Which accessory gives you the most fashion muscle per square inch? A big, gorgeous scarf! About a month ago, we spotted an amazing chiffon among the selection at Fabric.com. Today we're making it into something wonderful. In our ongoing job as "trendspotters," we're always on the lookout for the coolest items on the store shelves that we can show you how to make on your own. Adding tassels, along the sides and/or across the bottom, to this season's scarves seems to not only be a fashion winner, it also ups the price of the accessory by about 200%! Here's what you need to know: scarves are super easy to make as are custom tassels. Read on to learn how, and get that holiday gift list ready.
Patterned Chiffon is a very lovely and very inexpensive option for making scarves. It's generally 54"+ in width (our choice was 58") and normally ranges from just $4.00 to $7.00 per yard.
We used two yards for our design below, so for under $20 (including the floss for all the tassels), we created a designer style scarf that would easily fetch twice that in a boutique.
Our thanks to Fabric.com for providing this wonderful patterned chiffon. One of the things that's so fun about shopping at Fabric.com is how many different types of substrates they carry. We were actually looking through corduroys, wools and flannels, and just happened to spot the chiffon along the way. Just like that: another must-have fabric for the stash.
You might also want to check out their selection of voile, a new substrate in the collections of many of today's top designers. Or, even organza would be pretty - although most often found in solid colors, it does sometimes come in a glitter option or with other embellishments.
Our scarf finishes at approximately 40" wide x 70" high, excluding the tassels.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP)
- Rolled Hem foot (optional, but it makes quick work of the long, narrow hems on this scarf - the MC8900 QCP comes standard with a 9mm Rolled Hem Foot)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional as an alternative to using a Rolled Hem foot - our MC8900 QCP comes standard with a 9mm Quarter Inch Seam foot)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 44"+ wide chiffon or similar lightweight fabric; we used 58" Blossom Chiffon in Aztec Black and White (#0340787) from Fabric.com
- TWO - THREE skeins each of FOUR coordinating colors of heavy embroidery floss for the tassels; we used DMC Size 3 Pearl Cotton Needlepoint Thread in Slate Blue, Soft Gray, Salmon Pink and Matte Gold, purchased locally
NOTE: The amount needed is determined by how thick and fluffy you want the tassels. We used three skeins of each color.
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Yarn darner or similar large-eyed hand sewing needle
- Seam sealant, such as Dritz Fray Check
- If you are new to working with sheer fabric, like chiffon, check out our tutorial for some tips and tricks. For example, when cutting sheers, it's best to cut as a single layer; once you get the fabric straight on your mat, tape it in place so it doesn't shift. You could also use push pins or fabric weights, depending on your cutting surface. You might also like our tutorial on Sewing with Specialty Fabrics.
- From the scarf fabric (Black & White Chiffon in our sample), cut ONE approximate 41" x 71" rectangle from your fabric.
NOTE: We say "approximate" because the cut should follow your chosen motif. We selected a wonderful stripe and so made sure our side edges terminated along an edge within the design. Your motif may have a different directional pattern or none at all. If you are not worried about cutting along the motif, the finished 40" x 70" size is still a good standard to go by for a loop-around scarf.
- We used scissors to carefully cut the side edges along our motif...
- ... and a rotary cutter to trim away only about ½" from the top and bottom.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- To finish the edges, we created a rolled hem on all four sides. This technique requires a special presser foot and a bit of pre-pressing.
- Fold back each raw edge ½" and press. We adjusted our side fold slightly to make sure the fold aligned with the fabric's stripe.
- Next, fold the the raw edge back in on itself, tucking it into the crease. Press again, creating a narrow, double-fold ¼" hem.
NOTE: We chose this folding method over two ¼" hems because the slightly wider, ½" starting hem width is easier to manipulate with the slippery chiffon.
- Attach a Rolled Hem foot.
- Slip the folded fabric into the foot, and stitch each side independently.
- If you are brand new to using a Rolled Hem foot, we have a great tutorial to review: How To Make Rolled Hems by Machine.
- Leave long thread tails at the corners, and pull them through to the back. Tie the tails in a double knot. Use a few dots of seam sealant at the corners prior to clipping away the excess thread.
- If you do not have a Rolled Hem foot, you might want to consider picking one up from your local dealer. However, of course there are other options.
- You could create the ¼" double-turn hem as described above, pin it in place super well (you might even consider hand basting), then stitch in place with your regular presser foot or a Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- If you have a serger, you could simply serge all four sides with a standard overedge stitch or even a lettuce edge.
- For more on both of these alternative techniques, check out our Mother's Day Chiffon Scarves tutorial, which outlines both options with great step-by-step instructions and photos.
- Following your favorite method, or our Sew4Home Tassel Making tutorial, make the tassels. Ours are approximately 3" in length.
- Create SIXTEEN tassels – four each of four colors. We worked with a doubled strand, wrapping around our cardboard template 30 times (60 lengths) in order to get the full and fluffy look we wanted for our tassels.
- As shown in the illustration below, we spaced eight tassels along the top edge of the scarf and eight along the bottom edge. They are approximately 5" apart.
- To attach each tassel, use a large-eyed needle (we used a yarn darner). Thread both ends of the tassel's top tie through the eye of the needle.
- Insert the needle into the hem of the scarf from front to back.
- Pull through until the top of the tassel sits right up against the edge of the fold.
- Remove the needle and tie the ends together into a tight double knot against the back of the hem.
- Put seam sealant on each tie, extending out from the knot about ¼" to ½".
- When the seam sealant is thoroughly dry, trim the thread tails close to the knot.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild