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Randomly Shirred (and Stretchy) Scarf


Happy 2012 to you all! 

My husband told me, “well, writing that date is going to take a lot longer now.  Writing ‘1-1’ was a lot easier than writing ‘1-2’ is going to be.”  Haha…….I laughed at him.  And then said, “I think you’ll manage.  And will somehow regain the time lost writing a 2 instead of a 1.”  Ha.



We spent New Year’s Eve out until midnight with several friends.  It was nice.  And much needed. 

(Thanks friends!) And wow, I think this is the first year we’ve stayed out late with friends on New Year’s since having kids.  (Thank goodness for grandparents who put our monkeys to bed at home this year!)


And, to get the New Year start off right, I have compiled my resolution lists that have been scribbled out on random papers or emails to myself during the past few weeks.  (I don’t usually even write a list.  I think about a few things that I want to change…..but it always ends there.)  I don’t know why I have been so excited for a fresh start this year, but I really have.  And how funny that I couldn’t start any of them a week or two ago.  Mentally, I needed 2012 to ring in.  I needed a good starting point.  One of the biggest items on my list, is taking care of my poor body.  My body told me she’s had enough.  And wants more love during 2012.  Yeah, the poor body who is forced to stay awake until after midnight most nights, gets fed too many snacks and sweet treats, is busy most of the day tending to every other need except her own, craves a schedule of exercise, and would like to relax and read a few grown up chapter books this year (the thousands of children’s books I read last year doesn’t count).  So what do I have to tell this body of mine?  You better watch out…….because you’re gonna get it! ;)


How about you?  Do you have some New Year’s resolutions that you have been excited to get started on?

. . . . .



Well, you’re in luck today if one of the following items made your resolution list:


  • practicing more on your sewing machine
  • creating something new
  • trying out a new technique
  • making yourself something lovely……….just because


Because this pretty simple scarf will help you out with that goal.




And is perfect if your weather is feeling a little chilly.



Because really, who doesn’t love a new scarf to celebrate a new year?  And a new you? 

(My niece Aubrey was happy to test this one out.)



And do you remember this post, showing you how to shirr (or smock) your fabric

Well, you’ll need it to create random lines of shirring on your scarf.


And just so you can see, here’s a view of the back of your scarf.

(And in case you’re worried…….your shirring can be far from perfect and your scarf will still turn out great!  This is VERY forgiving.)



But don’t worry, once your scarf is hanging around your neck, it kind of curls up and hides those elastic stitches from view.



And if you want to turn your scarf into an infinity scarf, just wrap it around your neck a couple times, and then either tuck your ends under, tie them together, or add a brooch.  (That brooch was something my mother snagged from my late grandmother’s jewelry box, thinking I could use it for something.  She and my aunt were getting rid of a bunch of her stuff but she knew I would love it and use it for something.  Bless her.  I love it!)




What a fun and flouncy way to add some beauty to your winter wardrobe.



Would you like to make your own?


First of all, be sure to check out this tutorial here on shirring/smocking with elastic thread.

(Don’t be afraid of it.  Just try it.  And if you absolutely hate it, you only wasted a dollar or two on the thread.  But if [and when] it works for you……’ll love this technique!!!!!)



Then decide what type of fabric you want to use.  It needs to be something pretty thin so that it will gather in well and keep its shape.  I used some thin and stretchy jersey knit that I bought at Hancock Fabric while living in Georgia……and since it’s knit, it won’t fray on the edges.  So no hemming.  This would be my first choice but some thin and soft cotton would work well too (you just may need to hem under your edges [or zig-zag them], all the way around). 


Okay, and as a side note, not all jersey knits are the same.  Some are really thick like a man’s basketball Tshirt or something.  And then other types of jersey knits are more thin like a ladies fitted Tee.  The thinner jersey knit is what would work best for this.


So first, you’ll need a long strip of fabric but the length will depend on how long you wear your scarf, how you tie them, etc.  I cut my strip to be 11 x 100 inches.  But since I didn’t have a piece of fabric that was 100 inches long, I had to sew two 50 inch long pieces together.  But you could get away with buying once yard of fabric and cutting three 33 inch long strips that are each 11 inches wide……and then sewing the ends together, making it 99 inches long.  Make sense?



