TUTORIAL: Winter Button Scarf

by Dana on January 30, 2013

I don’t wear scarves very often.  In fact, I rarely get the chance to wear my fun orange coat!  Cause Texas is more about the warm months than the cold ones.

But since I was headed to Utah last week, I jumped at the chance to give the Summer Scarf a winter twist.

I used warm cozy fabrics, bundled it around my neck a few times, and added a chunky button. Done!

Here’s what you do….

• You need about a 1/2 yard of 1 or 2 fabrics.  If you have a serger, you can make a single layered scarf.  If you don’t have a serger we’ll make a double-layered cozy one.
Types of Fabric: soft cottons, flannel, knits, light-weight and non-scratchy wools
For this polka dot scarf I used quilting cotton on top (from Joanns) and cream colored flannel on the bottom.

• Cut 2 rectangle strips from each fabric, 42×5 inches each (or whatever size you’d like; these are the dimensions I used)
• Sew the two dot strips together, then sew the two flannel strips together.

• With right sides of the fabric together, pin the two strips together and trim the edges so they’re curved (optional; it just looks cute).
• Leave an opening in the scarf so you can turn it right-side out when you’re done sewing (similar to making a pillow).  Mark this opening with pins so you have a Start and Stop point for sewing.

• Staring at the Start point, sew the two fabrics together all the way down, around the curves and back up to the Stop point.
• Clip the curved ends in the seam so the curves will lay flat when turned right-side out.
• Turn the scarf right-side out.  The best way to do this is to stick your arm in the opening and pull each end out.

Now as much as you want to….resist the urge to iron the seams flat.  I know. It’s hard!  I’m always encouraging you to press.   But if you leave it as-is, the scarf will ruffle a bit nicer.
• Pin the opening closed and sew it closed.

Time to ruffle!

We’re going to use Elastic Thread.….and if you’ve never used it, it’s going to change your life.
It will.
I use it for so many projects.
And it’s SO easy!

It comes in small spools, sold in most fabric shops and on Amazon for about $2/each. I’ve only seen it in black and white but those seem to work for my needs.

To sew with elastic thread, you place Standard thread in the top of your machine and thread it just as you normally would, then you place Elastic thread in the bobbin.

To get elastic thread in the bobbin you need to wind it by hand.  Don’t tug or pull the elastic too tight as you go.  Just casually wind (pretty scientific, right?)

Then place the bobbin in the case, load it in, and pull it through.

NOW.  Elastic thread is not perfect and reacts differently in different machines.  I use a Bernina and haven’t had problems.  But some readers have mentioned that top-loader bobbins and some Brother machines need to have tension adjustments for Elastic thread to work (do a Google search on “Elastic Thread and Brother machine”, etc if you’re having  probs).
The key is to be patient and remember that most of the ruffling happens afterward when you spray the fabric with water and press it with heat.
Also, light weight fabrics ruffle up better than heavier ones.
So there are many factors at play.

Okay, with elastic thread in your bobbin let’s start sewing.
• Sew a straight line right down the middle (just eyeball it; doesn’t need to be exact)
Then sew another line about 1/4 inch over to the right and a line a 1/4 inch over to the left, so you have three lines of elastic.

Your scarf might not be as ruffled as you hoped. Don’t worry!
• Spray it with a bit of water and press down the middle with an iron.  Try your best to NOT press the outside of the scarf.  I know that’s hard.  But if you can do it, the scarf will be a bit more “bouncy” and less stiff.

And, you’re done!

If you have a serger, you might try this single layer method:

It can be difficult going around the curves.  Just go slow and fold, sew, fold, sew, etc.

One more cozy ruffled scarf.
Now let’s add buttons.

Try on your scarf to determine the placement of your button….(and try not to twist it at the neck like I did here. Doh).   One side should be longer than the other and decide if you want to wrap it around once or twice.

Use pins to mark where the buttonhole and button should go, then sew them on!  For detailed info on sewing buttons and buttonholes click HERE.

And….there you go.
Ruffled Winter Button Scarves.
That’s a mouthful.

Bundle it up or down and I’m ready for the chill.  Hope your day is a sunny one!

