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What’s the lifeblood of any wardrobe? Accessories! Why do we love accessories so much? Because they’re a fast, economical way to jump start an old outfit. Throw on a belt, wrap up in a scarf, add a fabric flower pin… suddenly, it’s a whole new look and feel. The small size of accessories also makes them a great way to try out new substrates, like the luxurious rayon we used for these long, beautiful scarves. There’s an elastic channel through the middle, allowing you to ruche it up into a fun, ruffly shape secured at each end with a pretty little bow. We made two scarves, each one in two coordinating rayons. Wear them separately or together. For yourself or as a gift, these quick and easy accessories are a great way to brighten up anyone’s wardrobe, adding a bright blast of color as you transition to Spring’s lightweight outerwear.

We originally used rayon challis from the Novella collection by Valori Wells for FreeSpirit Fabrics. This is an older collection that is no longer readily available. We found some new beauties at Fabric.com. Rayon is our choice, but a super lightweight fancy cotton, a sheer linen, or a pretty double-gauze would be other good options.

The gathering channel in our scarf’s design not only creates the pretty ruffles, you can use it to adjust the overall length of the scarf. Pull it up tight for a shorter look with lots of ruffles. Loosen the elastic for a longer scarf with gentle waves. With our soft gather, the length of the scarf finished at about 65″.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Supplies listed below are for one scarf, which finishes at approximately 5″ x 65″.

  • ⅓ – 1½ yard of one 57 – 60″ wide rayon or similar lightweight fabric for the main center strip of each scarf
  • ⅝ – 1 yard of a second coordinating 57 – 60″ wide rayon or similar lightweight fabric for the end panels of each scarf
    NOTE: The amount of fabric needed depends on the direction (if any) of your fabric’s motif. We used two coordinating motifs – one was non-directional (the floral) and so could be cut width of fabric (WOF), which meant just ⅓ yard of the fabric was needed for the main center strip. If you need to cut vertically, you’d want at least 1½ yards (and you’d have enough left over to make several scarves). Our second fabric was directional (the stripe), and we wanted our stripe to run vertically, so we opted to get a full yard of the second fabric in order to fussy cut our 29″ lengths as single pieces. Again, this meant we had leftovers, but we LOVE leftovers! If your end panel fabric is non-directional, you can get away with ⅝ yard, but would need to carefully cut.
  • 2 yards of ¼” soft, flat elastic
  • 1 yard of ⅛” wide ribbon; we used a coordinating light blue satin ribbon purchased locally
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • 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
  • Large safety pin

Getting Started

NOTE: If you are new to working with sheer fabric, like rayon, check out our tutorial for some tips and tricks. For example, when cutting sheers, it’s best 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.

  1. From the main center fabric, cut ONE 11″ x WOF (width of fabric, apx 58″ in our sample) strip.
  2. From the end panel fabric, cut TWO 11″ x 29″ strips.
    NOTE: As mentioned above, cut width and length to best match the motif of your fabric, we cut the center panel WOF and the end panels parallel to the selvedge.
  3. Trim the selvedges from all pieces.
  4. Cut the ⅛” ribbon into two 18″ lengths.
  5. Leave the elastic as one continuous 72″ length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Place an end panel, right sides together, on each end of the main center panel, aligning the 11″ sides. Pin in place.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ends in place.
  3. Press the seam allowances open and flat.
  4. Fold the scarf in half lengthwise, right sides together.
  5. Find the exact center of this long edge (the project will be approximately 114″ in length at this point) and mark with a pin. Then, place a pin 1½” to the left of center and another pin 1½” to the right of center.
  6. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the length of the scarf. Stop and lock your seam at the first pin.
  7. Cut the threads and re-position to start up again at the third pin. Finish stitching the seam. This 3″ center opening will be used for turning the scarf right side out.
  8. You now have one long tube open at both ends. Press the seam allowance together and to one side.
  9. With the tube still wrong side out, roll the seam to the center of the tube. You are centering the seam allowance not just the seam. The seam line itself should be 2¼” from one folded edge and the raw edge of the seam allowance should be 2¼” from the opposite folded edge.
  10. Place one pin at the seam line. Place a second pin just beyond the raw edge of the seam allowance.
  11. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the end of the scarf. Stop and lock your seam at the first pin.
  12. Cut the threads and reposition to start up again at the second pin. Finish stitching the seam.
  13. Repeat these steps to stitch the opposite end of the scarf.
  14. Carefully clip the corners at each of the ends.
  15. Turn the scarf right side out through the opening you left at the center of the long side seam. Carefully reach in through the opening and gently push out the corners with a long, blunt end tool, such as a long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner. You want the corners to be nice, sharp 90˚angles.
  16. Flatten the scarf, rolling the tube again so the seam itself is 2¼” from the folded edge. Press well.
  17. Fold in the raw edges opening left for turning so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  18. Edgestitch along the center seam line. A Ditch Quilting foot can be used for this step, which was our choice. This foot has a handy center guide that we ran along the seam itself, adjusting our needle position so it was just to the left of the seam.
  19. Stitch the length of the scarf. This seam will also close the opening you used for turning.
  20. Run a second line of stitching ½” to the left of the first line of stitching.
    NOTE: We were able to use the markings on our AcuFeed™ Flex presser foot to keep a true ½” distance. You could also draw in the ½” stitching line with a fabric pen or pencil and follow along the drawn line. Just be sure to use a fabric pen or pencil that will wipe away easily or disappear with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron since you are working on the right side of the fabric.
  21. These two lines of stitching create a ½” channel down the center of the scarf.
  22. Find the 72″ length of ¼” elastic. Attach a safety pin to one end. Using the safety pin as your guide, feed the elastic through the center channel, entering through the break in the end seam.
  23. When you pop out at the other end of the channel, secure the elastic in place with the safety pin and a back-up straight pin. You don’t want the elastic to accidentally snap back through the channel!
  24. Grab on to the the opposite end of the elastic (the unpinned end) and gather up the scarf until it measures approximately 65″.
    NOTE: This was the “ruffle look” we liked. You can certainly increase the length for a softer gather or decrease the length for more ruffles.
  25. Secure this other end with a pin (or two).
  26. Find one of the 18″ lengths of ⅛” ribbon. Fold the ribbon in half to find the middle.
  27. Unfold and place the middle of the ribbon at the end of the channel, centering it within the channel and directly on top of the elastic. Pin the ribbon in place, being careful to not unpin the elastic.
    NOTE: In the photo below, one end of the ribbon disappears out of the frame; the ribbon is centered and pinned at its mid-point. 
  28. Make a short horizontal seam across the end of the channel, securing the elastic and the ribbon and closing the end of the channel. Stitch back and forth at least a couple times to make sure your seam is strong.
  29. Fold the ribbon down into place and trim away the excess elastic.
  30. Repeat to attach the remaining ribbon on the opposite end of the scarf.
  31. Distribute the ruffles evenly along the length of the scarf.
  32. Tie each of the ribbons into a pretty bow.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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