Summer scarf (with mini-tutorial!)

My new scarf!

Once upon a time, several years ago, I saw an article in Threads magazine about how to make a patternless skirt out of randomly sewn-together strips of fabric that the sewist would randomly pleat and stitch over to fit. I already had one piece of eligible fabric in my stash, thanks to one of the freebies passed on to me from my mother, who had in turn had this fabric passed on to her. So I went out to the store and got several 1- to 1 1/4-yard cuts so I could make this funky-looking thing for myself.

One thing led to another, and like so many of my planned sewing projects, it got pushed back because of other things that needed to be made sooner. After a few years, I lost interest in the project altogether. The original free cut got sent away in that lot of 30-something yards that I Freecycled last winter, and one of the pieces purchased met its maker (ba-dum ching) and became the lining to my laptop bag. So that left me with 2 or so random pieces of blue fabric where I liked the print, but there wasn’t enough yardage to do much. Including this beachy batik-looking chiffon number.

Fast-forward to the end of Me-Made-May this year, and my thought that I should make some warm-weather accessories that, you know, aren’t made of beads. The thought came to me to use that chiffon to make a scarf. I haven’t traditionally been much of a fashion scarf person, and I do loooooove me some funky beaded jewelry. But I’m also kind of famous among my circle of friends and family for getting cold ridiculously easily. This includes in the summer, when stores and restaurants and my fiance crank their ACs to insane levels and my body goes into thermal shock when stepping into that from the humid, high 80s-plus-degree weather that we’ve had pretty consistently all summer. Yeah, warm-weather layers are a good investment.

I’m really happy with how this one turned out, and it was pretty easy to make, albeit a little time-consuming. I don’t have a ton of pics of the process, but here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I trimmed the piece of fabric to a reasonable width, mainly to ditch the printed selvedges, and trimmed the ends to even it up some. It was cut rather crookedly, as you can see.

Step 2: I hand-stitched a narrow hem on both of the longer edges, leaving about 3″ unstitched at either end. This is why it took me all summer–when my carpal tunnel flareup that I’ve been fighting since July was at its worst, I couldn’t even do that. This could probably be done by machine or even serger, but I wanted the control. (And with a wedding dress to make, I probably needed the hand-sewing practice!)

Step 3: The most fun step: Those unstitched ends? I unraveled them. The full 3″. I’ll admit it, I sometimes have a destructive streak, and this was a good tv-watching activity. (My fiance was rather confused about what I was trying to do, which added to the fun!)

Step 4: The most tedious part: I hand-knotted all of that frayed fringey edge into this, to finish the ends and give it a more professional look. The really tedious thing about this is that the polyester chiffon is kind of slippery, and so they kept coming undone. I had to go back at the end and dab some fabric glue into all of the knots to make them permanent. So that’s what I spent my time after work doing.

And there you have it! I do wish this scarf was a little longer, because its length kind of limits my styling options. I may have to invest in some kind of scarf slide, like maybe this one. (I like that it doubles as a hair accessory, and I’m afraid a pin would leave some serious holes in this fabric.) So I may have to play around with this idea again sometime!

3 thoughts on “Summer scarf (with mini-tutorial!)

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