Scarf Materials: A Guide to Scarf Fabrics

Scarves come in many shapes, sizes and, importantly, fabrics. A scarf’s fabrication determines its texture, appearance, and weather-appropriateness, so you should always pay attention to fabric when you’re shopping for scarves.

Peruse the fabric descriptions below to determine the best type of scarf fabric for you and your lifestyle.


alpaca fabric swatch


Alpaca scarves are made from wool of the alpaca, a domesticated species of South American camelid. Alpaca fleece is a lustrous and silky natural fiber similar to sheep’s wool, but warmer and softer.

cashmere fabric swatch


This soft, luxurious fabric is made from the wool of the cashmere goat. It is light in weight and, when handled with care, becomes softer with time.

cotton fabric swatch


Classic and easy, cotton is staple for its ability to be laundered and its durability. It’s a cool fabric, perfect for summer wear.

jersey fabric swatch


This stretchy, soft cotton is breathable and light-weight. Jersey is an ideal pallet for beading, studding, sequins, and other embellishment.

linen fabric swatch


Promoted for its coolness, linen is often considered the most breathable fabric of the bunch. It is made from the fibers of the flax plant.

pashmina fabric swatch


Pashmina refers to a type of shawl or scarf made from the cashmere wool of the pashmina goat.

satin fabric swatch


Satin is a glossy, soft fabric most often made from silk or polyester. Satin comes in several forms or weaves, which may vary in shine, thickness, flexibility, and weight.

silk fabric swatch


Silk is a natural protein fiber obtained from the larvae cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. It can be shiny or matte in luster, and is especially delicate.

wool fabric swatch


Wool comes from the fleece of sheep and other animals. It’s very warm, durable, and with proper care should last you for years.

17 thoughts on “Scarf Materials: A Guide to Scarf Fabrics

  1. Hi, would like to ask what material will you recommend for making scarf and beanie? Also, what is the difference between Merino wool and normal wool? Are those materials with 5% cashmere warmer than other materials?

    • Hi! For scarves we personally like using cashmere yarn, just because it’s softer and lighter. For beanies, cashmere works great, but so does acrylic yarn or even merino wool yarn, depending on how cold it will get. Merino wool vs. regular wool is simply referring to what breed of sheep the material comes from. Cashmere (from goats) can be up to eight times warmer than sheep wool, so there is definitely a difference. However, with only 5% cashmere, the difference is probably small, depending on what the other materials are (other types of wool vs. acrylic or polyester). We will be posting an article about the different types of wool soon, so visit us again to learn more!

      • Thank you so much for your prompt reply! If the knitting material is 75% extra fine merino, 20% silk and 5% cashmere, will it still be warm as compared to 100% wool and/or 100% acrylic? Thank you!

        • A knitting material with a mixture of wool and silk will definitely be warmer than 100% acrylic or 100% wool. The silk would also add a nice shine to the end product and helps keep the original shape. It’s definitely a great insulator. Another material you can incorporate if you’re looking for maximum warmth is alpaca fiber. 100% Alpaca yarn can be expensive, but you can find great prices on blended yarns made with 60% merino wool, 20% alpaca, and 20% silk (%’s are an example. There are many different blend levels to choose from). All this talk about knitting and wool is making us want to start making things!! :)

    • We recommend linen, cotton, and silk for head wraps. They are the most breathable fabrics and the softest! Plus, they can easily be styled to be a headband style or to cover the head without too much bulky fabric. :)

  2. I want to make scarves with bails and beads, however I am unsure what kind of material I need for them. They are long and have tassels on the ends with small beads. The bails and beads are quite large.

  3. i was making a scarf that has a material that looks like a ribbon. It is 1 1/2 inches wide. The material is solid 1inch and on the top their is opening on the material 1/4 of inch breaks on the top. You make the scarf with a little peg board which you keep looping over. you go back and forth . I can not seem to find the fabric. I hope I descripe it okay. Please help…

    • Hi Margie! We’re a little unsure as to what scarf material you are currently using, but it might be helpful to take the material to JoAnn’s or Michaels nearest you and seeing if they can help you identify! That’s what we would do :)

    • Hi Susan! Cotton, polyester, or fiber material scarves would work the best probably (knit and more delicate materials would snag with Velcro). Take a look at our cotton scarves, we think these might work!

  4. Pingback: Affordable Scarves {Summer Giveaway} ~ US & Canada « Leslie Loves Veggies

  5. I was unaware that there are so many fabrics to make scarves. Thanks for letting me know there are differences.

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