I love, love, love a good scarf. I have a pretty substantial collection, and wear one daily once the weather drops below, say, 68 degrees. However, for really active days–like when we’re playing in the snow, or headed out to ski, or even doing a cold-weather hike–I don’t like the bulk of a long scarf.
I also confess I have one of those weird mom things, where I worry (especially when the kids were very little) that a long scarf with loose ends was a safety hazard for my children–or for me, honestly, because my ski skills are firmly in the realm of the “beginner,” as are my mountain biking skills. A scarf is not the right choice for those activities, is all I’m saying.
So about 8 years ago, I created these super simple fleece neck warmers to fit the bill. They pull over the head, because the fleece has just enough stretch to fit, but stay fairly close to the neckline once they’re on. They insulate well and keep the wind out, and there’s zero chance the ends will whip up into the branches of a tree and cut off anyone’s air supply.
The video walks you through the steps for cutting & construction, and the whole project takes less than a fat quarter of fleece! Which makes this a bargain compared to something similar sold at the adventure outfitters (ahem–we saw a bunch this winter, since gaiters have gotten so much more popular, and they START at $30 each, and that’s not even for wool).
Technique tip: LONG ZIGZAG
One of the tips I point out in the SUPER SIMPLE construction of this neck warmer is to sew knits with a LONG ZIGZAG stitch. In this case, I use about a setting of 3 for the length (slightly longer than usual) and a width of about 2.5–this allows the stitches to stretch without breaking when the neck warmer goes on and off.
Eco-friendly: Make an UPCYCLED gaiter
I also like the idea of making this project from upcycled materials, like a thrifted oversize fleece hoodie or sweatshirt–I’m not sure how the budgetary considerations compare to buying fleece new (it’s almost always on 50% off sale at the big box stores), but the idea of taking a garment out of the supply chain, reducing the amount of new fabric coming into my house, and utilizing fabric in a new way is really appealing to me. Because of the dimensions of this project, you could easily get one or two neck warmers out of a single sweatshirt–or even from the leg of a pair of fleece sweatpants!
Print the PDF guide with measurements and step-by-step instructions:
There’s also a PDF tutorial guide for you to print complete with step-by-step instructions and measurements!
Stay cozy this winter!