Image from My Waking Memories, "Playing Around with the Circle Scarf"
It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m a wee bit enchanted with the idea of American Apparel’s versatile pieces, namely the Le Sac Dress, which the company claims can be worn seven ways, and the circle scarf, which can be worn 13 ways. Anything that promises to give me more with less is definitely worth a look-see in my book.
I emphasize idea because I’ve never actually been tempted to take one of their pieces home with me. I tried on the Le Sac dress and found it looked like exactly that: A sack. More candidly, despite my desire for good-quality basics, I can’t bring myself to pay pretty pennies for what they offer, knowing I can replicate these truly basic pieces quickly at a fraction the cost.
The company gets a lot of attention for being American-made and sweatshop free, both of which I applaud, but I bet you could make 80-90% of their pieces using small bits of knits. You could use oversized tees from the thrift store or likely find something rummaging around in the boy’s drawers. Quick, easy, green, homemade.
Take their Circle Scarf, that I spotted on a recent reconnaissance mission. It’s a scarf! It’s a hood! It’s a capelet! It's a shawl! It’s a skirt! Wow! goes the first impulse. And the second thought, upon further study, It’s just ONE piece of fabric with ONE seam!
Price tag? $38.
So I went home, did a little research, and found that a typical circle scarf is 36 inches wide with a 50-60 inch circumference. I sometimes find scarves too voluminous on me, so I opted for 2/3 the width (24 inches) with a 50 inch circumference (because it was more convenient, I cut two pieces measuring 24x25 apiece). I used a striped knit that had been languishing in my stash. The total cost probably clinks in at $1.50-$2, or 1/19th the price.
I sewed up the seam(s), making the scarf into a circle. Though American Apparel left the circle scarf edges raw (even easier!) I opted to serge the edges. Total prep and sewing time? Twenty minutes, tops.
Here’s the length of it:
I don’t like it that way, but I like it quite a bit doubled, like this:
Most of all, I like that it’s a lightweight scarf that adds color without bulk. And as a circle there’s no pesky ends to deal with.
Some considerations for next time: Because I wanted the stripes to be vertical rather than horizontal, I ended up cutting the width on the non-stretchy direction of the knit, so it doesn’t allow me to stretch it to all the variations. I’d also be tempted to lengthen it a bit, perhaps to 60 inches. For those of you who don’t have a serger, you could enclose your single seam using a french or flat-felled seam.
And with the holidays around the corner, you know what else I’ve been thinking? Easy Christmas gifts!
Here’s some great links regarding making and wearing the circle scarf:
- How to make a circle scarf from a t-shirt
- How to sew a circle scarf from a flat piece of fabric
- How to Wear It (images and videos at American Apparel)
Happy sewing! :)