A Winter Cowl How-To

A lot of my fabric stash is composed of remnants and they rarely get used, so I found a creative way to make something stylish and keep all that fabric from going to waste!  I came up with an elasticised cowl that is easy to make, just slips over your head, and has gathers along half of the back seam to aid in the lovely folds.

I made a different one last weekend out of a soft, cream fabric and decided to make another and take pictures so you could make one, too!  All you need is the fabric and elastic.

This fabric came from a quilter’s garage sale last summer.  I’m not sure what it is, possibly a thin flannel, but it’s smooth on one side and fuzzy/soft on the other.  Not sure which side is the right side, I decided to have the softness on the outside, against my skin.

Cut a long rectangle on the fold.  Mine is 9″ x 27″ (or 18″ x 27″ unfolded) because that’s all my remnant would fit, but it turned out to be the perfect size for me.

With the fabric wrong side out, sew up the long, open side using 5/8″ seam allowance, or enough room to fit the elastic.  The elastic I used here was 1/2″ wide which was all I had on hand, but you can use any width.

Cut the elastic to 15″ long or a length that is comfortable around your neck when it’s relaxed and will fit over your head without too much stress.

I find it helpful to anchor both ends of the elastic first on the seam allowance with a couple passes in a straight stitch.  That way I don’t have to worry about pins pulling out or loosing tension while I sew.

Attach the elastic to the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.

Turn the cowl right side out.

Making sure to not twist the cowl, match up the seam at each ends and fold the elastic to each side to avoid bulk.  Pin.

Adjust the openings so the seam is in the center and pin the inside edges together at both ends an equal distance from the seam.  Not sure if that makes sense, but hopefully the picture shows it best.

Sew a double row of gathering stitches and gather it up as much as you can. 

Turn the cowl inside out and match up the openings.  Start sewing it together at the top of the gathers, between the two lines of gathering stitches, to get that part secure.  Sew all the way around, stopping about 3″ away from where you started.

Turn the cowl right side out, gently pulling it through the opening, then sew it closed either by hand or machine.

Et voila!  You’re done!  And now you have created a stylish, new winter accessory and made good use of a pesky piece of remnant.

Besides wearing it around your neck, you can also wear it like a headband, pulling the fabric around your ears like to wear under a hood that doesn’t have enough insulation.  It’s also fun to play with the placement of the elastic and manipulate the folds to your liking.  Or if the fabric is not quite warm enough, try lining it.  It may not drape as easily, but it will give you an extra layer against the elements.

If you make this, let me know!  I’d love to see your versions of it.


2 Comments to “A Winter Cowl How-To”

  1. You’re so clever. The pics of you are cute, too!

  2. Yes, I agree, you are very clever! Neat idea to incorporate elastic.

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