On Trend With Tassels
October 13, 2013
Open any fall clothing catalog, and you're likely to see scarves with tassels. Getting your own custom version of the look couldn't be easier -- with inexpensive embroidery floss, you can create your own tassels to match any project.
Here's how I make tassels:
First, I cut about a yard of floss from the rest of the skein. Then I cut that yard into three equal pieces. I lay two of the pieces along the length of a pencil, and then wrap the remaining skein over the pencil as shown in the first picture below.
After I make sure the bottom loops of my skein are relatively even, I use the third small piece of floss to wrap my skein tightly to form the tassel shape. After wrapping several times, I tie off the wrapping floss using a a double knot.
To secure the loose ends of my wrapping floss and secure the knot, I put a tiny dot of hot glue right on top of the knot, and then wind my two loose ends around the tassel one more time in opposite directions, catching them in the glue. After the glue has set completely, I trim off the loose ends very close to the glue dot.
I slide the tassel off of the pencil while keeping the two loose segments of floss in place within the top loop, then I tie the ends tightly in a double knot.
After the top of the tassel is complete, I cut open the loops along the bottom, and then give it a quick trim to even up the ends.
To form a cord at the top of the tassel, I separate the floss I used to tie off the top into three sections. One section will have two strands. Then I braid the three sections to form a cord, and tie a knot as I near the end.
While my primary example uses an entire skein of floss, you can play with the size, of course. Here is a side-by-side comparison of a tassel made using half of a skein (black) and the full skein (red). I cut the black tassel a little shorter because I preferred the proportions.
Now to put those tassels to use!
For my scarves, I use a yard of fabric for each. I cut the fabric in half across the grain so my pieces are all about 18 by 56-60 inches.
To attach tassels at each corner, I first baste them into place at a 45-degree angle from the corners on the right side of the fabric using a long machine stitch. Then I simply layer my two fabric pieces right sides together and stitch around the rectangle, leaving a small opening for turning. I use the basting stitches for tassel placement as a guide so I know where to pivot my stitching and have the tassel perfectly placed on a corner.
Prior to turning, I clip my corners to prevent bulk, but I cut around the tassel cord instead of clipping it off. This helps it retain its integrity and makes it much more secure against being accidentally tugged out. Then I turn the scarf right side out, press, and topstitch -- the topstitching closes up the opening I left in the seam.
Here are a few samples of finished tasseled scarves:
The first is out of a printed cotton lawn This particular fabric stayed fairly crisp even after washing -- I will be curious to see if it softens more over time.
The second scarf uses a heavier linen blend. For this one, I used three of the smaller tassels at each corner, and staggered their length just a bit for a bit of visual texture.
The last scarf is another cotton lawn, though this one became VERY soft and drapey after a trip through the wash. I love this print.
Of course, you can play with this project to your heart's content -- make more voluminous scarves, add entire lengths of tassel trim along the edges, use a rainbow of tassel colors. And of course, if you don't wish to make your own tassels, you can always purchase them!
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