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 shannon January 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Very cute! I love it! And how adorable do you look? Great shots!


2 aimee January 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm

So cute! Loving the polka dot one.


3 Brittany January 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Really cute! I love the button detail. Thanks for sharing.


4 Modern day Mummying January 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I love it! I’m a huge scarf fan… I’ll be giving this a go once our cooler months hit :) Thanks for the lesson.

Sophie xo


5 Leigh Anne January 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Love the button idea! Lately I’ve been wanting to wear all of my scarves infinity style….so the button is perfect for that! And that orange one with the orange coat rocks!


6 Kirsten@lovespunstudio January 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Stop being so doggone cute! ;) Just teasin’. Seriously, what a great tutorial. Love this idea. These would make awesome gifts for friends. Thanks, Dana!


7 Rae January 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm

GAH! You are too cute. Love that big button. And your coat. You’re adorbs.


8 LolaJoo January 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm

OMG it’s great. :)


9 Charity January 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm

That is really cute! I don’t wear scarves, but I know some people who would just love these. =)


10 Angela Norton January 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I love this! Thanks for the tute, will definitely be making some.


11 Kelsey Bang January 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

you are way to cute! awesome scarf! you are so talented! I am so glad I got to meet you at alt and get a few photo booth pictures together :)


12 Rachel January 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Holy cow, I love it!! These look fantastic!!


13 Stephanie kirk January 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Looks great I want to go make one right now. Love your blog by the way


14 Kiki January 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

This is oh so pretty. I happened to have the polka dots fabric and dunno what to do with it yet. Yay!!! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial.


15 Leslie R. January 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for such an awesome tutorial. I have this black and white fabric that would make a great scarf. I sort of remember seeing a serger demo on how to gather down the middle using the gathering chain stitch ~ have you ever seen anything like this?


16 Dana January 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I’ve never tried that but sounds intriguing!


17 Zoe January 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

You look soo adorable. I absolutely love how you put it together.


18 Kristin January 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Super cute!


19 Emma January 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I love it. I just bought elastic thread and I have been hoping to give it a go. THis seems like a good project to test it out with. One question though, it looks like the button hole goes throught the elastice. Is that correct? It doesn’t cutthe elastic or mess up the ruffle? just want to check before I get going. Thanks!


20 Dana January 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm

yep, through the elastic.
No, it holds together fine.


21 Bon @ A Golden Afternoon January 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Elastic thread is my hero.


22 Melissa Yoder January 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I love your BOOTS!!!


23 katie Evans January 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

So CUTE! What a great idea…once again. You look adorable in scarves, btw.


24 Christie January 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Cute cute, Dana!


25 Lis January 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I’m not a scarf fan, but this one *really* cute. And, my very first spool of elastic thread is sitting in my stash waiting patiently for me to work up the nerve to try it. Looks like I’ve just added a new project to my list!


26 anna January 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Love the scarf and those boots! Which brand and color are they??


27 Dana January 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm

The boots are from Target! (sadly….two years ago :( )


28 Sydney January 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Great tutorial! The scarf looks perfect with the coat.


29 Rachel January 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm

So cute!! I love scarves! Thinking I need to conquer my fear of the sewing machine and get busy!!


30 Lindsay January 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm

You look gorgeous! I’m totally going to make a scarf like this — and ditto to the person above! I need to stop being afraid of my sewing machine and just do it. :)


31 Jessica @ Jessabells January 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Elastic thread is new to me. Must buy some and try it out. Thanks so much for sharing. I wear scarves all the time. I also live in PA and it is always cold here. I live through your IG photos of warm winter TX days. lol. :)


32 Delia January 31, 2013 at 12:28 am

So super cute – you and the scarf. :) I really like the button detail.


33 the.mrs January 31, 2013 at 12:35 am

Perfect! I have that same polka dot fabric that I bought because it seduced me, but I had NO idea what to use it for. Until now! :)


34 Kristin January 31, 2013 at 1:16 am

very very cute, dana! love the polka dotty one especially. i wear scarves constantly and am always looking for new scarf ideas – and hey now that i have a bernina i’ll bet shirring is a lot easier! woo!


35 diah January 31, 2013 at 2:18 am

Really cute and great idea….. can’t wait to make for my sister….thankyou for sharing…..


