Fashion Magazine

Accessory DIY: T-Shirt Fringe Scarf

By Linsibrownson @CleverSpark

Create a fringe scarf from an old t-shirt.November brings blustery weather, which means scarf season is officially upon us! There’s nothing that I love better than piling on a lovely, fluffy scarfie to keep me fashionably cute – and more importantly – warm. There are times, though, when I don’t quite need the extra layer because I live in Alabama. My home state is notorious for mild winters and I can recall more than one holiday where a t-shirt and shorts would have been completely appropriate attire.

This DIY accessory project is the epitome of the perfect light-weight scarf. Think of it as more of a wardrobe enhancer than a buffer from nature’s bitter winter wrath. All you need is a cotton t-shirt, a pair of sharp scissors, a fabric marker, measuring tape, and a good music playlist in the background. I actually made my scarf while watching reruns of 30 Rock (for the first time). No, I have never seen it before. Yes, I own a television. No, I don’t live under a bridge, but I digress…

This is the perfect DIY project for an eco-friendly (and budget-friendly) Holiday gift. You could solicit your friends for favorite t-shirts from their own wardrobe, or visit the local thrift store to find your material.  Whichever option you choose, you can be sure that everyone will love it. It’s not only personal, but it’s comfortable, familiar and 100% rock-star.

Step 1: Choose Your Shirt

Choose Your Shirt
The shirt can be plain, patterned or have a screen print. If it has a pocket, be sure to remove it before continuing (some patience required). To keep the look clean, I prefer to work with shirts that have no side seam. This also keeps things from unraveling later on. The shirt that I chose was a random Greek organization shirt that came my way from a friend. You could also use old souvenir t-shirts from vacations, sports events, concerts, etc. Most people have a pile of these in their closet where they are usually relegated to the status of “The Shirt I Wear to Mow the Lawn”. It’s a good way to keep the memories that these shirts represent, but repurpose them into something more relevant to your everyday life. It’s also pretty cool to say, “Yeah, this old thing? I made it out of my (insert band name here) t-shirt.”

Step 2: Prepare Your Area

Prepare your working area and turn your shirt inside out, with the desired pattern facing up.
Turn the shirt inside out so that the pattern that you want to show is facing up (toward you).  Lay out your equipment (scissors, marker and measuring tape) so that they are easily accessible. You may also want to cover your working area with a piece of cardboard so that your carpet, table or other surface isn’t damaged. Scissors have a mind of their own sometimes. Also, be sure to have adequate lighting so that you can cut nice clean lines and avoid injuring yourself.

Step 3: Measure Your Length

Measure the desired length of your scarf and begin marking.
My secret wish is to be in a rock-and-roll band so it’s no surprise that I wanted my scarf’s fringe to be long and have a fair amount of the screen print show through (you know, cause it’s cool and stuff). I measured just about 14-inches from the neck seam down and marked it with a dot using the fabric marker.

Measure about 2-inches up from the seam of each arm hole.
Then I measured 2-inches up from the bottom seam on each arm hole and marked that with two more dots.

Using your fabric marker, draw a line to connect all three dots on both sides. This will be your cutting guide.
I then drew an arched line to connect all three dots. This will form the shape of the scarf. Turn the shirt over and perform the same procedure on the opposite side. To create a more dramatic shape, you could also connect the lines in a V-shape rather than an arch.

Step 3: Cut Your Pattern

Accessory DIY: T-Shirt Fringe Scarf
Start by cutting off the arms and the neck of the shirt. Next, cut off the bottom half of the shirt by following the arched line that you made by connecting the dots. The result should be a pseudo-80s midriff-bearing muscle shirt. It should look eerily similar to an outfit you would see on People of Walmart. Don’t worry, we’re not finished yet.

Note: If you have chosen to cut in an arch rather than a V, you can save the bottom portion of the shirt and use it to create a super-simple tube scarf. They’re everywhere this season and versatile enough to wear to with almost any outfit. More importantly, why pay $40 for one when in less than three minutes you can make one of your own…for free? Please see the bottom of the post for instructions on how to construct a tube scarf.

Step 4: Gettin’ Fringy with It

Begin cutting randomly sized strips of fringe from your pattern, leaving a two-inch gap at the neck.
I like to keep things loose and free so I disregarded hard measurements when it came to the widths of the fringe. I started on the far left of the shirt and began cutting upward toward the top of the shirt, creating strips of fringe and leaving roughly a 2-inch gap between the cuts and the neck of the shirt. If you like, you cut in kind of wavy lines rather than trying to keep it straight. It’s not only easier, but it allows for a more varied look of the fringe. Sometimes life’s little imperfections are the most interesting. Continue to cut until you have fringe all the way around the front and back of the t-shirt.

Step 5: Cut It Loose
Now comes the part where your scarf begins to come alive. On the back side (or front side of the shirt, depending on what part of the pattern you want to show) find a bit of fringe that is closest to the middle and cut one of the lines upward until you snip through the 2-inch gap. This now creates a scarf that can be tied in the back, bandanna style.

Step 6: Knot Yet…
I like the look of a good knot, so I decided to tie them onto the end of every piece of fringe. You could also purchase some big wooden or plastic beads to add some texture and interest to your almost-scarf. Just tie a knot a few inches from the free end of the fringe, slip on a bead, and secure the bead with another knot. Voilà! Instant bangle jangle.

Step 7: Tie It All Together

After snipping through the back neck portion of the scarf, choose a few strands and tie them together.
At the far ends of your scarf, you should have the seams from the shoulders still attached. Gather a few strands of fringe at the seams and tie them together, creating instant ends to your scarf. Tie each end together behind your head and your scarf is born! I like to flip mine over upon itself few times, creating a sort of braided effect on the sides, while also giving it more volume. I also pulled at my fringe, stretching the cotton fabric and giving a more rolled effect to the material. This helps give it a more worn-in, vintage feel.

Step 8: Rock It Like You Made It (‘Cause You Did)
Now comes the payoff for just a couple of hours (or less) of work. Wear your scarf to the grocery. Wear it to school. Wear it to work. Wear it while you’re walking the dog. Reap the compliments from your fellow fashionistas and smile as you explain just how easy (and free) it was. Basque in the glow of DIY success: now you’re a rock-and-roll star and everyone will want to be your cowbell player. The world always needs more cowbell.

Instructions for Tube Scarf:
To create a tube scarf, simply cut off the pointed ends of the reserved bottom portion of the t-shirt. This should create a straight line across the cut end of the shirt. On the end with the hem, cut the hem away and discard. You can also choose to cut the tube into several strips, which would create many tiny tube scarves that can be worn together for a fun, casual look. Stretch the tube(s) to lengthen them and also turn them in on themselves, giving a rolled “tube” effect.

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