Creating pieces of clothing from scratch can be a real challenge! Sweaters and vests of course are hard to make, as you need to keep many measures in mind so that they can suit the wearer properly.
But even a piece as plain as a scarf can be difficult to achieve! Some projects are harder than others, but definitely, there is no easy project whatsoever.
For example, what about scarves? They are probably the first thing any knitter made, as you don’t need to know different stitches nor a lot of material to get to the final result.
But, how long should a scarf be? This is a question not even expert knitters can assertively answer, as it depends on many factors, but let us give you a few hints to choose the right size for your creation.
The scarf length depends on different factors
The most important factor that changes the size of our scarves is who we are making it for.
It’s not the same to make a scarf for a short woman, a tall man or a kid. So, you first need to consider the height of the person you are making the scarf with.
Use your body proportions as a ruler for our scarf
Like Leonardo Da Vinci proved hundreds of years ago, our body proportions provide a precise model to calculate ratios and sizes of different parts of our body.
Da Vinci surely never thought his studies could be used for modern knitters to make scarves! There are several measures we can take from our own body.
If the scarf is a commission from a friend or a client who is aware of you making a scarf for them, you can use the most popular technique for measuring scarves. It’s very simple: ask your model to stand with their arms wide open.
Another technique you can use for taking the right measurements is considering the person’s height. It should be proportionate with the correct length for making them a nice scarf!
Take a piece of yarn or a measuring tape to make notes about the distance between the tips of their fingers.
With a measuring tape, you can clearly write down the number of centimeters or inches you need to knit, but if you don’t have one, you can simply cut a piece of thread or yarn to use as reference, even if you don’t know exactly how long it is.
These methods will probably give you the perfect length if you want to create a one-round scarf that is long enough to be wrapped around their neck once and make a knot.
What if I want to make a scarf for a surprise gift?
If you don’t want your friend to know you are making a scarf for them, you may want to avoid these previous methods.
There are other ways to make the right measurements, although they will not be so custom made and may require adjustments.
If you look on the internet, there are several scarf sizes chart that can give you an average ideal size based on the person’s gender and style, and whether you want to make a regular scarf or an extra-wide or extra-long one.
How long should a scarf be based on its width?
Another variable factor that can change how long the scarf is, can be its width. Using the previous scarf size chart, you can calculate the proportion of how long a scarf should be depending on its width.
But how to know what is the right width? Again, bodily proportions can help us in this matter.
Making a scarf too wide can be uncomfortable, especially if you want to make a scarf that you can wrap around your neck more than once, as they can be too bumpy.
Fortunately, there are two ways you can measure the right size for a scarf using your own hands. You can either use the length between the tip of your medium finger and your wrist.
You can also calculate the diagonal width between the tip of your thumb and your pinky finger. You will get two, different but, very similar measures.
You can also watch this video about Length & Width for Knitting a Scarf by clicking here.
How do the material and the stitches change the size of the scarf?
The size of the scarf does not only depend on the person who is going to wear it, but also on the style and the materials you are going to use.
If you are a more proficient knitter and know how to use different stitches, and not just a beginner who knows only a couple of combinations, then you know that each of these stitches can change the density of the scarf, its width and its coziness.
It’s not the same to make a thick scarf with a tight weft than using loose stitches that create gaps in the fabric.
If you want to make a scarf that is mainly meant to be a fashionable accessory, it can be okay to make a normal-width scarf made with a lacy pattern, as it is not supposed to be used in the middle of winter to prevent feeling cold.
But if you do want to make it useful to stay warm, you should probably make it wider, or use a different pattern.
In case you want to check the performance of the stitches or the materials, you can make a test patch before knitting.
So, in conclusion, how long should a scarf be? There isn’t a straightforward answer or a formula that can be used for everyone, but there are several techniques you can use to find the best size for each of your clients or friends:
- Use your client’s height as a guide;
- Use the length between your client’s hands with their arms open;
- Use your hands’ length or span to measure the scarf’s width;
- Take into consideration the stitches and the materials you want to use.
So, next time you want to make your scarf, use these tips to do it great!
If you plan to make a long crochet scarf, you can see this article about How to hold yarn when crocheting and make the process more comfortable and faster 🙂