Today, I’m showing you how to DIY your very own No Sew Flannel Blanket Scarf. It is so quick and easy to make, and you don’t need to have any sewing experience! These scarves are a wonderfully personal and beautiful gift to give to someone you love. You can pick whatever flannel your heart desires—stick with classic plaid, choose a simple print, or do a fun novelty print!
My closet is chock FULL of these blanket scarves made from using this very tutorial—and I’ve given away dozens of them over the years. Blanket scarves are wonderful because they not only work well as a scarf, but also a shawl, a nursing cover, or even a small blanket. Throw one in your carry-on the next time you fly, and you’ve got yourself a nice scarf, a blanket, and a pillow—all in one!
This blanket scarf is so simple to make, I think just about anyone can do it. The hardest part is deciding on what color and pattern of flannel to get from the fabric store! Let me show you how to make it.
What do you need to make a DIY blanket scarf?
To make this blanket scarf, you need exactly one supply: flannel fabric. Head down to your local fabric store, and you’ll probably see three or four different flannel sections. Flannel comes in one of two widths usually—either 42″ or 60″. Traditional blanket scarfs are usually right around 50″ square, so if you want to go that route, make sure to find 60″ wide flannel. I personally have no problem with making scarves from narrower fabric—the end result is about 41″ wide—even on my big and tall frame, the scarf still looks large enough. All the photos in this post are of me (at 5’9″) wearing the smaller size scarves.
When you hit up your fabric store, you’ll likely see four different kinds of flannel you can choose from:
- Nursery/Baby Flannel: Look for all the super soft pastel flannel, and you’ve found the baby flannel! This fabric usually runs about $6/yard but is frequently on sale at my local fabric store for 50% off. If you can find a pattern you like here, this flannel works just fine and dandy for a blanket scarf. This flannel is usually 42″ wide, so you’ll need a yard and a quarter to make a square blanket scarf.
- Shirting Flannel: This softer, thicker, and almost always plaid flannel is higher quality stuff, so you’ll be paying $10-$15 a yard (again, sometimes there are 50% off sales). It also tends to come in wider widths. You can get 60″ flannel in this section normally, so if you want to make a larger, traditional blanket this is where to look. You’ll need a yard and a half of 60″ shirting flannel to make a square blanket scarf.
- Standard Flannel: This is where all the random flannel goes—you’ll see everything from plaid to mermaids to stripes to dots printed on these flannel bolts! This is usually the most affordable of the flannel, and you can usually find it on sale for $2-$3/yard—or even cheaper for solids. You can really customize your gift—get cat flannel for the cat lover, pink plaid for the pink lover. This flannel is usually 42″ wide, so you’ll need a yard and a quarter to make a square blanket scarf. Standard flannel tends to be a bit stiff right off the bolt, so I recommend washing it a number of times to get it to soften up before gifting.
- Luxury Flannel: Some stores will also carry luxury flannel, which is very soft, very high-quality flannel. It can come in either 42″ widths or 60″ widths. This flannel can run anywhere from $10-$20 a yard—which is still a steal considering how high quality the fabric is. And keep an eye out for coupons on your fabric store’s app to save money.
Any of the types of flannel will work for this scarf, you just have to decide what your budget is and what size scarf you’d like to make! And a reminder: flannel doesn’t have to be plaid and neither does your blanket scarf!
Wait, isn’t 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 yards of flannel too short for a scarf?
For a regular scarf, yes, but for a blanket scarf, it isn’t! Because you wear a blanket scarf by folding it on the diagonal, and then tucking the ends around your neck a relatively “short” amount of fabric will do the trick. Here is a good article that shows you exactly how to wear/tie a blanket scarf. If you try to wrap this scarf around your neck like a regular long, skinny scarf, it will be too short.
If you do want the oversized traditional blanket scarf size, make sure to track down 60″ wide flannel. However, in all the photos in this post, I am wearing smaller square blanket scarves made from 42″ wide flannel. This works because of how you fold the scarf on the diagonal and loop it around your neck. Whichever width flannel you go with, the scarves will be wonderful and the method for making them is the same.
How do you make a no-sew flannel blanket scarf?
The first step is to wash and dry your flannel. Not only will this help soften up any of the lower-quality flannel, but it’ll also pre-shrink the flannel.
Once your flannel is washed and dried, you need to cut the finished edges (called selvage) off your flannel fabric. We need to remove these so the scarf will properly fray later—also, in many flannels, the selvage isn’t printed with the fabric print. No one wants “Copyright 2017 Joann Fabric” printed on the edge of their scarf! Most flannel comes with two edges finished, but some might not. Basically, if the edge looks hemmed and doesn’t have threads unraveling, you need to chop that hem off. You can use a pair of sharp fabric scissors or a ruler and a rotary cutter to make sure you get a straight line.
Next step, cut your flannel into a even-ish square. Normally with sewing projects, you need to be pretty darn accurate with your cutting so everything will align, but since this is a no-sew blanket scarf, you can get away with being not quite as precise. I tend to fold my piece of fabric into quarters, and then cut that into an even square.
How to do fray the edges of the blanket scarf?
And that’s all the cutting you have to do! Flannel does a really good job of not unraveling like crazy, so you don’t have to hem the edges (hence the no-sew part of this tutorial), but you do want to give the edges a finished look by adding a fray to the edges of scarf. There are a number of ways to get a good fray, but the two I recommend are:
Hands-off/carefree approach: use the washing machine to fray the edges
This is also the method I prefer if I’m making a number of scarves. You can load your whole washing machine full of them! I did nine blanket scarves one Christmas using this method. This method is pretty carefree—it’s not going to be a perfectly even fray, but it is super easy and I love the rustic look!
Cut slits as long as you want your fray to be every 1/4″ along all four sides. You can make these cuts very tiny for a short frayed edge or longer for a funkier fray. I do recommend keeping it under about an inch if you’re using the narrower width fabric.
Wash and dry repeatedly until the fray looks the way you’d like it to look. This gray cat scarf got this way after two rounds of washing and drying. Some flannels will take just one round, some will take quite a few. I’ve found that the softer the flannel to begin with, the quicker it frays.
Precise approach: fray it by hand
I’ll warn you. This method is tedious. But it’s also mindless and simple. You can easily do this while marathoning through cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix. Start with one edge, and separate out a thread (a small seam ripper might help), then pull it all the way the length of the scarf until it is separated. Trash that thread, and then start again. Keep on pulling out threads until the sides of the scarf have a fray that is as wide as desired. Repeat with all the other sides.
How do you package up a no-sew flannel blanket scarf for gifting?
Once you are done fraying all the edges, the scarf is DONE! Run a warm iron over the scarf to give it a finished look, then fold it up into a small shirt box. I like folding it so a little bit of the fray shows.
As far as care goes, I wouldn’t recommend putting this through the washing machine or the dryer—since the edges aren’t finished, it could unravel more than necessary. But honestly, who washes their scarves anyway? I know I don’t! Instead, spot clean the scarf if something gets on it, and if you really need to do a deep clean, hand wash it and let it dry flat.
If you’re concerned about the scarf unraveling too much, you could also run a coordinating straight stitch just to the inside of the fray to help avoid this. Happy holidays!