How to Make Three Buttoning Designs from Fringed Scarves

comments (3) March 20th, 2009     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
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The fringe from the original scarves make for interesting design elements in your new pieces.
I made three styles, but you can use your creative powers to invent your own designs, too!
A boring white scarf becomes a fun scarflet with some choice vintage buttons.
The fringe from the original scarves make for interesting design elements in your new pieces.

The fringe from the original scarves make for interesting design elements in your new pieces.

Photo: Lee Meredith
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Plain fringed scarves are so common and cheap, but what crafter wants to wear a plain scarf like that? By adding some fun vintage buttons from your stash, you can convert a simple scarf into a cool scarflet or buttoning cowl-type accessory—so much better! I'll show you a few different ways of constructing your new neckpiece, but depending on your particular scarf size, you may need to make some changes to make it work. Play around with what you have to work with and feel free to stray from my methods and turn it into your own design!

For each style, you'll need:

  • A scarf with fringe
  • Buttons (as many as you want to use)
  • Needle and thread

In all of my designs, there was no cutting involved and no machine sewing. If I ever decided I wanted one of these scarves to be back in normal scarf mode, I could snip the buttons off, untie some knots, and have an unharmed scarf. This might be important to you if you have a scarf you really love and you don't want to risk destroying it. But if you want to take any of these ideas further and break out the scissors and sewing machine, go for it!


My first version was made with a scarf measuring about 4.5 feet by 6 inches.

First style:
To check if this style will work well with your scarf, fold the scarf in half and put it around your neck like this:


If your halved scarf overlaps like this around your neck, it will make a great scarflet!

So if it's a good size, keep it folded in half, and tie the fringe together. Start at one end, tying the end fringe strands from each scarf end to each other, then work your way up, fastening the two ends of your scarf together.


Tie the fringe of one end of your scarf to the fringe on the other side, one knot at a time.

You should now have a tube, which you'll flatten out and treat as one piece of fabric, with the fringe on one end.


If you want to embellish your scarflet further, you could sew the long edges together with a contrasting thread.

Next, turn some of that fringe into your buttonholes. Decide how many buttons you want to use, and count the fringe on your scarf. Figure out how to evenly space the buttonholes, and tie pairs of fringe to each other again, but with the new knots at the tips. Each buttonhole will be a pair of fringe strands, one from each end of the scarf, tied together once at the base and again at the tips, forming a loop.


The easiest way to make a knot at the tip is to tie it more in the middle, then tighten it from below in the loop center, moving the knot to the top.

Once you have your buttonholes, lay out the scarflet the way it will close around your neck, lining up the edges the way you'll want it to fit.


Try it on again to check how to position it if you need to.

Now all you need to do is pick out your buttons and sew them on! I chose all shank-type buttons because the loop buttonholes fit around that style better. If you want to use sew-through-type buttons, make sure they are big enough so the loops won't slip off easily.


Big, fat shank buttons like this vintage orange one work great with the fringe loops.

Try on your new scarflet and admire the extreme style improvement with that small amount of work! And, of course, adding some extra embroidery, appliqué, topstitching, or any other embellishments of your choice would personalize your neckpiece further!


I love using huge, mismatched buttons!

Second style:
This style has the scarf wrapping around your neck as many times as needed for the two ends to just touch, making for a fitted cowl. Make sure your scarf is a good length for this—wrap it around your neck with the two ends meeting in front (so there will be some twisting in the back), and make sure it's fitted but not too tight. (My scarf here was the same size as the first one, about 4.5 feet by 6 inches.)


The scarf is twisted around itself in the back so that the two ends can meet on top in the front.

To make this version, simply tie three pairs of fringe strands so they're knotted at the tips to make loops, two on one end of the scarf and one on the other end. On the first side, tie the two endmost fringe strands to each other on each end so you have two loops on the two scarf corners. On the other side, find the centermost pair of fringe strands and tie them together.


Let the rest of the fringe just hang loose as a design element of the cowl.

Sew on buttons opposite the loops, as seen in the photo above. For this one, I used large sew-through buttons. As in the first version, make sure your buttons are not too small for the loops to hold on to. Then try on your new accessory—wrap it around your neck, position the two ends on top in the front (or a little off-center), and button it up!


You can leave all the fringe tucked in for a more subtle look, or pull it all out for a fringy style.

Third style:
This one will work best with a wider scarf—mine is about 1 foot wide by about 5 feet long. It's basically just a much larger version of the first style, with the whole scarf overlapping on itself like that instead of the halved scarf.


You could definitely use more than four buttons with this style if you want.

To make it, use the same knotted fringe loops as buttonholes technique to make as many loops as you want, and sew the buttons on accordingly. It should be overlapping so that the two fringed edges are at a 90-degree angle, each lined up parallel to the side edge from the other side. There are two ways you can wear this style: You can wear it as a kind of shawl/poncho to keep your shoulders warm...


You could add an extra button up where the bottom layer should stay so it doesn't slip down.

...Or you can pull it up from the back, twist it behind your neck, and pull it down over your head to create a cozy cowl with cute buttony features.


Love it!

 

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posted in: fabric, buttons, scarf, cowl, scarflet

Comments (3)

MissBeadAlot writes: I love this!
Posted: 8:45 pm on July 5th
croqzine writes: Great ideas, Lee!
Posted: 3:16 am on April 2nd
theemptynest writes: Love this design idea! So creative and inexpensive. You can make the scarves from fleece and get an even more custom look. Will be making some very soon. Thanks Lee!
Posted: 7:19 am on March 20th
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