How to Make a Fringe Scarf
DIY scarves are one of the easiest handmade gifts, so let’s talk about how to make a fringe scarf.
Whenever the leaves start falling off the trees, my brain turns to DIY scarves. I’ve made them from felted sweaters, fabric scraps, fleece, and just about anything that’s warm and colorful.
I recently made this fringe scarf and wanted to share my process so you can make your own. And because I like to give you options, I’m showing you 3 versions for your DIY fringe scarf
- No sew fringe scarf: 15 minutes to easy fringe joy
- Glorious double fringe: It’ll take longer to make the fringe on this lady, but there’s so.much.fringe!
- Embellish me: Make your fringe scarf extra with a few fabric scraps
Table of Contents
How to make a fringe scarf: supplies
- 1/2- 1 1/3 yards of woven fabric (we’ll talk about this wide range in the next step): wool plaid, flannel, wool blends, chambray or linen for warmer months
- big hand needle: darning needle or upholstery needle
- sewing machine + thread
- small handle needle (for embellished vershion)
How to cut a fringe scarf
How to create fringe
Fringe is created when you pull out threads along the raw edge of fabric.
You can cut a scarf either parallel to the selvage (with the grainline) or perpendicular to it (the crossgrain). If you cut on the crossgrain, you won’t need as much fabric: 1/2 yard will do here.
You will be limited by the width of the fabric, so if you’re using a narrower flannel (often under 44″ wide), definitely think about cutting it on grain.
The only thing is that on grain scarves need more fabric: 1 1/3 yards is a good amount, though you could go up to 2 yards if you want to make a skinnier scarf that loops around you more.
Either way is good here, and you can fringe any side with good results. I love the color differences in fringe made with yarn-dyed fabrics like chambrays and wool plaids!
Cut that scarf
If you cut on the cross grain, cut a rectangle 18″ wide x the full width of the fabric. Do cut off the selvages if you want to fringe them.
If you cut the scarf on the grain, cut a rectangle 18″ X 48″. The nice thing about cutting your scarf this way is that you’ll have plenty of leftover fabric if you want to make an extra scarf or two.
Version How to make a no sew fringe scarf
This is just about cheating it’s so easy.
After you’ve cut your rectangle of fabric, snip close to the where the selvage ends. Rip along the edge slowly all the way to the end.
If you’re lucky like I was with my wool plaid, it fringed itself. If not, you can easily use a darning needle to remove a couple of the threads running perpendicular to the side.
For this kind of scarf, I’d keep the fringe about 1/2″ long. It shouldn’t take much longer than 15 minutes to take out enough threads for it to take on that fringed look!
And while it is best to run either a straight stitch or a zigzag close to the edge of your fringe in the scarf body, this can be a truly no-sew project.
To keep your fringe from going wild without any extra stitching, apply a bead of Fray Block or Fray Check along the top of the fringe.
Fleece no sew fringe scarf
For an even easier no sew fringe scarf, cut first cut a scarf 18″x60″ from fleece. To make the fringe, simply cut into the edges about 2″ every 1/2″ around the scarf.
You’ll get a cozy scarf that’s great for anyone with skin sensitivities to wools.
Version 2: The Glorious Double Fringe
Press and sew the edges
Fold 1″ of fabric towards the right side along one edge and press.
Next, sew a 4.0mm width, 2.0mm length zigzag stitch right along the raw edge you just folded. Lightly press the stitches.
Cut right along the fold. Now the edge of your scarf has two layers which means more fringe!
Repeat this step for the other 3 edges.
How to form your double fringe
Now that all 4 of your sides have 2 layers sewn in place, get your big needle.
Starting at the edge, insert the needle parallel to the edge and use it to tease out a thread.
Once you pull out a thread, pull it out completely to reveal the fringe. You should be able to go through both of the layers at the same time. Keep teasing out threads and pulling them out.
This will take a little time, but it’s easy work. Grab a movie and settle down to fringe. This is totally a task made better with binge-watching.
Tips for making the best fringe on woven fabrics
- Threads can break as you’re fringing: just keep using the needle to tease out a couple threads at a time.
- My fringe is looking unruly: Periodically, trim away the threads you’re pulling out of the fabric. Trim the threads even with the other threads and keep fringing.
- How long is the fringe: You can stop fringing at at time but more fringe is going to be more luxurious. It’s good to stop just before you get to your stitching line.
Continue all around all 4 sides until you’re happy with the look of the fringe. You can fringe all the way up to your stitching line, or stop after 1/2″. You control how fringey your fringe is!
When the fringe looks good to you, you can call it a day. But if you want to embellish it….read on.
Version 3: Embellish your fringe scarf with fabric pinwheelsCut the fabric strips
These little pinwheels are similar to fabric yoyos, but they’re made from a strip of fabric. Yoyos are cut from full circles, so they’re a little bulkier with wools.
To make a fabric pinwheel, cut a strip of fabric 6″-9″ long by 1/2″-1″. Wider, longer strips will make bigger pinwheels, and narrower, shorter strips will make smaller ones. You can cut these from any scrap–don’t worry about grainlines. In fact, if you’re using a stripe, it’s fun to cut the stripes at all different angles.
For this scarf, I cut a variety of strips, and to be honest, I didn’t even measure how long my strips were. I simply gathered until I liked how full the pinwheel was.
For these, I like to work with doubled thread. So first thread your needle, then bring the ends together and knot the ends.
Starting on one edge, sew long gathering stitches about 1/4″ from the edge, moving the needle to the back then towards the front.
Pull on the stitches to gather the edge and form a small circle with the strip. Tie a knot to secure it.
To finish off the pinwheel, fold the short edge over the other short edge. Sew a few small stitches to secure the ends together. You can fold under the raw edge to make it clean or leave the free edge raw. Shoot, you could fringe the short edge and the outer edge of the pinwheel if you want! Choose your own sewing adventure here!
Continue making pinwheels until you think you have enough. About 20 will give you plenty of pinwheels for your scarf.
Arrange the pinwheels to the scarf ends. Pin them in place.
Attach the pinwheels to the scarf with small running stitches. Keep the stitches nearly invisible on the right side and about 1/4″ long on the backside.
Adding the pinwheels will take a little more time than just making you DIY fringed scarf alone, but it’ll also give it some extra sparkle.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.
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Love this. I enjoy wearing scarves. Pashminas,etc (they hide our necks on us that tend to show our age.)
I think u could also do this on hand made placemats. Thanks for the Idea.