end, so you have both ends of the scarf sewn closed. Next you need to sew them together to make the scarf into a loop.

Both ends of the scarf have been sewn closed. 

Lay one of the ends on top of the other so they overlap a little, and then sew the whole thing to form a loop scarf.
Finally, take that little piece you cut from the solid piece of fabric earlier (the tutorial image with the numbers on it), and use it to cover the sewn ends. I rolled my ends a little as I was pulling this piece of fabric around them because I felt it would have a better fit around your neck that way and keep the whole thing from being too bulky when you wear it looped around your neck twice.

Just pin it and stitch it closed by hand. 
And then you're done!

And thanks to the Princess of Pumpkin Spice for help with the photos!


Candy said...

Nice job! And love the tutorial ~

duchessofginger said...

Glad the jersey fabric rage is over cause I LOVE these! And that second picture with the pumpkin colored fabric needs to happen asap!

rro said...

LOVE this! Will be trying ASAP!

Katherine Uhrin said...

This is amazing! Will be doing this soon:) Thanks for the tutorial!

Pollywog's Blog said...

Try for better deals on jersey! I've bought from them for years-- their fabric is fantastic.

Taylor'd to Us said...

love! just an FYI, to avoid spending a lot on jersey fabric, hit up your local thrift store and look for size L, XL, or XXL mens jersey t-shirts. I find them all the time for my scarfs and they are like 1.00. :)

Debbie Warren said...

Love your tutorial! And the scarf is really pretty, too.
Just so you know to help tame your jersey rage: there is strechable fabric glue available in the same stores that sell jersey. Never have to sew it at all!

joy said...

So pretty! How would you hand sew the scarf? I don't have a sewing machine