Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee
« Big Stitch Crocheted Alpaca Rugs! | Main | Whit's Knits: Big Snowy Owl »

Molly's Sketchbook: Long Pom Pom Cowl

This summer on the streets of Soho I noticed that last winter's big cowl trend wasn't going away, even in the hottest weather. Instead of  the bulky knits of winter, these summer versions were sewn in lightweight silk, cotton, and linen fabrics and were worn like flowing necklaces over tank tops and sun dresses. I am someone who hates to be hot, so even though I admired these pretty summer scarves, I couldn't imagine putting something extra around my neck in the sticky heat. But since the weather has started to cool down, I've been yearning for an oversized sewn cowl of my own!

For a simple look with a natural beauty, I chose two of Purl Soho's most special fabrics, Sheer Linen and Duo Weave Linen from Globalweave. They both have a gorgeous drape and come in a lovely palette of soft colors, from lichen to ash to butter.  To contrast with the subtle elegance of the linen, I added a sweet pom pom trim around the edges. The effect is somewhere between a beautiful scarf and a charming necklace!

Wear the Pom Pom Cowl loose and long or doubled up around your neck for warmth. It's the perfect thing to stash in your bag when you're not sure if you'll need another layer. I know it's going to be in my bag all season!



Linen like this can be very hard to cut on grain if you're just using scissors or a rotary cutter, so instead it's best to "pull a thread". Make a tiny snip about 1-inch from the raw esge in the selvage and pull one of the weft threads across the entire width of the fabric. (The weft threads run from selvage to selvage, the warp threads run along the length of the fabric.) If the thread breaks off before you get to the opposite selvage just pull one next to it.

Remove the pulled thread(s) and press your linen. You should be able to see a clear straight line made by the gap where the thread was. Cut carefully along this line.

Repeat this for the opposite raw edge of your linen.

You will have a roughly 16-inch wide by 58-inch long piece of linen at the end of this process.

Attaching the Pom Pom Trim

Press one of the raw edges in 3/4-inch twice towards the wrong side.

Lay the pom pom trim along the folded edge so that the pom poms just stick out beyond the edge.

Fold and pin the bottom of the doubled 3/4-inch fold in half upwards so that it covers the tape of the pom pom trim.

Using your machine's zipper foot edge stitch along the very outer edge of the folded linen, making sure not to sew into the pom poms.

This will encase the tape of the pom pom trim.

Next, still using your zipper foot, edge stitch the inner edge of the fold down.

Repeat this for the opposite raw side of the linen.

The side with the sewn down folds is the wrong side.

Sewing the Cowl Together

With right sides together pin the selvages of the linen together. Cut off the last 2 pom poms on each end.

Sew the selvages together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Press the seam open and flat.

Edge stitch the seam allowances down.

Turn the piece right sides out and the seam should look neat and flat like this.

Press the cowl and you're all done. It should be worn with the seam in the back.

Reader Comments (31)

Looks like there's only a few colors of the pom pom trim in stock in sufficient quantity for this project... any idea if more will arrive soon?
September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
Hi Julie-

We should be getting more stock in soon. If you'd like to be notified when it arrives please drop us a line at

Thank you for your question!

- Molly
September 26, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is so pretty. I've never seen pom poms look so elegant.
Her way of trim attachment is so slick and professional.
she does an excellent job of showing how to find the grain in a squiggly fabric.
this would be beautiful for a chiffon wrap or the many drapery sheers I've wondered how to use that i didn't have enough windows for.
September 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfaunhaert
Your way of attaching the pom poms is genius.
September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJosie
I love this! I will definitely be making one, even though it is almost wool season again. One quick question - what do you mean when you say "edge stitch the seam allowances down"?
October 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Mackay
Hi Lisa-

I'm happy to clarify: Once you sew the two ends together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance you will press the seam open so that it lays flat.You edgestitch each side of this seam down by sewing it to the body of the cowl just along it's edge, so that the seam will lay flat when you're wearing the cowl.

