Saturday, March 24, 2012

Koos Loop Infinity Scarf

One of my sewing pals, Lynn CC, was taken with the Koos scarf article in the January 2012 issue of Threads magazine. The article, by Linda Teufel, shows how designer Koos van den Akker creates his version of the infinity scarf.

Using different fabrics, sewn in a spiral, and twisted so that it lays nicely, the scarf construction is much more complex than it appears. Lynn CC liked the scarf, but wondered how it would work in a smaller format, such as a half yard of fabric. She made several and liked the result.

When I saw Lynn's scarves, I loved them. She used the full width of the fabric, and when you use, say, a half a yard of a 45" wide fabric and twist it once, it produces a scarf that lays nicely and close to your neck. It's a great way to showcase a special fabric - be it knit, woven, or lace. Lynn has found that these make great gifts.

Single twist

I had to make the black and white ikat scarf twice. The first time, I added a single twist, but somehow lost it when sewing the selvedges together, because the resulting scarf was a cylinder, with no twist. Luckily, I had another half yard (because I was too lazy to unstitch the first scarf) and made it a second time, this time asking Lynn to assist with the twisting. This one was perfect.

On my way home last weekend, Sue and I stopped by Hart's fabric store in Santa Cruz. I had never been there before, and it's a great store. (They also have a nice online store.)

Full disclosure: one of those bags was Sue's and they were very heavy! :)

Harts displays their knits on long cylinders, standing straight up. It was nice to be at a fabric store with lots of knits and so well displayed. They had 2 or 3 rows of knits.

Another Hart's purchase. This is a polka dot lightweight fine wale corduroy! I just may use this for another Koos pattern.

Hart's carries a lot of knits, including quite a few of the Missoni knits. I am not really a Missoni girl, but I decided to buy a half yard to make a Koos scarf.

Because the Koos fabric is much wider than the ikat fabric, I decided to use the full width, but add more twists. In the end, I added four full twists, which was maybe one twist too much. Twisting the scarf helps to shorten it, but I think I would have been happier if I had cut the rectangle to be shorter than the full selvedge-to-selvedge width (closer to 45") and twisted it only once.

Oh well, it was an experiment and I'm sure I'll get some wear out of it.

The Missoni Koos scarf. Meh.


  1. Love your ikat scarf, Shams! A collection of these in different wonderful colors and/or patterns could add just the vibrant notes many outfits need. I made a silk loop scarf but it needs fine-tuning. One of the challenges of these scarves is that subtle differences in each fabric make the optimum fabric dimensions differ. A small challenge for such impactful results!

  2. This look great. You can never have too many scarves in the wardrobe!

  3. Your scarves look great, Shams...I like the balance between control and looseness...

  4. Love your scarves and also love Harts. My sister in law took me there about four years ago....although I will admit that I geeefully spotted some Fabric Mart fabrics already at home in my collection while I was there. I did buy some lovely knit fabric and think fondly of a fun day with her when I see it.

  5. Could you even believe the steps/complexity involved in the Koos scarf? None of them were hard, but I would be reluctant to give that sort of attention to making a scarf! Your version has just as much impact and is much more sensible. Many possibilities with this design. This style of scarf doesn't work so well on me for some reason, but I really admire it on others and you!

  6. I love your black and white scarf. I'm a bit meh about the missoni also.
    The scarf fron D Erickson is neat also. Need to check that one out.
    Your smocking on the legs of LH pants are great. Like the pics. Sounds like you had fun.
    After being gone for a week I'm playing 'catch up' - great inspirations.

  7. First-I have some of that ikat fabric...was planning to make a dress with mine. But that is an awesome scarf! You make some of the most interesting things...and what was in the bag? Inquiring minds and all...

  8. Love that Ikat scarf and thanks for reminding me about that Threads article.

    looove seeing all that nice knit, too.

  9. I guess sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, i.e twists! The ikat one is my fave too. I can see that drape makes a big difference on what length and width might be optimum for a particular scarf fabric to make it look the way you like.

  10. Interesting how the fabric choice changes tha scarf character. Another version I have bought here in New Zealand is also made from a knit. Cut fabric about 15 inches wide by width of material. Put the two short sides together and cut from the fold to within approx 2 inches off short sides. Make cuts like this every 2 to 3 inches, so centre of scarf becomes 5 or 6 stripes. Seam short sides together and fold seamin on its self until scarf desired width. Strips in centre will curl in on themselves and do not need hemming. Wear same as Infinity scarf, looks like fabric necklaces. Very warm.

  11. I absolutely love your scarf. I haven't read Linda's article yet, but i have done a blog post on scarves that took 1/2 yard that was an infinite loop. Great way to capitalize on expensive silks! I haven't thought of using a knit.

  12. Love the black and white Koos scarf, but the Missoni version not so much. Not a fan of Missoni, but also I love the compactness of the B & W.

    The long droop of the Missoni (and so many of the infinity scarves) just looks kind of sloppy to me. Even the great colors don't really make up for that.

    Ohhh, and soooo jealous of your polka dot corduroy!

  13. I have recently discovered your blog through PR and wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed looking at your wonderful projects and your interesting blog.
    I am not sure if you are familiar with this Canadian clothing shop but perhaps you might find their website interesting.

  14. The scarf looks great! But what I really LOVE is the polka dot fabric you bought. SCORE! I can't wait to see what you make with it! Hart's sounds like a great place to visit (and shop) Hmmmmm . . . now I just need an excuse to go to Santa Cruz and just happen upon the shop . . .

  15. Your scarf is lovely! How wonderful to find a new fabric store, and it looks pretty fabulous with all those gorgeous colours too!

  16. Love these scarves, especially the ikat version. I saw the article in Threads and have been meaning to give it a go -- good to see the results are so nice! I love your smocking technique in your prior post as well -- how clever, and it is such a unique detail on your pants. Thank you for sharing the video!

  17. I clearly didn't give this article the attention it deserved. I love your scarves - particularly the IKAT print. Lovely.

  18. Really like what you have done with the scarves, Shams. I especially like the shorter versions of the twisted scarves. Beautiful as usual.


  19. Zandi just posted this comment, which I deleted by accident (Sorry, Zandi! I've had loads of spam lately):

    I'm having trouble with my Koos scarf, from the Threads article. For some reason I can't get the scarf to turn out even on the ends. Must be doing something wrong...but WHAT??? Are the dimensions right - 70 L x 20 W? What ratios did you use for a shorter/narrower scarf? Love the scarf. Yours looks amazing! But I'm ready to give up on mine!

    1. Zandi, the dimensions don't particularly matter, but mine was a half a yard of 48" fabric, so approx 13"x48". The trick, which is very hard to describe or visualize, is to sew the short ends to each other, after you've introduced a twist. It took me a couple tries, after seeing someone do it in person, to get this right. But when you do it right, the ends are the same length. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

  20. Lynncc here, these scarves have been so much fun. I made a lot of them in 2012. I bought some of the same Missoni fabric as Shams and also one which was more textured, maybe an authentic Missoni and it worked up with more loft.

    Shams, thanks so much for being such an active stitcher and blogger!