How to Sew a Cool '50s Neck Scarf

  • 01 of 08

    Gather Materials to Make a Keep Cool Neck Scarf

    A photo of a finished wet and a finished dry cool neck scarf made with these free directions.
    Finished Wet & Dry Cool Scarf. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Our locality has a huge event for Flag Day. Many school organizations participate by marching in the parade. It's also usually a very warm day, and the heat can be dangerous. I have made hundreds of these scarves to keep the youngsters (and chaperones) cool while they march. A serger makes them the fastest, but a zigzag stitch on the edges will work. If the hottest day of the year lands on your planned event, make a pile to have on hand for your guests.


    • 4" strip of 45" wide...MORE fabric
    • Quality Thread Is There a Difference In Sewing Threads? You Be The Judge
    • Watering Crystals (These directions are using Schultz Moisture Plus Watering Crystals which are no longer listed on the company website. See below for other suggested sources. Some home and garden centers may still carry some form of crystals in the gardening section.)

    Other Sources for Medium Water Retaining Crystals;

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Cutting Directions

    Two photos of cutting out a cool neck scarf.
    Cutting Out a Cool Neck Scarf. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Cut a strip of fabric to 4" wide by the width of the fabric. Rotary Cutting tools make this a fast job. How to Use Rotary Rulers and Cutters to Cut Fabric

    With the fabric folded ( selvedges matching as it was on the bolt), mark 6" from the selvedge on each long side. Mark the center of the selvedge edge.

    Draw a line from the 6" mark to the center of the selvedge. Trim on these lines for a pointed end. Curve the ends if desired.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Finish the Edges

    A photo of the fabric with finished edges.
    Finish the edges of the fabric. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Serge with a two or three thread flat-lock or rolled edge or zig zag the raw edges. Almost any seam finish process can be used to finish the raw edge. Your goal is to prevent the edges of the fabric from fraying with repeated use.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Prepare to Seam

    A photo showing matching the right sides and marcking 8
    Match right sides and measure 8" from the center. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Fold lengthwise with right sides together.

    Mark the center of the strip.

    Mark 8" from the center toward both ends.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Sew the Seam

    A photo showing where and how to sew a seam in the cool neck scarf.
    Sew between the marks using a 1/4" seam. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Sew a 1/4" seam along the long edge between the marks. Using a small stitch length is advisable to prevent any leaking of the crystals.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Turn and Sew One End

    A photo showing sewing the end of the seam on a cool neck scarf.
    Turn and sew. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Turn right side out.

    Lay the seam to the center of the strip.

    Sew across the scarf at the end of one side seam. Be sure to backstitch to prevent your stitching from coming undone.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Add Crystals

    A photo showing adding the crystals to the cool neck scarf.
    Add crystals to the open end. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Place one scant teaspoon of "watering crystals" in the tube. Tap the crystals down to the opposite end of the tube. (It doesn't seem like much crystals but they expand and fill the tube.)

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Close the Tube

    Stitch the opening closed.
    Stitch the opening closed. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Sew across the other end of the seam to close the tube.

    Place in water until the crystals are plump. The scarf pictured below was soaked for about 10 minutes.

    NOTE: Test the amount of crystals you are using and use quality thread! Apparently the brand and the amount of time they are left to soak can cause a difference in the amount of expansion of the crystals. The first time I made a large number of these, I set all the scarves in a bath tub filled with water while we did other things to get...MORE ready for the parade and did not keep an eye on them. A few of them popped their side seam, leaving me with a gel mess to rinse off the other scarves! I had used cones of serger thread, thinking I was saving myself work when making a pile of the. It was more work to clean up when the thread broke than it would have been to re-thread the sewing machine a few times.