I know. It's not even Halloween yet. So why am I talking about gifting? Well, because there are other events when one gives gifts. Sometimes you need something quick for an unexpected birthday. Or you have a little bit of fabric that you want to use up. Or maybe you want to get a head start on making for that holiday that comes towards the end of December that shall remain nameless for another month or so. What follows would also be a good beginner project if you are unsure about sewing with knits. It doesn't take much fabric, and there is only one tricky part (and it's not even that tricky).
Infinity scarves! They are everywhere. I love wearing them, since I am always cold. They are particularly handy this time of year when I am layering everything inside and out. I wear a wool sweater to top off a couple of layers, then pile on a scarf when I go outside. For me, the key to staying warm right now seems to be keeping a constant temperature.
To start off, choose two fabrics that you love. They can be wovens or knits. The great advantage to using knits is that they are wider. For the scarf that I am about to show you, I chose to use two knits from the store.
They are from Stenzo, which means that they are soft and yummy, and 60" wide. If you are using a narrower fabric, you will either have to cut it lengthwise ( so you will need 60" of fabric) or piece it out of a couple of widths of fabric. Since my fabric is so wide, I just cut it as long as my leftover would allow me - which was 8.5" in this case.
I am staying at my Mom's house right now, so the environs are all hers. One advantage of sewing in someone else's room is that you are surrounded by things you don't know about. My mom is a quilter and she has lots of gadgets and products around that are new to me. When I was pressing the fabric, I looked up and saw this:
It's a product called Mary Ellen's Best Press and it's basically a starch/sizing mixture that is used to stabilize quilting fabrics when you are sewing a lot of bias edges. I had been wondering what it would do to the edges of knits. Sometimes they can be annoyingly curly. So I tried it:
It worked like a charm. Flattened the fabric edges right out. I don't know quite how it would last while you were handling the fabric, but it might be a good thing when you are sewing with fabrics that have a tendency to roll. Back to the scarf.
So now you have two rectangles of fabric that are 8.5" x 60". Line them up right sides together:
Then stitch them together along the long edges with a narrow, long zigzag, using a 1/4" seam allowance. I did a little experimenting, since this was my Mom's machine. I ended up with the zigzag set at 2.0mm stitch width, and 2.5mm stitch length. This gave me a seam with enough stretch for the fabric without popping. The needle is an 80/12 universal.
Now you have a long narrow tube. Press the seams so that they are flat, then turn it right side out and press them again. This can be a little fussy. You want to have the seams all going the same direction. I do this with a little shifting from the right side and occasionally putting my hand in the tube and shifting it that way.
Then lay it on the ironing board so that the seams are along the sides of the tube and press it again.
Now comes the not-so-tricky part. Fold the scarf so that you have two right sides together. In my case it's the foxy fabric. Line up the seam allowances and pin those two ends together.
Then, one side at a time, pin an inch or two into the other side of the scarf. In my case, that's the purple polka dots. The idea here is that you are going to sew the open ends together in a c-shape, leaving an opening. If you try and sew it all the way around, you will end up with an inside/outside-tubey-mash up kinda thing. It won't work very well. Let's just leave it at that.
Now sew your "C" together using a 1/4" seam allowance. You'll end up with something like this:
Almost done! Now go to your ironing board, and pull both sides apart - you end up with an almost done loop. Make sure all the seam allowances are facing the same direction and give it a press. All that's left is to close the gap. A little bit of hand stitching and you're done.
So now you have an infinity scarf that's soft and snuggly. You can change up the size depending on who it's for. For an adult, you can make it as wide as 14" if you have a drapey fabric. For a younger person, as small as 6" will work, although you may want to make it shorter in that case. Just put it around your neck and loop it up again. My brother pointed out that if you put a half turn in the end, you would end up with a moebius scarf. It would also be a great way to use up the bits and pieces we all seem to accumulate. Just piece them together so you end up with the right sized rectangle and go from there. Endless options abound.
Have fun and let us know how it works out!