I have been trying really hard to use all of my scraps. I was able to use a big bag of them when I sewed my yoga bolster, and I have two more bags ready to go for when I sew a couple of throw pillows. But I also have a bunch of larger pieces that are too small for a garment but too big for stuffing. I save these remnants in big plastic bins, and as of now, there are just too many plastic bins. I had to find ideas for projects to put these fabric cuts to good use.
While I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post by Caroline from @sewingbythec. Her feed is full of beautiful garments and sewing inspiration. This is where I found the idea for a scrap busting project that might become a TNT pattern: a DIY no-knit fabric cowl. This seemed like the perfect project for a couple of my knit fabric remnants.
There is no official pattern for this project. The instructions come from the We Can Do Anything blog. The cowl is made of a rectangular piece of knit fabric 22″ x 60″. I did not have enough of one of the fabrics for 22 inches, so I made it work with 20. For my second cowl, I ended up forgetting about the suggested 22 inches of the tutorial and went with 20 again. It made no real difference in how the cowls look or function.
After going through a plastic bin full of knit remnants, I selected two pieces for this project. The first one is a fun Halloween glow-in-the-dark knit from Joann. This fabric is no longer available from the site. I used it to sew this most adorable Plantain T-shirt.
The second remnant is a ponte de roma tweed, also from Joann. This is a really nice knit with none of the pilling some of the other ponte fabrics from Joann show. I used this one to sew a Morris blazer.
Sewing the Cowl
This is a super fast project. I spent more time fussing with the position of the snaps than completing the whole thing. I started by making the bottom edge of the remnant straight. I used the ruler from my cutting mat to help guide my rotary cutter. I ended up with a big rectangle of fabric, 20″x60″.
There is not a lot of sewing in this project (and if you like hand sewing, this could be a great project for you). The seam that runs in the back of the cowl is created by sewing the longer edges of the fabric together, making sure to leave an opening in the middle (so that you can turn the piece inside out). Line the seam with the middle of the piece; press the seam open.
For the last bit of sewing, sew the shorter ends of the piece. Trim the excess from these seams (you can trim the middle seams, but make sure to leave enough for when you close the opening with a ladder stitch). The hole in the middle will allow you to turn the cowl inside out.
Adding the Snaps and Button
Now, it is time to add the snaps and the decorative button. With the smooth side of the cowl (the one without the middle seam) facing up, sew the top of the snap to the right upper corner of the cowl. After A LOT of trial and error, I placed the bottom snap two inches from the top and 1.5 from the side. Then, place the cowl with the seam facing up and sew the top snap. I placed it 1/2″ away from the top and 1/2″ from the side. Place the cowl with the smooth side facing up again and sew the decorative button in the same position the top snap is.
The tutorial suggests that you use the hole to put your hands inside the cowl and sew the snaps and button through one layer of fabric. This helps hide any ugly stitching on the outside. I have to say that this did not work for me. Maybe the snaps I used were too big and heavy, but every time I sewed through one layer only, the corner would flop when I snapped the cowl. I tried sewing through both layers, and the corners looked much more stable.
Finishing the Cowl
To avoid the ugly stitching on the outside, I only allowed a couple of stitches to go through. Most of the stitching keeping the snaps in place only goes through one layer. The button hides really well any stitching that has gone through, and when the cowl is around the neck, everything looks nice and neat.
I finished the cowl by sewing the hole closed with a ladder stitch. This is why I did not trim the middle seams—so I had more fabric to grab when getting the needle in. Make sure to give the middle seam a good press; the pressed seam serves as the guide for the needle.
The No-Knit Fabric Cowl
These cowls are super comfortable and warm enough to keep me cozy on a cold day—and much less bulky than a knit cowl. This project comes together really fast and is a great way to use those remnants you don’t know what to do with but don’t want to get rid of. You can showcase a beautiful button from your collection or maybe a family heirloom brooch. And this cowl can make a great gift for family and friends. This is a quick and easy afternoon project with a great payoff.