Make Your Own Plaid Scarf

Created By:

Sam Hunter from Hunter's Design Studio

Skill Level: Intermediate

Using a plaid fabric for inspiration, create your own custom plaid design using nothing more than the Built-in decorative stitches of your sewing machine! This scarf uses a washable linen blend with a great drape on one side, and a soft, snuggly flannel on the other. 

Janome Supplies Required
  • Topstitch needles (either 80/12 or 90/14) for your machine
  • Walking foot or Dual Feed foot - use for all steps.

Janome Sewing Machine (Sam uses the Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP. For this project, she used the AcuFeed Flex Dual Feed Foot for all steps).

Fabric and Notions Required

Other Fabrics and Notions Required:
When I went shopping for this project, I chose the flannel first, and then the solid to go with it. You can use flannel on both sides, or linen on both if you prefer. Quilting quality cottons will work also - but they may have less drape. Of all the fabrics that we use, flannels shrink the most, so it's important to pre-wash your flannel before you start this project, even if you don't usually pre-wash anything. (Note: I have added the manufacturer's information where possible.)

  • 1/2 yard solid fabric (Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen - Yard Dyed Black B142-1019)
  • 1/2 yard cotton flannel in plaid print or (Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel - Crimson SRKF-13933-91)
  • Various decorative rayon and poly threads - any decorative threads will work, but use poly and rayon embroidery threads for the best sheen. Avoid metallic threads as they may be scratchy when worn.
  • 1 package C&T Wash-Away Stitch Stabilizer (or any other stabilizer that sticks to fabric, and completely washes away) - you'll need about 4 of the 10 sheets in the package if you make a scarf like mine.



Choose your threads:

  • I have a decent stash of Robison Anton rayon embroidery threads and Isacord poly threads. I'm happy to mix and match them on a project like this to get the colors that I like best. I chose the ones that match the colors in the plaids. Don't fret if you don't find an exact match - close enough is going to work just fine, especially because the stitching will be on the side that isn't plaid. Slight variations of color also look richer than exact matches. You can also use variegated threads too - especially if you can find one that works well with your plaid colors.

Cut the Linen:

  1. From the linen, cut 2 lengths 8'' x Width of Fabric (WOF).

  2. Cut one end off from each of these lengths at 45 degrees.

  3. Sew the two 45 degree edges together using a 1/2'' seam. Press the seam open. The diagonal seam helps the scarf drape nicely.
  4. Trim this length down to 73'' - this is a good scarf measurement for most people, but feel free to adjust to suit! Let's call this the Scarf Front, and the flannel (which we'll cut later) will be the Scarf Back.
  5. Take the scrap that is left over from this cut - this is your Play Piece.

To Make the Plaid:


  1. Take one sheet of the Stabilizer, and cut it into 1'' x 11'' strips.
  2. Peel off the backing, and stick the strips onto your Play Piece. You'll use this piece to experiment with how different stitches look, before committing to them on the actual scarf.
  3. Wind a bobbin with each thread you plan to use. Sometimes the tension that works well for a fabric might make the stitch look a little odd, and vice versa, so I like to match my top and bottom threads so that if my tension is a little off, the bottom thread never shows. It also doesn't matter on this project as the back side of the embroidered fabric will never show.
  4. Make sure you are using a Topstitch needle in your machine. This needle is hollowed out behind the eye, allowing the thread to pass more easily in the hole made in the fabric. This helps the delicate and decorative threads stay together and not shred. Start with the smaller 80/12 needle, and if you get some shredding, move up to the larger 90/14.
  5. Now it's time to play! Look at the machine stitching charts for your machine, and choose a few stitches to play with. Each 1'' piece of the Stabilizer will allow you to test two rows of stitching. So run through the possibilities on your machine and make note of the ones that work well for you. A note here… don't worry if you end up with a little bit of stretch or distortion in your fabric at this point - I've found that once it's washed and pressed, it seems to flatten out again.
  6. Once you've stitched your samples, give your Play Piece a quick soak in the sink to remove the Stabilizer, and then iron it dry.
  7. As you can see from my sample, I prefer the geometric stitches to the flowery ones. I also like the ones that make bold lines, so I'll be using several of those in my final project.
  8. Cut up more 1'' strips of the Stabilizer, and arrange them on the Scarf Front to make an overlapping plaid design. You can make lines diagonally, or you can follow the grain of the fabric and make it square up to the edges.
  9. FYI: I used a 45 degree diagonal, and placed the strips about 3 1/4'' apart. I stabilized and sewed all of the lines in one direction before adding the Stabilizer for the opposite direction. I also decided to do TWO lines of stitching on each strip of stabilizer for a really woven look.
  10. So… stitch away!
  11. DON'T IRON THE STABILIZER! If you put an iron on the stabilizer it might set the glue into the fabric or make a sticky mess on your iron.
  12. I know you are anxious to wash off the stabilizer at this point so that you can see your pretty designs, but don't do that just yet. You'll be washing at the end so that you don't have a frayed mess on your hands! If you want a quick preview of how it will look, turn it over and check out the back!

From the Flannel:

  1. Cut 2 strips 8'' x Width of Fabric. If you want to match the stripe up, cut at the same place in the plaid pattern for each strip.
  2. Trim off the selvedges, and then sew together along the short ends with a 1/2'' seam, this time using a straight seam as it's easier to match the plaid that way! This is now the Scarf Back. Press the seam open.
  3. Trim the Scarf Back to 73'' (or the same you used for the Scarf Front).
  4. Generously pin the Scarf Front to the Scarf Back, all the way around, with the right sides together. Don't worry about the stabilizer - it will get washed out once the scarf is completely sewn together.
  5. Stitch all the way around the edge using a 1/2'' seam, leaving a 6'' hole along one side for turning.
  6. Trim the corners, and turn the scarf.
  8. Whip stitch the turning hole closed with matching thread.
  • Now you can wash the scarf - use warm water and a gentle cycle to dissolve the stabilizer. Give it a good press when it comes out of the dryer.
  • Wrap up and stay warm!

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