How-To: Sew a Gathered Scarf with Elastic Thread

Craft & Design Yarncraft

Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to school shopping. Instead, DIY! I love fashion trends, but I also hate having to keep up with them if it means spending money. Generally I choose classic-looking clothes and I try to limit my trendiness to a few select accessories. Luckily, one of the hottest scarf designs this season is ridiculously easy and fun to sew. I spent $1.20 on the elastic thread, and in 5 minutes I had stitched up my new favorite scarf out of some jersey I had lying around. I had a blast making it too!
If you are nervous about sewing with elastic, don’t be! It’s so easy. Don’t be concerned about making the lovely gathers, either. There is nothing to fear. This project is the perfect chance to sew crazy freeform swoops without worrying about anything at all.

Sewing machine
Elastic thread
General purpose thread
Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat

Step 1: Cut a piece of jersey 6′ long and 10″ wide.
Step 2: When sewing with elastic thread, the elastic goes onto the bobbin, and the standard sewing thread is the top thread. The only trick is to hand-wind the bobbin. Load the bobbin with the elastic thread without stretching it. Do not pull on the thread as you wind it on to the bobbin.
After I loaded my first bobbin, I realized that I would likely need 2 bobbins full, so I went ahead and wound a second one up. Once you have filled the bobbin with the elastic, thread the machine as you normally would, with the general purpose thread at the top. Set the machine to sew a long straight stitch, and if you like, practice by running a scrap through.
Step 3: To create the gathered effects, all you have to do now is sew all over it! I started 2″ from the end, and stitched crazy swirls back and forth along the width of the scarf. I went from side to side, making asymmetrical “S” shapes. The hardest part was not going too fast and running off the edges. Go nuts and have fun — the more chaotic the better! The bottom of the scarf will have the elastic swoops, and the top will be the pretty gathers!

16 thoughts on “How-To: Sew a Gathered Scarf with Elastic Thread

  1. fireygoddess says:

    hi Brooklynn, We are hair twins! Love your posts.

  2. Erin says:

    This is really cute, and you’re right – it DOES look like fun. Next time I’m at my local fabric store, I’m going to find some elastic thread!

  3. Dana says:

    Such a great idea! I love this. I was thinking, if you didn’t want the elastic showing on the underside of the scarf, you could start with a slightly wider (perhaps twice as wide) piece of fabric, then after you’ve made all the gathers, sew the right sides together down the length of the scarf and turn (right side out) to make a tube of sorts. The whole thing would look finished and you wouldn’t see any elastic if it happens to get flipped over. Thanks for the idea and the tutorial.

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  6. Michelle says:

    Wow, that looks actually quite doable. Thought using elastic thread or elastic yarn would be much more difficult. If I have some free time over the weekend I will definitely get some elastic thread and try it myself :)

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