A great scarf can elevate an outfit from drab to dynamic in an instant. However, really nice scarves don’t come cheap at the department store or boutique. Here’s a little fashion secret: scarves are SUPER easy to make, and you can find amazing selections of the ultimate scarf fabric: chiffon for as low as $4.00 a yard! We have two designs for you to try. If you have a serger, cut on the bias and create a ripply “lettuce edge” all around. For your sewing machine, go long and lovely with a rolled hem and hand sewn sequins all around.
If you’re 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.
As we mentioned above, chiffon is a lovely and very inexpensive option for making scarves. However, the choices don’t stop there. Check out voile, a substrate that popular in the collections of some of today’s top designers. Even organza would be pretty – although most often found in solid colors, it sometimes comes in a glitter option or with other surface embellishments.
Our Sequined Scarf finished at approximately 16″ (through the center) x 71″ (point to point). Our Serger Scarf finished at approximately 50″ x 50″.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1½-2 yards of 56″+ wide chiffon or similar lightweight fabric
- Overlock thread to match fabric
- 2 yards of 56″+ wide chiffon or similar lightweight fabric
NOTE: We used the full 72″ length for our cut in order to have one continuous piece (traditional for scarves). With the nice wide width of chiffon, you could make up to three scarves from a 2 yard cut.
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- 20mm round sequin paillettes; you need approximately 52 to go around the perimeter of the scarf.
- Matching seed beads (in both color and quantity) to the paillettes
NOTE: We found sequin paillettes available online in packs of 200. Or you could buy a paillette trim, which we did, and cut them off to reapply to the scarf.
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Cut an approximate 52″ x 52″ square on the bias. The exact size is up to you. We recommend simply cutting the largest square possible, on the bias, for your fabric.
- Cut ONE 17″ wide x 72″ long rectangle
- To make the pretty points on both ends, fold the cut chiffon piece in half so the two 17″ ends are flush.
- Measure 12″ from the end and mark with a pin. Then mark the center point of the ends at 8½”.
- Connect the center and one side pin on the diagonal, using your see-through ruler.
- Cut along the angle with a rotary cutter.
- Repeat to cut a matching angle along the other side.
At Your Sewing Machine/Serger & Ironing Board
- Following your serger’s instruction manual, set up your machine for a two or three thread rolled hem. Your manual may also have additional tips to set the differential feed, stitch length, needle position, cutting width and/or upper knife position.
- Starting at one corner, serge the entire perimeter of the scarf.
- Some serging experts like to feed lightweight fishing line into the rolled hem to give extra body to this curled edge.
NOTE: For more tips on the lettuce edge technique, take a look at this detailed technique by Liesl Gibson on how to do a lettuce edge. Her steps focus on knits, but the method is similar.
- Trim the thread tails flush.
- To finish the edges, you’ll create a continuous ¼” double-turn hem.
- On each end point, fold the point in ½” and clip off the point.
- On all sides of the scarf, fold the raw edge in ¼” and press.
- On one end, unfold the pressed edges
- Create a double fold along just the clipped end. To do this, fold ¼” and press, then fold an additional ¼”, press again and pin.
- Next, create a double fold along one diagonal side of the point.
- Thread the hand sewing needle with contrasting thread and sew a few stitches along the side to where it terminates at the point.
- We attached our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot for our hemming.
- Place the hem under the foot and hold on to the hand sewn thread tails as you start to sew, gently pulling the hem towards the back. This helps prevent the fine chiffon from bunching under the needle.
- Continue sewing up the angled side, stopping just before you make the turn to the “straight-away” of the long side.
- Remove the scarf from under the needle. Repeat the folding steps to stitch the opposite diagonal side of the point.
- Then repeat everything to create the point on the opposite end.
- Once both the points are done, fold the double turn hem along the long straight sides and stitch in place.
- Make sure to drop your needle at the previous stitching line to create a pretty turn.
- Press the finished seam flat. Remove the hand stitching from the points.
- Find the paillettes and seed beads.
- Thread the hand sewing needle with white or invisible thread.
- Place one paillette at each point. Each additional paillette will be 2″ from the previous one all the way around. We placed 52.
- To sew a paillette in place, first pull the thread through the rolled hem.
- Next, slip a seed bead on the needle followed by a paillette. Then bring the needle back through the bead and up through the hem.
- Leave a long tail. Tie the tails in a double knot and cut close, hiding your knot behind the hem.
NOTE: We felt the larger double-turn hem was the best bet to give us a bit more fabric to attach our pretty sequins. You could also experiment with a traditional rolled hem. If you are new to this technique, see our tutorial on How To Make Rolled Hems by Machine. You might also want to review our tutorial on How to Make Narrow Hems with Clean Corners.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild