With the summer’s end rapidly approaching I am looking forward to all the coziness of fall. Early fall is what I like to consider the beginning of quilt snuggling season, aka the season where I spend as much time as possible swaddled in quilts. Unfortunately, it isn’t appropriate for me to go about every aspect of my life wrapped up like a quilt burrito. So, that’s where this patchwork infinity scarf comes in!
This patchwork infinity scarf tutorial checks lots of project boxes for me. It is quick and easy to make, a total scrap buster, and the project is extremely versatile (check, check, and check!). A handmade quilted scarf could make the perfect gift for a friend, or become the go-to transition season staple in your closet.
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Let’s Talk About Fabric
Before you dive right into constructing your new cozy accessory, let's consider the fabrics we are going to use. Infinity scarves are effortlessly chic and the perfect easy-to-wear accessory. This effect is achieved due to the drape of the material.
Scarves come in a variety of materials, from gauzy silks to chunky knits, and with those materials come different levels of drape. Consider scarves you own and like to wear. For me, my favorite fall scarves have a little bit of body, or bulk, but are still flexible and hang easily when wrapped around my neck.
This is all extra relevant when making a patchwork infinity scarf. Traditionally quilted items have three layers of material—the quilt front, the center layer (usually batting), and the quilt back. This means there are three layers of fabric that will affect the drape of our patchwork infinity scarf.
For the patchwork front of my scarf, I knew I was going to use primarily quilting cottons from my scrap bin. So I decided to use double gauze as my scarf backing material, for its loose drape and incredibly cuddly texture. This just left my center “batting” layer as my wild card, in terms of drape.
Fabric Drape Experiments
I conducted some experiments by spray basting a scrap of quilting cotton and double gauze to various center layers, like tiny quilt sandwiches, to see how the flexibility and drape would be affected.
As you can see from the photo above, traditional batting as the center layer was quite bulky. It greatly reduced the drape. I also considered using white quilting cotton as my center layer. But ultimately I decided to use a second layer of double gauze in place of batting.
I liked the flexibility and softness of this combination the best. I highly recommend you conduct some experiments like this before settling on materials for your patchwork infinity scarf. You could even try using no center layer to see if you like that drape best!
Patchwork Infinity Scarf Materials
- Scarf top fabric: This is the perfect project for dipping into your scrap bin. You'll need enough fabric to create an 8" x 72" patchwork scarf front, which equates to a little less than two fat quarters worth of scraps. The size of the pieces you decide to incorporate into your patchwork is going to affect the fabric requirements. I recommend grabbing a little more fabric than you think you will need to start. Better to have a little too much than not enough. And the extra can go right back into the scrap bin!
- Backing fabric: 7" x 70" (probably two 7" x Width of Fabric (WOF) cuts, assuming you are working with a standard width fabric). I used this lovely double gauze from Kasey Free’s Botanica collection for Paintbrush Studios.
- Center “batting” layer: 8" x 72". I used white double gauze, but some other great options could be flannel, quilting cotton, or flexible batting, depending on how bulky you want your finished scarf to be. Click here for Suzy's favorite place to order double gauze!
- Basting spray or pins
- Cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
- Hera marker or water soluble pen
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Straight pins or binding clips
- Iron and Ironing board
Step 1: Assemble Your Patchwork Infinity Scarf Top
Let’s get quilty! The first thing you need to do is assemble an 8" x 72" scarf top. I opted to do some simple improv patchwork piecing here, to make the best use of my scraps, but go wild! Your scarf design can be anything you want.
The main thing you want to consider with your scarf top is the size of the pieces you are using. The smaller the pieces you incorporate, the more seams you will be adding, which adds bulk and reduces your drape.
You could also choose to use a single piece of 8" x 72" fabric, like the examples above, if a scrappy look isn’t your style.
Step 2: Baste and Quilt
Baste your scarf top to only the center material of your scarf using your preferred basting method. Because I used double gauze in the middle of my scarf, instead of batting, I found that spray basting and then lightly pressing my scarf front and double gauze center with an iron worked really well.
The goal here is to retain some flowiness in our scarf backing, rather than having it all be quilted together which would be stiffer.
Quilt as desired, keeping in mind that the denser you quilt the more structure you are adding to your scarf. This is a great time to play with textures by using different thread weights, hand quilting, or maybe even tying the front and center together. After you are finished quilting, trim your quilted scarf top down to 7" x 70".
Step 3: Sew Backing Fabric Pieces Together
Unless you are working with some extra wide fabric, you will likely need to join two pieces together to achieve the desired length for your scarf backing.
Take two 7" x WOF cuts and sub-cut each down to 35 1/4" long. Place your two long pieces on top of one another, right sides together (RST) and sew along one of the 7" edges with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seam open to reduce bulk.
Step 4: Sew Scarf Side Seams
Place your quilted scarf top and 70" long backing piece RST, pinning or clipping together along both long sides. Sew together with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Optional step: finish your two long side seams with a serger, overlocking foot, or zigzag stitch.
Step 5: Turn Scarf Tube Right Side Out
You’re basically done! I told you this is a quick make. It’s time to turn our scarf tube right side out. I was able to stick my arm all the way through my tube. Grab the opposite end, and turn it right side out.
If you aren’t able to turn your scarf right side out with just your hand, try attaching a safety pin to one end and working it through the tube from the outside. This will feed the attached end through your scarf and voila! Your scarf is right side out!
Step 6: Join Ends of Scarf Together
So now you have an almost finished regular scarf on your hands, but I promised you a patchwork infinity scarf, so that’s where we are headed. An infinity scarf is a closed loop, so we need to join the two unfinished edges of the scarf together.
Using pins or clips, attach the two front pieces of your scarf RST, plus about an inch on either side of the two front pieces. Stitch with a ¼” seam allowance, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your line of stitches.
You should now have about two thirds of your scarf ends joined together. Finish the remaining third either by hand or machine. Because of the loose weave of double gauze, I felt stitching the end closed with my machine along the outside edge of the hole was a more durable, albeit less seamless, option.
If you are working with a fabric with a tighter weave you should be able to achieve a fairly seamless look with hand stitching.
Step 7: Style Your Patchwork Infinity Scarf
You are now in possession of the perfect fall accessory! Your patchwork infinity scarf is both stylish and cozy, and when you’re asked where you got it you can tell people you made it yourself. As promised, this is a satisfyingly quick make, so you may even find yourself offering to make them one! Or perhaps a matching quilted coat for yourself?
How would you style a patchwork infinity scarf? And what other cozy quilted accessories would you like to see tutorials for? Let us know in the comments!