Scarves are an amazing project to crochet or knit. They are an easy project for beginners, and can be made in so many different stitches and styles. Crochet scarves are one of my personal favorite things to design. But how long should a scarf be? And what about width? That’s what we will address in this post!
On average, scarves measure 5-8 inches wide, with a length of 40-70″. This is very much an average, so don’t take it as gospel truth. We’ll get into more details of the different sizes so that you can determine what is best for YOUR project.
How long Should a Scarf Be?
For adults, a scarf typically ranges between 40 and 70 inches. However, some may go longer than this. For example, a super-long scarf may be between 90 and 120 inches.
Take a look at this 94″ crochet scarf (inspired by Dr. Who!) to see what I mean!
Now, these are the typical lengths…but how can you figure out the best length for YOU?
One of my favorite ways to customize carf length is by using arm-span or height.
You can simply measure the arm-spam or the height of the person you’re making the scarf for, and use that exact measurement!
Here’s a chart that will show you what I’m talking about (and also give you some averages for different ages!)
How Wide Should a Scarf Be?
The width of a scarf greatly depends upon the style, and the person you’re making it for.
Men’s scarves (like this Alpine Scarf) are typically the most straightforward, ranging from 5 to 7″ in width (with 6″ being the most common).
Then there’s women’s scarves, which usually very a lot more. A women’s scarf can range from 4″ all the way up to 10″ or more. A scarf that is 4″ wide would be considered a “skinny scarf.”
5-7″ would be the range you want for a typical, warm, medium-thick scarf (like this Rustic Lace Scarf for example!)
Larger than that, and the scarf will usually be a different style, like an infinity scarf or a wrap. One of my patterns, the Snowbank Infinity, is 10.5″ wide!
So as you can see, the width of a scarf is very subjective to your own taste and style.
How to Determine Scarf Width
If you’re making a custom scarf for yourself or a friend, there are a few ways you can determine the perfect width.
The first way is to measure the palm of your hand from the top of your middle finger to your wrist.
The second way is to spread out your fingers and measure the span from your thumb to your pinky.
Each of these are a helpful indication of how wide your scarf should be!
Other Factors to Determine Legnth & Width
The great thing about scarves is that they are SO easy to vary. There is not one “right” answer when it comes to determining length and width.
Now, that being said, here are a few more tips as you decide the measurements of your scarf.
Think about Proportion
You definitely want the length and width of your scarf to work together to form a beautiful, stylish scarf you want to wear.
Generally speaking, if your scarf is longer you will ALSO want it to be wider (and vice versa). Most skinny scarves aren’t extremely long. And wide scarves look terrible if they’re super short.
I like to determine my width first, and then test out different lengths as I make the scarf to see which length is the very best for styling it.
Consider the Stitch Pattern
Another thing to think about is what width and length would work best for your chosen stitch pattern.
Your stitch pattern will determine a lot about the overall look and feel of your scarf.
For example, if you have a very thick stitch (like the Alpine Stitch) or a stiffer stitch, this will definitely affect how the scarf drapes around your neck. You may want a thicker-stitched scarf to be smaller in width.
On the other hand, if you have a lacy scarf, you may want to go wider than normal. Lacy scarves can easily fold back on themselves. If they are too thin in width, they may not look as good.
Experiment with Yarn
This goes hand in hand with the stitch pattern…the YARN you use!
To make the perfect scarf, you really want your yarn and stitch pattern to mesh together well.
Let’s go back to the Alpine Stitch example again. Say I made the Alpine Stitch in a heavy, stiff worsted weight yarn like Red Heart Super Saver. That would create a thick, stiff scarf that just wouldn’t work as well as if I used a softer, more drapey yarn.
I could probably make a wider scarf using a softer yarn, than if I used Super Saver.
Again, the point is to make sure that your stitch, yarn, and hook all work together to form a good fabric that works well for a scarf.
But remember, this depends on your preference! The best advice I can give is to experiment with different stitches and yarns, and see what look and feel you like best.
Children’s Scarf Measurements
When it comes to children’s scarves, the same guidlines apply. You can use their height to determine the length and hand-span to determine the width.
But keep in mind, with children’s scarves, you may want to go a bit BIGGER than those measurements to leave room for growth! This way they’ll be able to enjoy the scarf for a longer period of time.
But typically, children’s crochet scarves are 3-5 inches in width, and 36-40 inches long.
More Tips for Successful Custom Scarves
The tips above were mostly directed at scarf sizing, but let’s go even a little deeper into making your own custom scarves from scratch!
What Yarn & Stitch to Use
We already talked about how yarn and stitches affect the size of a scarf. But if you want more specific yarns and stitches that work well, I have some resources for you!
Figuring Out Your Foundation Chain Number
Once you figure out which yarn and stitch you’re using, the next step is to figure out your foundation chain number. This requires following what is called a stitch multiple.
A stitch multiple refers to the number of stitches you need to complete a pattern repeat. For more information on this, see this blog post.
How Much Yarn You’ll Need
Lastly, let’s talk about how much yarn it takes to make a scarf! The truth is, this can vary GREATLY depending on the yarn and stitch you use. Some stitches take more yarn than others.
I find that scarves generally take around 2 skeins of yarn to complete. But again, this is subjective to me.
Lion Brand’s website has a helpful chart that I will refer you to for more info. It lists out the yardage needed for scarves (and other projects) in each weight of yarn. A very cool resource to have in your back pocket!
Crocheted and knitted scarves are a wonderful project. They are one of my absolute favorites because of their versatility! A beautiful scarf can be made with hardly any crafting experience at all. Make sure you complete the measurements above, like arm-span and hand-span, to get the best fitting scarf possible! Now that you know how long and wide a scarf to be, you are well on your way to a wonderful project.