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Lightweight Long Scarf with Boho Fringe

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Wrap up with a bit of summertime softness in our beautiful, diaphanous scarf. You’ll start with a voile, batiste or similar, add a perfectly centered seam to give you enough length to wrap it like a lightweight shawl, then create a line of tiny, twisted floss cords along both ends. Yep... we have easy instructions for how to make those!

We used a classic stripe for our sample in an Italian batiste we purchased locally. This time of year, you’ll find lots of great options both in store and online for voile and batiste style fabrics – sometimes categorized as “fancy cottons” or “cotton lawn." You want something lightweight enough to be semi-sheer with a velvety drape. We found a nice selection of voile at Fabric.com as well as Hawthorne Threads and Fabric Depot.

We show you the steps below to create the nearly invisible center seam using a traditional outside flat felled seam as well as how to fussy cut and flat fell when using a stripe as we did.

Not only does this type of seam blend well, it helps you conserve fabric. Often, although not always, this type of fabric comes in very wide widths: 58” - 60”. We show you how to use just a little over one yard of fabric to create our luxuriously long design. The two panel construction is especially helpful since these fancy cottons can be a bit expensive… but not nearly as expensive as what you’d find at the trendy boutiques for something this large and gorgeous!

You’ve likely seen fringe effects similar to what we show here. And, maybe you’ve wondered how on earth it was done. Sew4Home to the rescue with the easiest, most economical technique. We use twisted pearl cotton floss attached with a simple lark's head knot. The only extra tool needed is a crochet hook.

The fringe is optional, but it really does give the finishing touch that brings about the boho style. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get caught up on your favorite binge-worthy television series… this is it!

One thing that we note below, but also want to emphasize here, is our recommendation to create a random color sequence along the two ends of the scarf. Your first inclination might be to simply alternate the two floss colors back and forth. Boring! When you mix up the color pattern, you avoid “matchy-matchy” and get a much more sophisticated look.

The four sides of the scarf feature a delicate ⅛” hem. You can follow our stitch-trim-fold-stitch method to quickly and precisely produce this lovely finish. Bonus: it also stabilizes the hem so there’s no twisting or rolling along the sides.

Our scarf finishes at approximately 72” x 29”, excluding the fringe, which is an additional 4” on both ends.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1¼ yard of 58”+ wide voile, batiste or similar; we used a 60” wide Italian batiste, purchased locally
  • THREE skeins of pearl cotton floss in a coordinating color; we used indigo
  • THREE skeins of pearl cotton floss a contrasting color; we used orange
  • ONE steel crochet hook, US size 1
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Iron and ironing board
  • See-through ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors 
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Place your length of fabric on a flat work area. Match the selvedge edges and pin them together. If you used a stripe as we did, take care to keep the stripes aligned. You should now have a panel that is half the width of fabric (30” in our 60” WOF sample) x the full 45” length (1¼ yard).

  2. Once the edges are matched, smooth the fabric and cut along the folded edge with scissors to create two panels that are approximately 30" wide (depending on your starting WOF) x 45” long.

  3. Remove the pins along the selvedges.
  4. The next step is to trim down the 45” length of each panel to create the finished scarf length of 72”. The two panels will be seamed at the center with a flat felled seam. In order to account for the extra width required for this seam, trim ONE panel from 45” to 37” and the second panel from 45” to 36½”. This will keep your final vertical seam perfectly centered. It can help to label the panels A (the slightly longer panel) and B.

  5. If you have a striped fabric as we did, you will want to fussy cut the edges that will have the center flat felled seam. On our sample, we chose the alternating indigo and orange striped band as our center point. We cut along one indigo stripe on one interior edge.

  6. Then flipped and fussy cut the opposite panel along an orange stripe in order to correctly overlap alternating stripes for a perfect blend. In other words, our stripes were offset.

  7. Once these interior sides are fussy cut. Trim each opposite end to create the two lengths described above: one at 37” and one at 36½”.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Construct the center seam

  1. This is an outside flat felled seam, which means we are starting with our two panels wrong sides together.
  2. If using a solid fabric or a fabric with a random print, simply place the two panels wrong sides together the 30” sides.
  3. If using a fussy cut stripe, overlap to match your offset stripes and pin on the right side along the proper overlapped stripe. These pins, rather than a set seam allowance, will become your stitching guideline.
  4. Voile and/or batiste are very lightweight, finely woven fabrics, so it is best to use a swatch of leftover fabric to start the seam. This will prevent any possibility of the sewing machine “eating” the fabric as you start sewing! Start your seam on the scrap; then butt the actual fabric right up against the scrap and stitch from one across to the other.
  5. If using a solid fabric or a fabric with a random print, sew with a standard ½” seam allowance.
  6. If using a stripe, sew along the pinned line removing the pins as you reach them.
  7. When the seam is complete, remove the starting strip.
  8. Press the seam to the right. Press from both sides to ensure the seam lays perfectly flat.
  9. Remember, you are pressing toward the slightly longer “Panel A.”
  10. Flip back over so the sewn panel is right side up.
  11. Open the seam and trim back the underneath side of the seam allowance to ¼".
  12. If you are following along in your song book, you are trimming “Panel A.”
  13. Fold in the uncut seam allowance edge to meet the cut seam allowance edge. Press in place. 
  14. You are folding toward Panel A to align these two raw edges.
  15. Press the seam flat in the same direction you originally pressed, concealing the raw edges within this second foldover.
  16. Edgestitch along the folded edge to complete.
  17. In the solid color option shown below, we used a contrasting thread so you could best see the two parallel lines of stitching. You would, of course, use matching thread. As with the hem below, the double lines of stitching help stabilize this very lightweight fabric.

