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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Knew...

September is National Sewing Month!  Who knew!  So, in honor of National Sewing Month, I thought I would share a tutorial with your for a ruffly scarf.  I am sharing this with you because it is soooo easy and so quick (for those of you whom I have made one for please don't think I love you less because I did not put in hours of work for your gift). I will admit, I did cheat a little bit.  I actually made this scarf and took all the pictures in August.  But I thought this was the perfect time to share this with you.  

I have made a few of these scarfs and here are a few pointers when choosing fabrics.  
  • Choose a fabric that is the same on both sides.  Printed fabrics don't works as well because when the scarf ruffles up and twists you see both sides of the fabric.
  • Lightweight fabrics work great.  Sheer fabrics work great, especially for fall and summer.
  • Fabrics that don't fray make for the quickest project (like knits).  This way you do not have to hem all the way around the edge of the scarf
To make the ruffle down the middle of the scarf you are going to use elastic thread.  Please do not be turned off by this.  Once you learn how to do this, you are going to love it!  The technique is called shirring and there are tons of tutorials for this.  When you get down this simple concept, the possibilities are endless.  One of my goals is to make Ella a dress for the fall.  Anyways, I have gotten off the point.  This is what elastic thread looks like.  You will find it on the notions wall at the fabric store with all of the packaged elastic.
Supplies Needed
  • Elastic Thread
  • 1/2 yard of fabric
  • Matching thread
1.  Cut your fabric into two 6 inch strips of fabric, selvage to selvage
2.  With right sides together, sew two strips together.  First with straight stitch, then with zigzag (I usually cut off the selvage here so that the seam is not so big).  Then you will have one long piece of fabric (mine was 120 inches long.  I used 60 inch wide fabric).  If you are using a fabric that will fray, you will need to finish the edges all they way around the scarf either by zigzaging all the way around (can add an extra pop by using contrasting color) or by folding the edge under twice, making a tiny hem all the way around.
3.  Next you have to wind your bobbin.  This is the hardest part about shirring, but I promise you it is not difficult.  The elastic thread goes on the bobbin and you have to wind it by hand.  When winding the bobbin, do not pull the thread tight, just wrap it around the bobbin with no tension.  I usually like to fill up the bobbin because you don't want to run out of thread in the middle of the row.  
4.  Thread your needle with the thread that matches your fabric.  
5.  Change your stitch length to the longest length (mine is 4).  This is what allows the fabric to gather as you sew.
6.  With the right side of your fabric facing up, begin sewing just as if you were using normal thread in your bobbin. It is important to have the right side of the fabric up so that the white elastic thread will be on the wrong side of the scarf.  I just eyeball my first row down the middle of the fabric.  You will want to do a stay stitch at the beginning and the end of each row.
As you sew, the fabric will begin gathering.  This is what the scarf looks like as it is gathering as you are sewing.  
7.  Sew another row of the elastic thread.  You can sew either two or three rows, I tend to think it looks better with three rows.  I just lined up the next row using my pressure foot.
And that is it!  Here is my ruffly scarf piled on the cutting table.
The finished product.  Please excuse the photo, I was the only one around to take pictures.

In honor of National Sewing Month, try something new:)  This scarf is an easy way to start.  Nothing makes an outfit like a cute new scarf!  No need to go to Anthropology for your new fall scarf, just pull out your sewing machine!

Happy Sewing!


  1. YOu go girl! You inspire me.....I wish we lived next door to one another!!!!

  2. That is very cute! Love that fabric....looks so soft. Well done!