Thursday, November 7, 2013

The difference between a cowl, infinity scarf and mobius shawl

What is the difference between a cowl, infinity scarf and Mobius shawl? When people custom order form me, they use all sorts of terminology for items they are looking for. So when the question comes up of if I make cowls, infinity scarves or Mobius shawls the answer is yes...but what exactly is it that you are looking for? I have searched the internet for the answer to this question and quite honestly it is not very definitive. Depending on which website you read will determine the answer you get. And when you type in the name of any one of those items and bring up an "images" page, you will find examples of all pictured no matter what term you just typed in. It's quite confusing. So.... I can't say I know the exact answer to this question, but here is what I have found.



noun \ˈka(-ə)l\
: a loose piece of clothing with a hood that a monk wears over other clothes; also : the hood itself
: a covering for a chimney that controls the way smoke flows out
Full Definition of COWL
a :  a hood or long hooded cloak especially of a monk
b :  a draped neckline on a woman's garment
a :  a chimney covering designed to improve the draft
b :  the top portion of the front part of an automobile body forward of the two front doors to which are attached the windshield and instrument board
So that's exactly what you were thinking it was, right? LOL I'm thinking not. I was surprised to find this definition as it's not anything like we understand to be a cowl. The draped neckline is at least in the ballpark a little, but this definition was not expected.
Here is what the definition defines:
But here is generally what we think of when we use the term cowl:
I think most of us tend to think of a cowl as the smaller version of the infinity scarf that we can't wrap twice. It pretty much is slipped on and worn more snugly against the neck. This is how I'm defining the term cowl as far as my understanding of it will be. (And how cute is that baby version!! Definitely got my mind rolling with future pattern ideas!!)

Infinity Scarf:



infinity scarf (plural infinity scarves)
  1. A neckwarmer resembling a scarf, but forming a loop with no ends
An infinity scarf is a large, closed loop of fabric that can be worn in a variety of trendy ways. This scarf is so versatile that it can even be worn as a capelet or shawl if wrapped right.
Whether skinny and worn unwrapped as pictured here:
Or chunkier and wrapped 2 or more times as pictured here:
This is more the picture of what we think of when referring to this type of garment. For my future defining purposes, this is what I will define as an infinity scarf: The longer version that can be wrapped 2 or more times.

Mobius Shawl:

A Mobius Shawl is made from one piece of handwoven fabric.  These shawls can be worn over a top, sleeveless blouse, or dress. They sit well on your shoulders and allow free movement of your arms.
Most of the pictures I found online of the Mobius Shawl actually looked very similar to the infinity scarf. When I found these pictures, I realized that I think that it actually should be twisted in order to be worn draped across the shoulders as pictured in each of the photos above. As you can see from the examples, this can be accomplished with a narrow Mobius Shawl or a wider one depending on the look and style you are going for.
So there you have it folks. Now, I'm not an expert on this at all and so I will not make the claim that this is THE definitions for these things.  The above information is really just my opinion based on what I have found. I just was curious and decided to do a little research and this is what I came up with. I think for myself, this will be how I will define these particular items in future pattern creations and for better understanding in future custom orders. Now, that doesn't mean that the patterns that I use from other people define them the same way, so I will have to refer to items from time to time in the same terminology used by the pattern designer. Such is the case with the most recent project I made that referred to the pattern as a cowl. Under the outline defined above, I would most definitely refer to that accessory as an infinity scarf.

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