Ever since Rae announced that she had a fabric line coming out, I think all of us have been buzzing about her beautiful organic flannels. Cloud9 does such great work, with so many lovely designs, and knowing it’s organic and produced by such kind people makes it even easier to feel good about buying it. When Rae offered to send me some of her new collection a little early and let me play with it, I ’bout near squealed out loud (let the record show: there is no evidentiary proof that such squealing did or did not occur).
I’m sharing not one but TWO project with you today, both made from Fanfare (which is now available at Hawthorne Threads and Pink Castle Fabrics, plus a number of other retailers around the country and the web). I really wracked my brain to think of ways to not just show off the flannel and the sweet print (elephants! Shut up!) but also to use it in ways that our family will really benefit from. Obviously, I already have Big Plans for matching loungewear for all of us, along the lines of the Grinch pajamas I made for the entire family last year. But what about flannel in the everyday, maybe when we’re planning on actually leaving the house?
I am beyond obsessive about the power of the scarf. For reals. I maintain–and I am quite certain I’m right–that scarves are the single biggest thing you can do each winter to keep from getting sick. Yes, you can wash your hands etc etc and I don’t minimize the importance of avoiding contact with germs, but even if you’re maniacal about hand washing and keeping away from others who are unwell, those winter winds sneak down your neckline and I have found again and again that if I leave my neck unprotected, I get a chest cold near-instantly.
So not only do I wear a scarf almost every second of the winter, but I want my children to wear them, as well. With my oldest (who is now off at college and free to NOT wear a scarf if she chooses, no matter what her mother says), I had no problem handing her a scarf and sending her out the door. With the littler ones, though, and especially my boy, who is prone to grabbing hold of whatever scrap of fabric presents itself and tugging mercilessly, I don’t feel quite comfortable having them wear scarves that wrap around their little necks. I have these horrible visions of strangling and it’s supremely disquieting. I like the idea of a neck cuff, but I really want the length of a scarf to tuck into little jackets and necklines and keep their chests warm while protecting delicate skin. Hence: the Quick Release Scarf!
The construction of the scarf is very simple: two pieces of flannel, both measuring 9″ x 45″ and cut square at the corners. Attached to each piece of flannel before sewing the scarf is a 5″ cut of hook-and-loop tape (better known by the brand-name Velcro), laid square to the edges of the fabric and edge-stitched in place:
The Velcro is placed about 6″ above the lower edge of each piece of flannel–one strip on the main fabric and one on the reverse. I used the blue elephants from Rae’s collection, along with a cut of Robert Kaufman Mammoth shetland flannel in jet (I got mine from Pink Chalk Fabrics). Both of these fabrics washed up SOOO soft and so easy to work with–they’re just dreamy and warm and pudding-soft (is that a thing?).
The Velcro is strong enough to hold the scarf on his neck, but not so strong that he can’t unfasten it himself, or that if another child gave it a yank on the playground it wouldn’t pop free and come off. I’d rather be looking for a missing scarf than looking at a blue baby face, know what I’m sayin?
From there, construction is terrifically simple: place the two pieces of flannel right sides together, and sew a 1/2″ seam allowance around all four sides, leaving a 4″ opening unstitched to turn it right side out. Clip the corners to remove bulk, and then turn right side out and press vehemently. I like to use a bamboo knitting needle to pop the corners right side out to get them nice and pointy. Then, edge-stitch around the entire perimeter, catching the opening closed as you do. I swapped out my white bobbin for a grey one so that I could sew with white on top and grey on bottom and avoid having too much thread contrast on either side of the scarf.
This was a tremendously quick and simple project, aided by the fact that these flannels stick to one another as you’re sewing, so I used nary a pin the entire time. I really think that it was 20 minutes of sewing time, no lie.
And he loves it! And he looks so handsome! I like that this print, while delicate and appropriate for a nursery, doesn’t look to baby-fied, even on my big five-year-old boy. And as he gets older, he can switch the grey to the top and we’ll all just have a sweet reminder of the little man he used to be. All while knowing he won’t get choked on the jungle gym this fall.
Thanks to Rae and Cloud9 for the fabric! Be sure to check out the comfy lounge pants I made for our littlest from this same flannel, too!