T-Shirt Cowl: A Weekend Project

T-Shirt Cowl: A Weekend Project

How To Make Your Very Own T-Shirt Cowl — Quick & Easy!

The other day, as I was browsing Facebook in my flannel pj’s and a wicked bed head, I flipped past a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow walking with her kids. I’m not a particular fan of hers, necessarily, but the picture stuck with me because she was working that sort of rocker style I love. (I like to pretend it’s my style… though if I’m being straight with you, my style these days is more or less comfy pants and slippers with a shirt that’s not too dirty.) I have a thing for scarves and cowls (especially with leather-style jackets and skinny jeans) and in my head she was wearing a super-cool, kinda grungy t-shirt cowl in dark grey, and I wanted it. And it looked easy enough to make.

I went shopping that day and as I was poking around in a second hand shop, I found the perfect t-shirt: it was dark grey and made of a really nice quality and stretchy material. I paid $3.10 for it and happily went on my way to Walmart where I found… t-shirt cowls. But they were $9, and just as good as anything I could make by hand, so I left them there with the satisfied feeling of having won a round. When I got home, I pulled up the picture of GP and her kids so I could figure out how to make what I wanted and discovered something.

Gwyneth is not wearing a t-shirt cowl in the photo.

But I’ll still credit her with the inspiration.

My finished t-shirt cowl really is quite a bit different: it’s a darker grey, of course, but it’s also much less bulky. At first I was disappointed by this fact, but after wearing it out and about today, I decided I like it the way it is. It’s perfect for the late spring we’re having, in that it’s not too warm so you can wear it inside without roasting to death, but it still keeps any rogue chills away from your neck. Another bonus is that it’s really, really easy to do. If we had a difficulty rating at Little Boozy Homemakers, this project would be on the easiest end of it (although I have no idea how that would work… Maybe “I give it three margaritas!” As in,”It’s so easy you could have three margaritas and STILL manage it!”).

All kidding aside, I am a very primitive seamstress and I think it turned out pretty cool. So it’s super easy.

But anyway, enough rambling. I’ll tell you how I made…

The T-Shirt Cowl

T-shirt Cowl

You’ll need:

  • A large t-shirt – the bigger the t-shirt the better, especially if you want to have a bulkier cowl. You pick the color, the fabric, whether or not it has logos or writing… all up to you and the end result you want to have.
  • Scissors
  • A needle and thread in a color that coordinates with the t-shirt

How to do it:

Step 1: Start by cutting the top off of your t-shirt, just under the armpits, so you are left with a big tube of fabric. (The cut off piece will look like a very indecent halter top. Throw that part away or use it for cleaning. Or you could try and make your husband try it on which is hilarious if he actually does.) You could just stop here and wrap that big fabric tube around your neck, but that would probably end up looking and feeling more like a a very tight turtle neck… so maybe move on to step two.

**I don’t have a picture of this step because I went about achieving this large tube of fabric in an overly complicated manner. Hopefully the imagery of  an indecent halter top will tell you exactly what I mean.

Step 2: Cut the fabric tube up one side, making sure you cut the original seam completely off of the shirt. Now you’ll have a long, wide rectangle of fabric with one of the original side seams bisecting it.

T-Shirt Cowl Step 2






Don’t stress too much about your scissor cuts here, by the way. Though the long edges of this cowl won’t be hemmed, they kind of roll into it and are not really noticeable. You do want to make sure you use the sharpest scissors you have, however. It’s meant to look rough but not shredded, after all.

Step 3:  At this point, you can decide if you want to cut off the bottom hem of the shirt. I didn’t. Again, the hem won’t be noticeable and since it’s less work to leave it on… I say go ahead and leave it on.

So now you will fold the long rectangle in half, lengthwise, and cut down the fold line to make two long, narrower rectangles.
T-Shirt Cowl Step 3

Step 4: Put the two pieces of fabric together, right sides facing in, and pin the short edges. To make this an infinity cowl like mine, you will pin both ends of the rectangle together. You could also choose to pin one end and leave the other end open to make a scarf, if that tickles your fancy.
T-Shirt Cowl Step 4

Step 5: Sew your pinned edges together. I used blanket stitching to sew mine, and because I did, it turned out that my seams matched the original seam of the t-shirt rather nicely. It was totally a happy accident, though… my sewing skills are far too rudimentary for me to have planned such a thing. Whip stitching would work well here too. And of course if you have a sewing machine, go ahead and use that!

T-Shirt Cowl Step 5
I never said it was a GOOD seam…

**Please do note that if you use the blanket stitch tutorial I’ve linked, when you begin the seam you will go through BOTH pieces of fabric, not just one. Hiding the knot inside (as she does in the video) would be placing it on the right side of the cowl in this particular project.

Once you’ve sewn your seams, then you are done! Drape the cowl around your neck a few times and feel like Gwyneth Paltrow!

…Or like me, I suppose, since she’s not actually wearing a t-shirt cowl.

Do you have any improvements on my very basic methods? Have you made a t-shirt cowl before? As always, we’d love to see your successes and you can post any shots right on our Facebook page!

– Joc


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