Iron Craft ’15 Challenge 23 – Up North Cowl

For this challenge, we were to take something old and turn it into something new. My sister runs a pet sitting/walking business in northern Minnesota. That means even when it is 32 below and the windchill is -40, she has to be out walking dogs. She had mentioned to me that she wanted a knit cowl that could fit over her head, but still be tight enough to pull up over her nose when outside. She also said she wanted the cowl lined with fleece. I wanted to make her one for Christmas and to save the time on the knitting I decided to use an old sweater for the outside of the cowl.

Iron Craft '15 Challenge #23 - Up North Cowl

Excuse the bad picture, rainy, grey days make for grainy photography.

This cowl can be worn around the neck, but then when you need to protect more of your face, just pull it up and it stays put. It is a nice little handmade gift for anyone who lives in a colder climate. It’s perfect for dog walking, snow shoveling, skiing or sledding.

This is a simple, simple sewing project. The biggest issue is that both the fleece and sweater stretch can can distort your seams. I actually ended up doing the bottom seam three times before deciding that hand sewing was the way to go. Since it is only 17″ around it is a quick hand sew.

Up North Cowl

The directions are to make a cowl the exact size I did, 10″ high by 17″ around. You can make it bigger or small, just adjust the size of your fleece and what you cut from the sweater.


  • old wool or wool blend sweater
  • 11″ x 18″ piece of blizzard fleece, make sure it is cut so that is stretches the long way.
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • straight pins
  • thread to match
  • sewing machine (optional)
  • hand sewing needle

1. Wash and dry the sweater. Depending on how much wool is in it, it may felt a little which will give a nice fabric to use.

2. Cut the body of your sweater so that you end up with a 11″ x 18″ piece. If there is ribbing at the bottom of the sweater do not include that in the finished piece.
Iron Craft '15 Challenge 23 - Up North Cowl
3. Fold the sweater piece in half with right sides facing in to make an 11″ x 9″ piece. Sew into a along the open 11″ side using a 1/2″ seam allowance. You will have a tube,
Iron Craft '15 Challenge 23 - Up North Cowl
Repeat with the fleece.

You may want to tack the seam allowances so they lay open and flat to decrease bulk.
Iron Craft '15 Challenge 23 - Up North Cowl
4. Turn the fleece tube side right side out and slip it inside the sweater tube. Match up the seams. Pin the edges of one end of the tube together and sew shut with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Iron Craft '15 Challenge 23 - Up North Cowl
Turn the tube so the seam allowance you just sewed is on the inside, putting the fleece inside the sweater tube. The right side of both the fleece and the sweater will be facing out. Turn the raw edges of the fleece and sweater up 1/2″ and pin them together. Hand sew in place with a blind stitch.
Iron Craft '15 Challenge 23 - Up North Cowl
(You could sew that seam together with the sewing machine, but I found it stretched the bottom out and really looked sloppy, as you can see in the picture below.)
Iron Craft '15 Challenge 23 - Up North Cowl

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9 years ago by in Challenges , Iron Craft , Needlecraft , Projects , Sewing , Sewing Projects | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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