Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DIY Leopard Print Cowl

There has been a very specific image that’s been floating around the interwebs that made me just green with envy because it was one of my very favorite bloggers wearing one of my very favorite prints and looking very, very chic:


{photo of Natalie via Moss + Isaac}

Alas, I went about my merry way because I had never seen a leopard print cowl.  Then fate, that twisted mistress, intervened whilst I was wandering through Target, as one does.  Fate came in the form of a body pillow cover that day, on sale, in a soft, leopard print.  So out of that Target I walked with the resolve to somehow make my own leopard print cowl, armed with only a cheap sewing kit and ironclad will.

Here’s how you can make one too!  It is a very forgiving project, just read through the instructions once and then try.


You will need:

  • 2 leopard print material panels (at least 10 in. wide x 60-70 in. long each)
  • brown or black thread to match the material
  • sewing needle
  • pins
  • measuring tape
  • basic knowledge of hand sewing


  • seam ripper
  • nerves of steel

My fabric was already sewn together on one side lengthwise, but for all intents and purposes let’s pretend we’re working with two panels of fabric 10”w x 70”l.

Leopard (2 of 7)

Place both panels of fabric together, right sides (leopard print) touching.  Pin together the length of each side (the sides that measure 70in).  You should now be looking at a long tube with a 10in opening on each side, wrong sides facing out.

Sew the length of one side (70 inches of stitching) and remove the pins on that side.

Now you are going to sew the other side, but first look at this photo:

Leopard (1 of 1)

This time you start stitching a few inches in from the edge.  So you would start where my finger is and stitch to the right of it, fastening your stitches off a couple inches from the end on the other side (about 64 inches of stitching).

Your final product should look like this:

Leopard (2 of 2)Leopard (1 of 2)

A long tube with a couple inches of unstitched length on either end of one side.

Now this is the tricky part to explain, for further reference I’ll direct you to this website.  That’s what I referenced to complete the circle.

All pins should be removed at this point.  Turn the tube inside out (now the wrong sides are touching and the leopard print is visible) and lay the tube out flat.

Looking at the tube in front of you, turn the first couple inches of fabric on each end inside out, sort of like how you would roll down a sock (see poorly drawn graphic below).


You’re going to sew together the ends.  Start by bringing the corners where the red stars are together.  Continue stitching, moving up away from the area I told you to leave unstitched before.  You’re sewing together the edges, so as you sew the right sides of the material are touching and the wrong sides are facing out.

Sew all the way around and fasten off when you get to the other end.  That original open edge is still untouched.  It should look like this:


Push the part you just stitched back inside itself so that all of the leopard print is showing and all of the wrong side is on the inside of the cowl:

Leopard (2 of 3)

All you have to do now is stitch the open edge together.


Et voila!  You have a leopard print cowl!


The best part about this is that the leopard print is very forgiving if your stitches aren’t perfect.  So that makes doing it by hand quite feasible.


Remember, if you screw up the part where you join the circle, just use a seam ripper and start over.  It’s really hard to describe, but pretty easy once you figure it out yourself.  If you have questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to explain.


  1. Thanks to a bad experience in Home Ec, the mere thought of sewing makes me sweat. But... I wanna try this! Yours looks so good!

  2. Gorgeous! What a great find and creative project. Lovin' the red lips too! :)

  3. You make it look so easy! Love this cowl and so tempted to make one myself now xo

  4. ohhh, you did a great job on this!
    I was wanting a leopard cowl the other day too, so I just quickly stitched the ends of one of my leopard scarfs together and looped it, haha.

    Chic on the Cheap

  5. You did a great job... I wish I could sew =-(

  6. Such a great idea!!! I think Im going to make my mom make this for me...since I cant sew! Love your blog, shall we be followers?

    PS Enter my Jason Wu for target Giveaway


  7. thanks for the tutorial. i wondered how you made that. it looks easy enough to do.

  8. Hi, Dawn from Suitcase Vignettes, nice to meet you. I love this DIY cowl. It looks great on you too. I am reading along with you and love your humor and writing style. My husband talks about moving to California all of the time. Maybe someday. Dawn


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