Easy Cotton Shawls

Easy Cotton Shawls

Self fringing shawls can be made from cotton or wools. Although I used cotton plaids, solid colors may be used too. This is a no sew project that can be done in under an hour. But be warned… they are easy and fun to make and the materials that are available are so beautiful you might just get carried away!

Finished Size: These shawls are square. The finished size will be approximately the width of the fabric you are using so they might be a 44″, 54″ or 60″ shawl. The directions are the same for them all.

Cotton or wool plaids or solids. If using cotton, the fabric should be heavier like a wool.

Buy a length of fabric the width of the fabric plus an1/8 of yard. (If the fabric is cut evenly, you do not need the extra 1/8 yard.)


1] Begin by cutting off the selvages. To make sure you cut a straight line, use the method “cut along a line” if you have a plaid or “pull a thread” if you’re using a solid piece of fabric. Directions for these 2 methods can be found in the tutorial  Straightening Fabric Grain

2] Straighten one crosswise edge using “cut along a lin or “pull a thread” method mentioned above.

3] Measure the width of your fabric after the 2 selvages are cut off. Now, measure the same distance from the straight crosswise edge you just created to the bottom of the fabric. Cut the fabric off at that point using the “cut along a line” or “pull a thread” method.

4] You should now have a square of fabric.
5] Remove 3/4″ of threads from each of the 4 sides.

You are done. Wasn’t that easy?

BTW: Don’t throw away the threads you pulled off your shawl. Put them in the woods in the fall for animals to take into their winter homes, or save them for the spring, drape them on branches, and the birds will collect them for their nests! It’s always wonderful to discover nests with pieces of fibers in them! I know the animals send their thanks!


Note about patterns: We are sharing patterns we have designed and made for our own children, families and friends. Every effort is made to share information in a clear and accurate manner. We offer preemptive apologies for any mistakes that may be made. Please let us know via comments or emails if you stumble upon a mistake or if you encounter directions that leave you scratching your head! We will rectify the situation as soon as humanly possible!

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  1. Are you kidding me??? This is FANTASTIC!!! I know what I am making for my sisters for Christmas now! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!

    Lisa 🙂

  2. I bought my fabric yesterday and found the same plaids you used. They are so soft and wonderful! I bought an owl print for my girls, but my oldest actually prefers my blue plaid one.

    I made the mistake and washed prior to hand fraying, but it wasn’t a problem. The fabric came out of the dryer fraying for me. I am going to sew a tight zigzag stitch around the border of the entire shawl to prevent further fraying in the washer and dryer.

    I’m posting about this on my blog and of course linking to your fabulous site!


    1. Of course, you can use a zigzag to guarentee there will be no additional fraying, but I did wash one of mine AFTER it was fringed. I wanted to see how much additional fraying it did. I was counting on very little. With the cottons there was virtually no additional fraying. The fringe twists just slightly, but enough to hold the other threads in place. I did make a washable wool one once, that had a rather loose weave. Well… I should have stitched that one!!! It basically fell apart! Looking forward to seeing your completed shawls. I’ll make sure to mention it on WFA’s facebook page. Let me know when the blog is up. Have fun!   

  3. I don’t really sew, but I think I can do this. Great photos and directions. Thanks.

    Oh, and I found the link from 5OrangePotaoes.

  4. I would like to request permission to use your cotton plaid shawl pattern for our charitable organization – Project Hugs. We are a non profit organization giving homemade scarves, shawls, blankets to those infected/affected by HIV/AIDS as well as those going through a crisis in their life. We do not CHARGE anyone for our crafts. Please let me know.


    Vicki L. Gonzales, LVN
    Project Hug’s

    1. Vicki ~ I would like to learn more about Project Hug and possibly find a way to help out myself. Please email me your request and some more info about the organization. Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂


  5. I was wondering if you had a couple websites you could recommend for fabrics for this project? I spent way too much time online today trying to find what I thought would be the “right” fabric and came up empty handed. Thanks!

  6. Kimara

    For the past few years I have bought mine at Joanns. I’ve gone in the store and picked it out. It is really hard to get the feel of a fabric online. The Platitude Collection on line looks like it might be right but I can’t tell if it is shawl or shirt weight. Here is a link. http://www.joann.com/plaiditudes-collection—-brush-cotton-brown-turquoise-camel/14237846.html?green=FE5F84AE-9F14-5D9D-957B-92B37C6A02BE I suggest you buy a 1 1/8 yards of one fabric and give it a try. Of course there are many wools out there but I always make cotton. Try doing a Google search using the words “cotton tartan fabric”. You are looking for a medium weight fabric. Hope this helps. ~Kimara~

      1. Thanks for the help! We do have a JoAnn’s here in town and I will try to go check them out. The weight is what I was questioning. It is very hard to know since that is usually not part of the description on-line.

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