Playing With Floaty Fabric Scarves
September 29, 2013
I can remember with startling clarity the moment in my life when I discovered chiffon. I was around 7 years old, and I happened across a mint green crepe chiffon scarf while rummaging through my mom's jewelry and other accessories that she never seemed to use. I was instantly enchanted with the floatiness, the translucency. I can't conjure a single memory of my mother ever wearing a chiffon scarf of any color, so I have no idea why she had it (though I certainly can identify with the concept of accessories that don't get much use -- I often seem to forget some of the fun pieces in my collection). But I fell in love with it. It became my favorite thing to play with when I was allowed forays into her wardrobe. I would run the narrow-hemmed edges between my fingers, ever wondering at this marvelous fabric and its properties, which to me seemed other-worldly.
So for today's entry in our scarf series, I'm making printed scarves out of Yoryu Chiffon. I really love mixing up prints, especially when I'm wearing them with solid black, so I'm working with four different prints. I am using the full width of the fabric, and I cut my scarves about 12 inches wide.
When I talk to other sewing enthusiasts about working with chiffon, there's a certain amount of trepidation and dread in their voices. It's slippy, yes, and can be a challenge to wrangle, but as with anything other tricky fabric, patience usually trumps any obstacles. A simple project like this is a fantastic way to make friends with chiffon.
Here's how I handle corners with this fabric using a narrow hem: I first fold in one corner, then fold over the chiffon twice to form the hem fold.
To set it under the presser foot, I carefully situate the folded fabric under the foot in the raised position, then I position my needle downward so it's piercing the fabric before I lower the presser foot. I make sure the thread tails are to the back of the presser foot as I begin stitching, and use them to gently pull the fabric as I start to prevent anything getting wadded up in the feed dogs.
After that, it's pretty simple to keep the double fold in place as it runs along the straight line of the scarf. After I finish all four sides (I fold the last corner in as I'm finishing up, using the same method), I give it a good press, which tends to care care of any dicey areas and smooth them right out. (I've mentioned how ironing can fix chiffon hems before on the blog, with before and after photos.)
My four scarves were a mix of star prints (like everyone else on the planet, I can't get enough star print right now) and animal prints (always).
But the reason I wanted four different prints was so that I could play with combining them! Testing out different combinations and tying methods takes me back to being that 7-year-old playing with the scarf from my mom's accessory drawer. I just like to mess about when it comes to tying scarves, but if you need ideas, Pinterest has you covered.
If you really like two fabrics together and you want to make a permanent combo with them, you can easily do so by placing two cuts of fabric right sides together, stitching three of the edges, then turning. Fold up the last open side and stitch it closed, easy as pie. I like to edge stitch about 1/16 of an inch away from the edge of the scarf to keep things nice and crisp. The fun thing about making a two-sided scarf with chiffon is seeing the two fabrics play off each other when they're layered. I used two prints here, but a print with a solid contrasting chiffon makes a great effect.
One thing that's interesting about this particular fabric combo: That fuchsia pink chiffon really reads red when combined with the black, so this ended up looking way more patriotic than I intended. I guess I'm set for accessories next July!
Remember, a stash of pretty scarves is a great way to prevent last-minute gift need scenarios from catching you off guard. Since you can easily cut three scarves from a yard of fabric, make up a couple for the gift closet after you finish your own!
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