Fleece scarves are the best. They are a practical gift — so quick to produce that you really just need to decide if you have five minutes to make a simple fringe scarf, 10 minutes to braid a fleece ribbon scarf, or 20 minutes to make a woven scarf. Kids aged 6-plus love being able to mix and match their favorite colors and make wearable gifts!
Things You’ll Need
- Fleece fabric in any colors or patterns (approximately 1 yard of each)
- Straightedge ruler
- Fabric scissors (or rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat)
- Rubber band
- Packing tape
- Sewing machine
Scarf 1: Simple Fringe. You are headed out the door to a holiday party and just realized that you don’t have a gift to bring. Grab your fleece, scissors and straightedge, because this gift will take you less time than it would to stop and pick up flowers or a card.
Measure out a strip of fleece that is roughly 6 inches wide that runs down the entire length of your fleece fabric (approximately 36 inches long). Guide your fabric scissors with the straightedge as you cut out the strip of fleece. Snip off the selvage edges. (Alternatively, you can use a rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat, which is faster than scissors but not recommended for children.)
Cut 3-inch fringe borders at both ends of the scarf. You can either eyeball the spacing of the fringe cuts, or you can divide the width of the scarf by the number of fringes you want to have and then mark the measurements with chalk before cutting. I had a 4- and 6-year-old “helping me,” so I just eyeballed and cut.
Knot the base of each fringe strip. Presto! A warm scarf that can double as a last-minute gift.
Scarf 2: Braided. You have 10 minutes before your niece arrives, and you just remembered that she was voted “Most Improved” at her volleyball awards ceremony. This braided fleece scarf will be done before she rings the doorbell.
Use scissors (or the rotary cutter and cutting mat) to cut as many 2-inch strips of fleece as you are comfortable braiding. If you have never braided with more than three strips, you may want to use at least three different fabric colors and/or patterns to keep track of the strands. The length of your strips should be as long as your pieces of fleece fabric. A three-strip braided scarf will result in a skinnier version of a five-strip scarf. If you only know how to do three-strand braiding, and would prefer a thicker rather than skinnier scarf, simply cut your strips of fleece wider. Either way, it will look cute and feel warm.
After you’ve braided one scarf with different-colored fleece strips, you’ll have enough practice under your belt if you would like to make a second scarf in just one color.
Bundle one end of the strips together with a rubber band, leaving about 3 inches of fabric free at the top.
Use packing tape to adhere your bundled strips to a work surface.
Begin braiding the fleece strips together, using an even tension throughout.
Braid until you reach the end of the strips but still have 3 inches of fabric free at the bottom. Use a sewing machine to stitch the braided pieces down on top of themselves. Repeat on the opposite end. I used a zigzag stitch with length and tension set at 2, but if you have a favorite decorative stitch, by all means use it. Hand-stitching would also work, but adds more time to your lightning-fast gift-making process.
Snip each loose tail of fleece diagonally, cutting away any selvage edges. Done. Adorable. Cozy.
Scarf 3: Woven. For a slightly more complex (20-minute) fleece scarf, weave one with two contrasting colors of fleece. Start by cutting one thick band of fleece that measures 6 inches wide and runs down the entire length of the fabric. With a contrasting fabric color, cut two smaller strips that are 1 1/2 inches wide and run down the entire length of the fabric.
Lay the three strips of fleece, folded over themselves, on a table with your chalk, ruler and scissors.
Working on one-half of the scarf, measure a point that is 5 inches down from the end of the fabric and 1 inch in from the side. Use chalk to mark the point. Measure 1/4 inch from that point and mark it. You will now have two marks. Use the ruler to make the marks into 1-inch lines.
Measure 1 1/2 inches away from the first two lines, and then make two more 1/4-inch-spaced lines. Repeat this pattern along the entire length of your strip of fleece until you get toward the end, where you will leave 5 inches free (so you can create a fringe border later).
Cut along the chalk lines.
Pull one of the thinner strips of fleece through all of the slits on the larger piece of fleece.
You may need to tuck the thinner fleece edges in on the back of the scarf as you weave.
Begin working on the second side of the scarf after the first side is completely woven together.
Measure and chalk a second row of slit marks that are 1/4-inch apart. To stagger the second row, start the first slit 5 3/4 inches down from the end of the fabric and 1 inch in from the side. The last slit should leave about 4 inches of fabric free on the other end so you can create a fringe border later.
Make incisions along the chalk markings.
Weave the second strip of fleece into the scarf.
Tuck any edges of the thin fleece into the back of the scarf.
Cut fringe strips at both ends of the scarf, and knot the base of each strip. You could also use the sewing machine to sew along the ends so that the woven pieces don’t eventually pull out. Either way, the woven scarf is ready to wear.
All photos by: Megan Andersen
All of these scarves were made to be 36 inches long, but you can certainly make them shorter.
Fleece does not fray, so it is not necessary to hem the sides.