Most of us recognize regular gauze for its sheer open weave. In fact, the process that creates gauze is even called “gauze weave” (or “leno weave”). This weaving process twists two warp yarns around the weft yarn in a figure eight pattern, resulting in a strong yet sheer fabric. Double gauze is just that, two layers of gauze. Teeny tiny stitch tacks, so teeny and tiny as to be invisible from the right side of the fabric, hold the layers together. These double layers help eliminate the super-sheerness of standard gauze and give the fabric a bit of extra weight, which imparts a wonderful, almost velvety drape. We designed a project that takes full advantage of this swathe of softness as well as the fabric’s 52″/54″ width: a striking shawl wrap with pom accents for a kick of casual whimsy.
Because of the luxurious extra weight, there’s no need for a backing or lining. We simply added a narrow, rolled hem around all four sides.
The hand-stitched single poms are sprinkled randomly across the shawl. Just as soft as the double gauze, they didn’t interfere at all with any of the wrapping, twisting or tying wearable techniques we tried on our sample.
At 30″ x 72″, this shawl can be worn in a variety of fashionable styles. You can leave it fully open to encircle, and warm, your arms. There’s even enough length to toss one end jauntily over your shoulder.
Gather it up to twist and tie like a generous scarf.
Or drape and belt it as a casual topper for a sleek outfit underneath. For our beautiful sample, we used Shannon Fabrics Embrace Double Gauze. Their Embrace collection is available in-store and online and comes in a lovely variety of prints and solids.
In addition to our notes below, if you’re new to working with sheer fabric like gauze, 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 can also use push pins or fabric weights, depending on your cutting surface.
Our shawl finishes at approximately 30″ wide by 72″ long.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2⅛ yards of 52″+ wide double gauze or similar
NOTE: We used nearly the full length of our cut in order to have one continuous piece (traditional for shawls and scarves). With the nice wide width, you could make a second, slightly narrower piece from the same cut.
- All purpose thread to match fabric; you want the hemming as well as the hand stitching of the poms to be as invisible as possible; take the time to get a perfect match for the thread.
- 35 single, medium-size poms; we used 9 lavender poms and 26 ivory poms, purchased locally as pom trim and clipped apart
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- 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; we used a tapestry needle
- Cut ONE 31″ wide x 73″ long rectangle. The double gauze has a strong woven pattern, which gives you a nice grid line to follow for your cut.
- If using poms from a traditional pom-pom trim, cut away 35 poms from the insertion tape.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- To finish the edges, you’ll create a continuous narrow hem around all four sides.
- We opted to make a rolled hem with our machine, turning in the raw edge ⅜” all around to feed into a Rolled Hem foot.
- With the weight of the gauze, this created a lovely, even finish. If you are new to this technique, see our tutorial on How to Make a Rolled Hem with Your Sewing Machine.
- If you don’t have a Rolled Hem foot, you can also make a simple ¼” double-turn hem. To do this, on all sides, fold ¼” and press, then fold an additional ¼”, press again and pin. Stitch in place close to the inner fold. We would suggest a Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot or similar for this option.
NOTE: For both hem types, at the corners it can help to have starter threads to grab. Thread a hand sewing needle with contrasting thread and sew a few stitches along the side to where it terminates at the corner. 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 gauze from bunching under the needle. Find more about this technique and other information in the tutorial mentioned above: How to Make a Rolled Hem with Your Sewing Machine.
- Press the finished seam flat. Remove any hand stitching from the corners.
- Find the poms.
- Place the shawl flat on a large work surface or the clean floor.
- As mentioned above with the cutting, the woven pattern on the gauze acts as a handy grid, which makes placing the poms much easier. First, decide on each point and mark with a pin.
- When you get the look you want, use these marking pins to secure each pom in place. We used a random color pattern across ten rows.
- The drawing below shows you the “random” pattern we choose for our 35 poms and the measurement points. You could of course add more, do less, or eliminate them altogether… although that would be sad, because they’re so cute!
- Thread a hand sewing, tapestry-type needle with thread to match the fabric; use a double strand of thread.
- Knot the thread and insert the needle through the side of a pom.
- Pull taut so the knot is hidden inside the pom. Then insert the needle under the pom into the fabric and pull the thread though. Pull tight so the pom sits securely against the gauze. Make a full stitch (this is one side of the “X” that secures each pom), then insert the needle from the back through to the front, passing through just a bit of the back of the pom. Then, come through again to the back to complete the other side of the “X”.
- This is somewhat similar to sewing on a button. You just want to keep your securing stitches on the front through just the very back of the pom. Keep the “X” on the back nice and neat because those stitches can be seen when the shawl is wrapped and draped. We used just two single stitches to secure each pom, but you can certainly double that amount – just keep the “X” even and neat.
- Knot the thread on the back to secure – again, keeping things nice and neat.
- To hide the thread tails, after knotting, bring the needle up through to the front, passing right through the pom. Pull tight and clip the thread tails close to the pom. When you release, the tails will disappear back into the pom.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild