One of our S4H New Year's resolutions is to experiment more with the wonderful variety of fabric types available. Called 'substrates' in the trade, this refers to the base fabric onto which the design is applied. For today's project, we've chosen two of Anna Maria Horner's gorgeous velveteens to create our fabulous scarf. What a great project to chase away the winter blues and still stay toasty warm. Ours is done in rich Valentine's Day colors and would make a lovely gift. No need for wrapping paper; simply tie the scarf itself into a big beautiful bow.
Thanks to Fabric.com for providing the Anna Maria Horner velveteen for this project. Anna Maria is at the forefront of designing beautiful fabric in a variety of great substrates like velveteen, voile and linen, and Fabric.com always has a great selection in stock.
When a fabric has a 'fuzzy' surface like velveteen, velvet, velour or corduroy it is called nap. Nap has direction and can change color when viewed from a different angle. It's important to pay attention to the direction of the nap when laying out and cutting velveteen so pieces that will be next together when sew are cut with the nap going in the same direction.
We used velveteen for this project, which is a low-nap cotton velvet. It must be treated with care when you press it. For true velvets, especially silk or rayon velvet, the best option is to use a needle board or Velvaboard (a June Tailor product) to press out wrinkles. But with velveteens and corduroys, it's okay to steam them lightly from the back, stretching and smoothing out the wrinkles with your hand. During pressing, it's also a very good idea to lay the velveteen right sides together with another piece of velveteen. This allows the naps to mesh together to prevent crushing. Some folks also swear by the technique of placing a plush bath towel on their ironing boards and pressing/steaming napped fabrics against it.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 54" velveteen for the body of the scarf, we used Innocent Crush Velveteen by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit Fabrics in Bubble Burst Sparkle from Fabric.com
- ¾ yard of 54" velveteen for the ruffles, we used Innocent Crush Velveteen by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit Fabrics in Turn of Events Vintage from Fabric.com
- All-purpose thread to match your fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Tape measure
- Hand sewing needle
- The main fabric for the scarf (Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush in Bubble Burst Sparkle in our sample) should be cut 51" long x 21" wide. If you have a random motif, you can simply make a nice, straight cut. The Anna Maria Horner velveteen we chose is 54" wide with a bold circular "bubble burst" motif. We wanted this motif centered in both directions for the best finished look. To do this, we needed to do a little "motif measuring" prior to cutting.
- First figure the center point of each direction. One half of 21" is 10½". One half of 51" is 25½".
- To determine the cut width, use a see-through ruler or tape measurer to find a motif that is at least 10½" from the cut edge.
- Carefully fold the fabric along this centered imaginary line. Place a few pins to keep the layers from shifting.
- Cut through both layers exactly 10 ½" from the fold.
- To determine the cut length, unfold the width cut you just made.
- Find the motif that is at the center and fold the fabric lengthwise on the center of that motif. If you cannot get a single motif to be centered, try to center the space between two motifs. With the fabric piece folded, place a few pins as you did above. Measure 25½" from the fold and cut through both layers.
- You now have one piece, centered in both directions, that should measure 51" x 21"
- From the fabric for the ruffles (Anna Maria Horner's Turn of Events Vintage in our sample), cut TWO squares 21" x 21".
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Fold the main fabric piece in half, right sides together, so it now measures 51" x 10½". Pin in place to form a long tube.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, begin to sew along the 51" side. Stop a little less than half way and back tack. Advance about 6", leaving an opening in the middle for turning right side out later. Start sewing again, back tacking again, and finish your seam.
NOTE: The other thing about working with velveteen is that it tends to creep when you stitch it. If you have a walking foot attachment, this is the time to use it. If you do not have a walking foot attachment, check your machine's manual to see if you can reduce the pressure on the presser foot. Use a lot of pins, keep the fabric taut as it feeds through the machine by pulling on it gently, and go slowly. Sew right up to each pin before you remove it. Raising the presser foot now and then and readjusting the fabric can also help reduce the creep.
- Roll the tube so the seam is centered down the length of the scarf.
- Steam lightly so the seam allowance lays open and flat.
- When flat and with the seam exactly in the center, snip off a tiny bit of each corner (less than ½"). This helps mark the fold, so later, when you are inserting the ruffle, you have reference points to insure your tube will finished with a centered motif and the seam down the middle of the back.
- Fold one of the 21" x 21" ruffle pieces in half lengthwise (21" x 10½"), right sides together.
NOTE: The folded edge is the bottom edge of the ruffle; be sure to remember this if your fabric has a directional motif.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew both short ends (the 10½" ends). Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.
- Trim off the corners at a diagonal.
- Turn the ruffle piece right side out. Push out the corners with your finger or a blunt-end tool, like a large knitting needle or a chopstick.
- Steam lightly to press flat.
- Sew two lines of gathering stitching (two lines of long basting stitches) along the raw edges of the ruffle piece.
- If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial: Gathering & Ruffles Made Easy.
- Pull the bobbin threads of the gathering stitches to gather the ruffle to approximately 10" wide.
- Repeat these steps to create the second ruffle.
- Place one ruffle inside each end of the tube with the ruffle inside and the raw edges even. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch through all the layers.
NOTE: You may want to lengthen your stitch a little to get through the layers.
- Trim the seam allowance of the tube shorter than the seam allowance on the ruffle.
NOTE: This is called grading the seam. Graded... like pavement on a hill, not like, "I got an C on my English essay."
- Turn the scarf right side out through the opening in the back seam.
- Pull out the ruffles and steam lightly along each seam.
- Slip stitch the opening in the bottom seam of the body closed.
- Our velveteen layers laid perfectly smooth and flat with no twisting when we turned the scarf right side out. If you feel your scarf is not behaving quite as well, you can add a line of topstitching along each ruffle/scarf seam approximately ¼" from the seam line, in the body of the scarf.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever
Other machines suitable for this project include the Brother SQ-9000 and the Viking Emerald 183.