I used to hate the fall. I was pretty adamant and even vocal about it. “The fall just brings winter, and winter is cold and sad,” I would say. “There’s nothing good about the fall.” And then I moved to Tennessee. You see, in Nebraska where I grew up, fall is much shorter, colder, and there are significantly less trees – meaning significantly less pretty fall colors. Now that I’ve lived in Nashville for almost five years fall is growing on me… in a big way. So I find it quite amusing that while it’s still August, I’ve already found myself drooling over fall boots, sweaters, and scarves. One of my favorite clothing inventions was the infinity scarf.

8.16.14 kendra collins scarf diy

You literally cannot make an outfit easier to put together than jeans, any basic shirt, and a scarf that you don’t even have to tie. It’s my go-to staple for fall, winter, and admittedly even sometimes in the summer. Last winter I found myself in a sudden fashion crisis – the kind where you’re supposed to leave the house in 30 minutes but you can’t stand any outfit you put on. So naturally I went to my sewing room and looked for something that might spruce up an outfit. And there it was…a lace tablecloth from goodwill that was suddenly begging to be an infinity scarf. So within minutes a strip of the tablecloth was cut and one seam was sewn…viola – a scarf! It was such an easy and fun project (that literally took less than ten minutes) that I thought I’d share the idea again as I prepare for fall. I know that not everyone can just sit down and stich up a garment (I thank my creative and very very thrifty mother for that ability), so I’ve made a couple of “no-sew” versions as well.

This is the tablecloth:

And here is me wearing the scarf on the day I made it.  You know, keeping it nice and refined at the art museum:

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So onto this project!  First things first, find a fabric.  I headed straight to Goodwill to see what I could find and found two basic shirts and a pair of old PJ pants.  I liked the patterns and textures of each, so I grabbed them and off I went.  When shopping at thrift stores you really have to think outside the box.  I try to look at items for their materials, rather than what they’ve been made into.  I’ve found many a tablecloth, dress, and pillowcase that have been transformed into tote bags, lounge clothes, and home décor.

The first shirt I found was a real gem.  For some reason I was attracted to the print.

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All that was required for this transformation was to draw a straight line under the armpits and cut along the line. I considered cutting off the waist band across the bottom, but decided it made the scarf kind of interesting. Since I didn’t sew this one I used some fray-check along the edge after I cut it.  Fray-check is basically like magic potion if you ask me.  Put it on a run in your tights; use it for a quick sewing project; or even as a light adhesive.  You could also cut with pinking sheers, which cut in a zig-zag pattern to prevent fraying.


The second shirt was actually pretty cute with it’s metallic dots.  I almost hated to cut into it.

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But I did it anyway!

I used the same process as before.  I drew a line below the armpits and cut it across.  Then I realized there were slits in the bottom of each side.  It made the scarf lay in an awkward way, so I cut little pieces from the top of the shirt and wrapped them around the weird slit part and tied knots.  I just wrapped it around a few times, tied knots and tucked the ends in.


The last scarf involves some light sewing.  I wanted to make a cozy scarf that was a little bit bigger and made of something comfy like flannel.  I found these PJ pants and really liked the colors in the pattern.

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I’ll number the steps for this tutorial since it’s a little more detailed:

  1. First I cut them up, starting by removing the cuffs on the bottom.
  2. Then I cut down the seams on the inner leg. I basically just cut each leg out to make two big open panels of fabric.
  3. Put the two leg pieces with the good sides together and pin at the top and bottom for sewing.
  4. Then I moved over to the sewing machine (aka my very favorite part of my whole house).
  5. Sew a standard 3/8 inch seam.  Nothing fancy here – just a straight line.  Remember this is going to be bunched up around your neck, so perfection doesn’t matter.
  6. After you sew both ends of the two ends together press the seams open.
  7. Then go around the unfinished edges and fold the edge over ½ inch and press.
  8. Then fold the edge over again to get a nice finished line.
  9. Then stitch the side seams down on both sides.

Ta-da!  A longer, cozier scarf!  Which, as a bonus, can also double as a nursing cover!

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CLICK HERE to check out New Song Women’s feature on this DIY Infinity Scarf on the Goodwill Industries blog! Thanks, Goodwill! 

Kendra Collins

kendra collins

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