Now, on the right side of the fabric (the wrong side of the fabric will have your raw ends from sewing your strips together) draw some squiggly lines with chalk.  You don’t want the lines too close together or too crazy.  Just make some nice and full bubbled lines that go all over the front side of the fabric.  (And make sure they are drawn pretty close to all the edges……you don’t want to see big loose flaps of fabric around the edges that weren’t sewn.)


Now, load your bobbin with elastic thread and increase your stitch length (just like explained in the link above) and start sewing right along those lines that you drew.  (Be sure and backstitch at the beginning/end of your stitch and then anytime your thread runs out and you have to start a new stitch.)  You will see your fabric start to pull in.  But just keep the fabric flat while you sew right along those lines.


After a while of turning here and there, it’s going to get a bit tricky and look messy.


Just stretch it out nice and flat as you’re sewing and keep following those lines.


And please oh please don’t worry if you aren’t sewing exactly on your chalk line.  Those are just a guide.  Sew wherever your little heart wants to go.  (That is what’s great about this scarf…….it’s just random.  So keep it that way!)


And then once you’re done, it’ll look like this:


See how making those curved lines kinda bubbles it out nicely from the front?



Your scarf is now complete.  Yay.



Now, because that was so quick and easy, go make one for a friend.



And again, a big Happy New Year’s! 

I hope your goals have motivated you to become a better you! :)


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Chelsey says:

    I have a question about this scarf, do you only use the bobbin with the elastic thread? Or do you load both the bobbin and the top thread with the elastic?

  2. Keneena says:

    Here’s a big shout out from sunny Queensland! Even though it’s not cold right now, I had to try this scarf – it turned out great! I did have to go through quite a bit of trouble shooting as I do have a brother machine and it just wouldn’t shir, couldn’t get the tension right. In the end I found a great set of instructions here … …which sorted me out (in case anyone else was looking….). Thanks so much for your great ideas!

  3. becky says:

    Your scarf was just featured this on my blog– with other wonderful scarf tutorials! thanks for sharing it.

  4. Emily says:

    I love this scarf! I am going to try it someday! (: Thank you

  5. rosiesdoll says:

    I love this scarf!!!! I’m going to try and make it. I will let you know how it turn out. Thanks for sharing

  6. Solette de Klerk says:

    Hi Ashley, I have been tempted to try shirring for awhile and stumbled across this post of yours on Friday. I made myself a scarf like this over the weekend and I LOVE it!! It is so easy and a perfect way to try shirring out. No worries about not sewing straight:) The winter cold have really set in here in South Africa and now I have a lovely new scarf to help keep me warm. I will definitely be making more in different colours!!

  7. Josephine says:

    I LOVE this scarf! It’s so cute and just so easy to make! (I know what I’ll be doing on my weekend!) :)

  8. Oyuka says:

    Tnx for all of your creations. Would you mind if suggest summer dress pattern? You are a happy mom. I’m jealous kk :-)

  9. Janice says:

    Wondering If anyone has made one of these with broadcloth or linen – both would fray prob and need to be pre-hemmed but I have the prettiest colors in those 2 fabrics right now and wonder if they would wk?
    Thanks so much!

  10. Julie says:

    I made this scarf today – first time ever using elastic thread (thanks for the tutorial!) I think it’s the most fun I’ve ever had with my sewing machine. Thanks!

  11. Christine says:

    I just made my first scarf! I love it!! I have some more material so I’ll be making more :) Thanks so much for the awesome tutorial… I have a few more of your tutorials on my to-do list :)

  12. Vanessa says:

    Saw a a scarf like this at a shop in my local mall. I was going to buy it until I saw the price. 12.99 for a shirred scarf! Definitely going to make this scarf soon.

  13. Linda says:

    Maybe a dumb question but does it matter which way I cut the fabric? Lengthwise or crosswise? Do I buy 2 1/2 yards to get to 100 inches or do I cut 2 pieces 11 inches wide sideways and stich them together? Will it make a difference in how it gathers up when I start stitching?

