It will probably not surprise you to hear that I have a huge stash of fabric at home. There is a box of linen under my bed, an amazing stack of vintage chintz in my closet and a whole archive of Seasonal Liberties in my sewing cabinet. All of it was purchased with the best of intentions, but intention does not always equal inspiration. And so my stash waits.
Michael Miller’s Organic Sherpa reminds me a bit of all my sidelined fabrics. Soft, squishy and huggable, Sherpa is love at first sight; but while it is completely irresistible, it is also unique, and without the right vision, all its plush perfection can end up folded on a shelf.
Purl Soho has carried Michael Miller’s Organic Sherpa since 2007. In the seven years since, we've only featured it once on the Bee, until this season, when you may have noticed that we’ve become a bit infatuated with it. From blankets to bonnets, Organic Sherpa is no longer floundering in our stash!
And so, caught up in the fever, I’ve whipped up another Sherpa creation. This time I’ve paired it with Kiyohara’s beautiful and subtle Linen Blend Solids to make a Cozy Sewn Cowl. Soft and comfortable, this cowl is so easy to wear and even easier to make. So easy, in fact, I’ve made two: one in an adult size and one for kids.
Now, if I could only think of what to do with all that chintz! - Corinne
- Lining: 1 yard Michael Miller’s Organic Sherpa, 100% organic cotton
- Outer Fabric: 1 yard Kiyohara Linen Blend Solids, 85% cotton, 15% linen. I used Lavendar for the child's size and Brown for the adult.
- A spool of Gutermann’s 100% Cotton Thread
You will also need . . .
- A walking foot for your sewing machine
These are enough materials to make one adult and one child sized scarf or two child sized scarves.
53 inches in circumference by 10 ½ inches wide
47 inches in circumference by 7 inches wide
Prewash all fabrics before starting. This is particularly important with the Organic Sherpa, which shrinks quite a bit with its first wash and dry.
Use ¼-inch seam allowances unless otherwise noted.
The right side of the Organic Sherpa is the fuzzy side.
Cut two rectangles (27 by 11 inches for the Adult size and 24 by 7 ½ inches for the Child size) from both the Lining and the Outer Fabric. Make sure that the long side of each rectangle runs parallel to the selvedge.
(The measurements are given as a guide. You can easily adjust the size of your cowl, just be sure to cut all 4 rectangles to the same dimensions.)
Sew the Tube
With rights sides facing, stack the two Outer Fabric rectangles on top of each other and pin along one short edge.
Sew along this pinned edge.
Now, change the foot of your sewing machine to the walking foot and repeat with the Lining.
Press the seams open.
With right sides facing, stack the Outer Fabric rectangle on top of the Lining rectangle. Pin along the two long sides. Sew along these pinned edges.
You may find that the Lining is slightly wider than the Outer Fabric at the center seam. This is because the knit of the Sherpa stretches when sewn against the grain. When pinning and sewing, keep the edge of the Outer Fabric straight and allow the Lining to bulge out a bit at this point. Trim any overhang in the seam allowance after sewing.
Turn the tube right side out through one open side and press flat.
Connect the Ends
Fold the tube in half, right sides together. Line up and pin together the raw edges of the Outer Fabric, making sure to line up the side seams.
Sew along the pinned edge, being careful to only sew through the two Outer Fabric layers. This seam can get a little awkward. I advise taking it slow, sewing an inch or two at a time, and then, with the needle in the down position, rearranging the fabric for the next inch or two.
Now, starting from the side seams and sewing toward the center, sew the Lining together with right sides facing, leaving a 3 inch gap between the seams.
Use a ladder stitch to close the gap at the center of the seam. Here’s how: Thread a length of cotton thread onto a needle. (For the example photos we used red thread, but you will use the matching sewing thread.)
Fold the raw edges of the Lining ¼ inch toward the wrong side, so that they align with the adjacent seams. Pull the needle from the wrong side to the right side of the hem’s fold so that the thread’s knot is inside the cowl.
Insert the needle into the opposite fold, directly across from the exit point, picking up about ¼ inch of fabric.
Go back and forth like this, entering across from the last exit point and sewing through the fold, until you reach the end of the opening. Tie a knot at the end.
Pull the thread through the cowl and snip it at the exit point to hide the end.
Your cowl is ready to wear!