36 Bridge January 31, 2013 at 7:48 am

So stinking cute! I adore the polk-a-dots!


37 Melissa Shultz January 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Love it! It is bitter cold here. Maybe I need to make one for myself. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.


38 Jackie January 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Great Scarf and tutorial. Never knew about sewing the elastic/bobbin technique. These would make great gifts. Thank you very much.


39 Nathalie @ Angelina's Dream Parties January 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm

How adorable are both you and the scarves!! I’ll be making this in a smaller version for my daughter. Thanks for the awesome tutorial!!


40 Anneliese January 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Darling scarves! I love the pink and orange plaid. And I love your big info dots/bubbles in the tutorial. Nice art direction! :-)


41 Kerry January 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Fun! Really cute


42 Shauna January 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm

So cute! These would make great Christmas presents…. maybe I will try to make up a few this year to put back for Christmas!! :) Thanks!


43 Felicity @ Our Little Beehive January 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I’m pretty psyched to learn about the elastic thread technique!


44 Bethany January 31, 2013 at 2:37 pm

This is such a cute scarf! I love that it has such a chunky buttons, thanks for sharing this awesome tutorial!


45 Jessica @ A Humble Creation January 31, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Adorable! Thanks for the tutorial. I’m pinning for future reference. I just received a serger so I’m excited to try the second method. I’m also a Texan and I know what you mean about not getting to wear winter gear much. I just started knitting and am making my daughter a scarf. Not really sure what she’s going to do with it!


46 Ellie January 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Very chic! Thanks for sharing. I’m from Canada so I’ll be making WARM ones! lol!


47 terri January 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm

think we have the same boots! target?!

love the tutorial. may have to make myself one of these scarves for our crazy south eastern michigan winter this year.


48 Max January 31, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Oh dana I love this! I can see a scarf around the necks of all my family ^_^


49 Becky T February 1, 2013 at 6:48 am

Oh Dana, super cute! I think I love that it doesn’t hug your neck so tight around the chin so I’m going to make one of these. I can’t stand anything up around my chin, e.g. turtlenecks. I live about 50 miles south of you and a scarf like this in a lightweight cotton is perfect for those crazy 30 degree mornings and 75 degee afternoons we’ve been having lately. I don’t have elastic thread, and I have a top loading Brother and I’ll tell you now I’m not ever going to fiddle with the bobbin tension. So how about 3 rows of basting stitches to do a gather? I think I can serge/sew the sides together, baste, gather, sew the ends, and add a button. I’ll let you know how that goes. Thanks for the great idea!


50 Jody February 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

Sooo soo cute. totally random comment…but you’d look really cute in short hair!!!


51 Jenny February 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm

So cute! I have some elastic thread but it just won’t work for me :/ I honestly have no idea what I am doing wrong. I’m not letting it get the better of me though. Does it matter if you have a metal or plastic bobbin. That sounds like a really stupid question but I have to ask.


52 rebecca February 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm

beautiful lady,
I have been reading your blog for several years and have never left a comment. I don’t know what my problem is…
Anyway, I just thought I’d mention that Gutermann makes elastic thread that comes in black and white and also in red and navy blue. And you’re right: it changes your sewing game, for sure.
You are awesome. Seriously. Thanks for being a ray of sunshine for this Wisconsin girl.


53 Georgia Rigatos February 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I happenned to have the same polka dot fabric and just made one!!! I’m actually wearing it right now and I love it!!!


54 Sarah Moulton July 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Wow! I came across your site via Pinterest and the beach towel dress (which I also love!). I was doubtful when I first read about the elastic thread, but then saw this adorable scarf and knew I was won over!! I live (hopefully temporarily) in New England and have lots of uses for scarves. Can’t wait to try this out. Them maybe I’ll be brave enough to attempt the dress…thanks for sharing your beautiful projects. You’ve got a new fan!
P.S. Your jacket is cute too!


55 Jenny Egbert December 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

What did you use for the seam allowance? These are adorable and I love polka dots!!!


56 Dana December 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I typically use 3/8 inch Seam Allowance but you can use a 1/2 inch or even 1/4 if you want.


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