    1. star says:

      i think if you reread the post, you will find that you don’t have to sew it together, you must just have enough fabric. I’m pretty sure either way will work out just fine! Today I just bought material to make one of these. I’m hoping it turns out okay! I’m not excatly sure if I got enough cloth…

  14. Alice says:

    Having troubles making this–I have elastic thread in my bobbin, I’m using lightweight knit material and regular thread on top. But, my fabric isn’t gathering up much. It just looks like material with sguiggles sewed on it and it’s not bunching up much. Grr. What am I doing wrong?!

    1. Alice says:

      Never mind! Figured it out! (Yay me!;-) My bobbin wasn’t threaded right.

  15. Jess says:

    I made 2 of these scarfs this weekend! LOVE!!! So cute and SO simple for this beginner!! Posted my results on the Jo-Ann Fabrics FB site—-and shared your site for others! Thank you for your wonderful tutorial!!!

  16. Lori C. says:

    One of my New Year’s resolutions is to start commenting on blogs! So here it is. I love this idea of shirring the scarf in squiggles like that. I made a half dozen straight-line scarves for Christmas gifts but I think I will have to try this idea for myself. :)

  17. Harley Williams says:

    Very cool, thanks for this! :D

  18. Allison says:

    I love the things you come up with..they’re so creative and you explain everything so well that it makes it a lot less scary for beginners, like me, to try your tutorials.

  19. sarah says:

    Your blog is awesome! I love your scarves! I am super excited about making this one… looks fun and easy! Also.. I agree with your husband. In my job, I write the date over and over again and yes, it is WAY easier to write 1-1 than 1-2. :)

  20. Jill says:

    I love this tutorial! I’m totally making some for my tween — and maybe myself ;) Your niece has absolutely gorgeous hair, BTW!

  21. Ruth says:

    I have TONS of elastic thread. I use it quite a bit but I have never thought to do this! Thank you!!!

  22. Bonnie says:

    This is definitely going in the project queue! Thanks for a great tutorial :-)

  23. danielle says:

    i LOVE this!! and i def. think this is going to be my first stirring project. it doesnt look to complicated. i think i will be making this for both my sister in laws for next christmas! =]

  24. Kim says:

    This is great! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I saw something like this on The Pleated Poppy and wanted to make one but didn’t know how. Pinning so I can make later :) Thanks again!

  25. Julie F. says:

    Love the scarf and it looks like something I could actually do. Thanks for sharing your talent with us and for giving such great step-by-step directions and including pictures.

    Also, your neice is a beautiful model for the scarf.

  26. Laci says:

    Like some of the others, I would love to know where the top comes from. Thanks!

  27. Nicole says:

    I made a scarf from the first tutorial and it worked BEAUTIFULLY! For someone who has never tried elastic thread, it’s the HEAT. Can’t wait to try this. Have you tried using a cloth other than jersey with this technique?

  28. Jessica says:

    I am so excited! I just found your blog and LOVE IT! Can’t wait to try some of your cute projects!

  29. kristen duke photography says:

    LOVE that scarf, and your hubby’s comment is funny because I actually was annoyed writting 2011, and think 2012 is more “even”

  30. Jill says:

    Super cute! Thanks for the great tutorial! I always learn so much from you:) Jill

  31. Haley says:

    This is awesome! such a creative idea. I am looking forward to trying new and fun DIY projects during this new year…Thanks for sharing!

  32. heather says:

    Just found your blog when I was searching for a pattern for fleece mittens. I love it!! I have been a quilter for about 10 years and in the past year I made my first Amy butler bag and now I can’t wait to sew all kinds of things. Definitely going to try out the scarf-it looks so easy. I kind of taught myself to sew and so I have always been a little scared to try new sewing techniques since I didn’t have anyone to show me in person how to do it. I have read several of your tutorials and now I’m ready to try. Thanks!!!