Hopefully this helps. Please let us know if you have any more questions.

Thank you for the great question! Molly
October 5, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
That answers it perfectly - Thanks Molly!
October 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Mackay
I love this project and am making two to give as Christmas gifts. The danger of ordering fabric online, however, is that you can't touch it! From your store, I ordered a Globalweave Sheer Linen which is soft and perfect. I also ordered a Globalweave Linen solid in Brown. It's much stiffer. Is there a way to wash it to soften it before making the cowl? Will it still work with the stiffer linen?

October 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
I absolutely love this project. And that you restrained yourself and used neutral-colored fabric. I mean, I would have a hard time not pairing pom poms with some bright print but the neutral fabric + pom pom pairing is genius. Definitely going to have to make one of these. Thanks!
Great tutorial! The pom-poms are a great touch.
December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
OH! I love this! The yellow one is just fab!
Do you really mean I have to make one my self?? CanĀ“t I just buy yours? ;o)
March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrida
Love it, love it, love it! I made my own version, it's on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration!
May 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJos
Would the Nani Iro Double Gauze work for this pattern?? Thank you!
June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
Hi Angela. Yes it would. It will have a bit less drape than the linen however. --Laura
June 21, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Any other light weight fabrics you would recommend for this project?
June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzi
Hi Suzi... This would be just lovely in any of the Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabrics:
Let us know how it goes! Thanks for writing. -Laura
July 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Oh this is so pretty. And inspiring. I just had to make one. I used brown tropical weight wool and black pompom trim. I love how it looks and feels! I appreciate your technique for enclosing the trim at the edge. Thanks so much! I'll probably be ordering some of the pompom trim from you, that is, if I should happen to receive any compliments when I wear this, starting tomorrow. ;)
November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSandra
Update: Yes indeed, I have been receiving compliments on this cowl. I just published a new blog post in which I describe what I did differently to work with a different width of trim (as well as how I overcame my own error). It's at
And I just ordered three colors of pompom trim from you -- can't wait to make more of these. Thanks again!
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSandra
How I wish these were available to buy!!
January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBB
You could also french seam the join if you don't want the selvages to show. I love the clean look, beautiful scarf!
September 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeb S
Love this! Just need to make sure I understand...only 1/2 yard of fabric? What is the width? Thanks for sharing!
September 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenise
Love this! Just need to make sure I understand...only 1/2 yard of fabric? What is the width? Thanks for sharing!
September 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenise
Hi Denise-

Yes, it just takes 1/2 yard. The fabric is roughly 60-inches wide.

Thanks for your question!

September 17, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I could not help myself but share this great project on my blog!
I just love it!

Thank you! You are an inspiration!
September 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterioana

I'm a TAD confused on the size of fabric needed. In the beginning, you say one half yard of fabric. But then after your direction of fixing the raw edges by removing the thread, you say, "You will have a roughly 16-inch wide by 58-inch long piece of linen at the end of this process." The math doesn't seem to make sense to me. Please help! I would love to be able to make this for a Christmas gift.

Thanks! :)
October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaley
Hi Haley-

In the process of pulling the threads and cutting the fabric to make sure it's straight you will cut off roughly 1-inch from each side. A 1/2-yard is 18-inches so if you subtract 1 inch from each side (for 2-inches total) you will get a piece 16-inches wide.

Please let us know if you have any more questions!

November 1, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
What size is the top scarf with yellow pom poms?
November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCC
Hi CC-

It is the same size as in the instructions. It's just doubled over the hanger so it looks shorter.

Thanks for getting in touch!

November 26, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Maybe this is a silly question, but how do you know what the wrong side of the fabric is on this lovely linen?
May 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBLC

The fabric itself doesn't have a right and wrong side so for the purposes of this pattern you just have to assign one side to be the right side and one side to be the wrong side. The pattern is written referencing a right and wrong side for anyone who does want to make it with a more clearly 2-sided fabric.

Thanks for the great question!

May 12, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.