  33. Robbon says:

    Yep, I’m going to have to try this! It is so cute!!! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Beth says:

    I have a Brother machine, and your shirring tutorial suggests winding my own bobbin… but I was wondering, do you think if I just use the elastic thread on top, and a coordinating thread on the bottom, that it would work? I am hoping so…. you mentioned that this project is very forgiving. I think I’m going to give it a try!

    1. Beth says:

      OK, so I just made my first one and I LOVE it! I reread your tutorial and wound my bobbin with the machine. :) A couple things: 1) I skipped the chalk marking. Actually, I improvised… I accidentally marked the wrong side, so I decided to give it a shot without marking. Like you said, this is VERY forgiving!! 2) You had mentioned to buy the elastic thread in the elastic section, not the thread section. I skipped over this detail, but it’s important! The elastic in the thread section is only 11 yds long. I ended up back at Joann’s because I was only halfway through the scarf! The stuff sold in the elastic section holds 30 yds. Big difference!

      Thanks for an(other) awesome tutorial! I have learned so much from you. So grateful for your blog.

    2. Brittany says:

      I just made my first one as well and love it! Thanks for the tutorial. It took a lot longer than I expected by I’m also a novice at sewing so this was a great project to do. I didn’t feel overwhelmed and I also ended up just improvising. It seemed a lot easier and I was able to figure out how to get the bigger bubbles. Thanks again! Your blog is awesome! I’m finding so many things on here and am trying to figure out my next project already.

    3. Katie Leatherwood says:

      I made one too! As a gift for my sister in law. I had a hard time figuring out the yardage needed and I think I cut the scarf out going the wrong direction, like the lines on the material were going horizontal, not vertical. If that makes sense. But it didn’t matter in the end, it looked great!
      I’m so glad I wasn’t intimitated by elastic thread and shirring, and it was so fun to make something new! Now I need one for myself!

  35. Leigh Anne says:

    I bought one like this from WalMart a few weeks ago. It was made from a red shimmer and I wore it to all my Christmas parties and everyone loved it. It has shirring horizontally but looks really similar. I’m excited to have your tutorial so I can make more in different colors!! Lovin’ your resolutions too….mine are very similar!!

  36. Carolyn says:

    So cute!! I think I will have to try this one!

  37. Dixie says:

    I love this!! Even I can do it. I think my 8 year old and I will try a couple out this weekend, she has been learning to sew and this will go a long way towards boosting her confidence since it doesn’t have to be perfect :) You’re website is her favorite and one of mine too.

    And now a shameless plug – you’re one of my favorite bloggers, so I would be honored if you have a moment to check out my blog, it’s my first one and it’s brand spankin’ new! Not much there yet, but there will be soon. *big cheesy grin*

  38. Natty says:

    Love the scarf… Happy New Year!

  39. Zarina says:

    its fantastic!!! many thanks for sharing it with us

  40. Bethany says:

    That is beautiful! What a great idea! Really want to make one! :)

  41. Neta says:

    Beautiful scarf, beautiful work as usual! Thank you for making it look so easy. Going to give this a try.

  42. Ashlee says:

    I love your neices pink top! I think I wanna figure out something like that! Cute scarf!

  43. Alesha says:

    Oh wow! I am so excited to try that! I had not seen your post on shirring before and so I went there right away and read that too! I can’t wait to try this new-to-me sewing idea! Thanks so much!

  44. marisa says:

    I JUST bought a scarf with this design! I’m so excited to make one!!!

  45. DIvya says:

    Beautiful.. Loved it.
    Happy New Year.. Waiting For lot more New creations this year too….

  46. Kristen says:

    Oh, what an idea for me to do so soon. What a lovely scarf and model.

    I love your list. 2012 will be a grand year.

  47. Julie Snow says:

    I LOVE YOUR POSTS! I am a sewing teacher and I love the way you teach – you inspire me to do better! I live in Parker CO we need to meet one day! :)

  48. Sabrina says:

    Super cute! My cousin would love this…she is all about scarfs.

  49. Deb says:

    I have a lovely Kelly Green knit that would make a perfect St. Patrick’s Day scarf… what a wonderful tutorial. Thank you!

  50. Joyce says:

    I have some jersey knit material I was planning on making a scarf with. Your post could not have come at a better time for me! I will def. be making your version instead! I love it! Thanks for all of your tutorials. :)

  51. tute-bot says:

    From the looks of it, this project looks like it would be hard to screw up — which means it’s perfect for me!

  52. Beth says:

    Adorably cute…putting it at the top of my ‘make’ list. And I pinned it ;) Thanks for sharing!

  53. Christine says:

    So cute. Maybe this will be my first shirring project. It looks beautiful with your Grandmother’s brooch.

  54. Kaeli says:

    Hello! First of all, I LOVE your blog. I want to be you haha. That said, my friend and I have started an etsy shop to try and get our craft on :) We were wondering on what terms you do giveaways? and if youd be interested in giving away one of our products, in addition to getting one of your own! If you are interested you can take a peek at our shop to see which item(S) would suit you and your blog readers best! Let us know what you think!!
    Thanks a TON!

  55. Melissa says:

    Wow! I absoultely LOVE this!! I’m been trying to come up with some fun things to make – thank you!!! I also love the fact that I think I can totally make this and it will work!

  56. Lindsay says:

    Oh, I will absolutely be making this. I LOVE it! Looks like something I would admire in a boutique.

  57. Tere says:

    this is great, thanks… I’ve created a similar one done with cotton and elastic, the pattern is different yet creates a fun scarf too :)… I’m am sending your post to my FBBlog – so other’s can see this great project!

  58. Sue says:

    Oh I love the scarf. The Model is cute too. Happy New Year to you and everyone reading. I do have a resolution and have started on it today. I must, for health reasons, lose weight. So I have started and pray that this time I will stick to it till I actually win.

    1. Cortney says:

      I am also continuing on my weightloss journey. Don’t know if you like to cook but I thought I would just throw out this website which has helped me a ton, I don’t now her personally or anything but her site has been a lifesaver for me so I thought I would share. I want to make sure she gets tons of followers so she never stops creating and blogging delicious healthy recipes :) I am a weight watcher fan and she includes all of the weight watchers points for the new program and the old program as well as calorie and nutrition info for those who need that. The food is all amazing and my husband and boys, none of who need to lose weight love everything so far! ! Hope it helps :) Good luck!

  59. Katie says:

    I love this scarf!! I will be trying to make one. I hope it is as cute as yours :) I also love the shirt your niece is wearing. Where did she get that from?!

    1. star says:

      I was wondering the same thing, actually!! It is really cute.
      I HAVE to make my self one of these adorable scarfs!! I’ve never used elastic thread, so I will give it a try!

  60. Cortney says:

    Looks just like a scarf I was eyeing on etsy!! I was trying to figure out how to make it myself but what do you know here is an amazing tutorial! So glad you enjoyed your New Years, I cannot wait to see all the amazing projects and tips you have in store this year. Even if I don’t get to actually sew the projects reading the tutorials and understanding the how behind the projects is still really fun for me! So thanks!

  61. Ashlee says:

    This scarf is super cute and great for a beginner like me! It’s going on my list of homemade Christmas gifts for next year. {Making Christmas gifts early is one of my resolutions =)}

  62. Chantal says:

    Very nice! I like the look with the broche.

  63. mindy says:

    Oh I want to make one for my sister. Sometimes shirring goes great for me and other times it just sucks. I think it has to do with me winding my bobbin. That’s the only thing I can think since everything else remains the same.

  64. Amanda Jones (@creativendeavor) says:

    This is so cute and going on my “to do” list for sure!

  65. BriBedell says:

    Super cute!! I’m a little afraid of elastic thread!!

  66. Sarah says:

    You’re having fun using your nieces are models, aren’t you? ;)

    1. Anonymous says:

      Can I just buy one from you? I do not have a sewing machine, and I am not good at making clothing…….Oh and i reallyyyyyy like it with that broach(:

    2. Meghan says:

      Can I just buy one from you? I do not have a sewing machine, and I am not good at making clothing…….Oh and i reallyyyyyy like it with that broach(: And if you do want to sell it to me……….how much would it be?(:

      Sorry on that comments above I forgot to put my name.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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