    NOTE: If you are brand new to this seam finishing technique, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial you can review prior to starting. It shows both an inside and an outside flat felled seam.

Creating the narrow hems all around

  1. This method of creating a narrow hem is the one used most commonly when hemming delicate fabrics such as organdy or chiffon. It works equally as well with a delicate voile or batiste and results in a beautiful ⅛" finished hem.
  2. Again using a starting strip, stitch along the first side with a ⅜" seam allowance. This stabilizes the single layer of fabric.
  3. Fold the edge to the wrong side along the stitching line, but rolling the line of stitching just slightly over so it sits on the wrong side. Press in place.
  4. Trim the hem just outside the line of stitching, leaving a scant ⅛" of fabric.
  5. Fold back an additional ⅛”, encasing the raw edge and stitching line within the fold and creating a tidy ⅛" hem. Press in place. This type of fabric is soft and easy to manipulate, you may not even need to press. We were simply able to fold-and-hold with our fingertips.
  6. Once again using a starting strip, stitch the hem in place along the folded edge.
  7. Repeat for the remaining sides, creating a simple square overlap at each corner.
    NOTE: The pretty finished look of this seam is very similar to the traditional “rolled hem” on which we did a recent tutorial on creating on your sewing machine with a specialty presser foot. However, with this very, very soft fabric in general and with a stripe like we used in particular, we do not recommend using a Rolled Hem foot. It has a tendency to pull the fabric giving your edge a stretched or ripply look and distorting the stripe.

Creating the twisted cord fringe

  1. For each twisted cord, start with a 60" single length of pearl cotton floss. Fold the length in half and then in half again so you are working with four strands for one cord.
  2. Tape the free ends to a flat work surface.
  3. Slip one finger through the top loop of the folded floss and start twisting. You want to keep twisting the strands together until they are very tightly wrapped around one another.
  4. Once you have a tightly wrapped length, pinch the twisted strand in the middle and match the top loop (that has been wrapped around your finger) to the secured ends.
  5. When released, the cord should twist on itself.
  6. Smooth with your fingers, moving from the raw ends down toward the looped end.
  7. You want to remove any stray kinks so the cord lays nice and flat.
  8. Using a ruler, make a simple knot in the cord at 3½".
  9. Trim the free ends to 1".
  10. Below is a drawing that shows our alternating color pattern. For the most interesting look, it’s better to have a random color break rather than a strict back and forth between the two colors.
  11. Using this pattern shown above, we made 28 cords from the indigo pearl cotton and 28 cords from the orange pearl cotton.

Attach the fringe

  1. Mark each end of the scarf using pins or a marking pen, spacing the marks 1" apart. The first and last cord should be aligned just inside the hemmed edges of the scarf.
  2. Find the crochet hook. Insert the hook from front to back just above the hem at the mark. Use the shank of the crochet hook to make a smooth hole; you want to gently separate the threads of the fabric rather than breaking them. This is surprisingly easy to do because the hook has a pointed end.
  3. Using the pointed end of the hook, grab the looped end of the twisted cord and pull it through the hole in the fabric.
  4. Remove the hook. Open the loop and pull the tassel end through the loop. It's like attaching a price or gift tag.
  5. Pull down snuggly on the twisted cord, forming a lark's head knot along the hemmed edge.
  6. Continue adding twisted cords across both sides, following our pattern shown above or creating your own color sequence.

Contributors

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

Section: 

Comments (6)

lwallis329 said:
lwallis329's picture

The knots used to attach the pearl cotton at either end are Lark’s head knots. Monk’s head knots are different and could be used on the loose ends to add weight and make sure they don’t come untwisted.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Beautiful scarf. As Nate Berkus would say Shop your own home first. Search ways of tying scarves on You Tube. C’mon America, start paying attention to the way you dress we all need more eye candy.

songbirdfeeder said:
songbirdfeeder's picture

This is beautiful and I want to make it, but have two questions.

1-is the pearl cotton floss the same as pearl cotton thread?

2-is the scarf just one layer?  I have some beautiful viscose fabric I'd like to use but the wrong side is very faint from the right side.  Do you think I could double it up?  I know it wouldn't be as lightweight but I don't know what else I could do.  Any suggestions?

Thank you!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@songbirdfeeder - Thank you so much; we're glad you love the scarf. 1) pearl cotton is also known as perle cotton, cotton perle. It is a mercerized, 100% cotton, S-twisted, 2-ply thread with high luster, sold in 4 weights (3, 5, 8, and 12). It can come in a skein or on a spool or as a ball. We used a 5 weight in the traditional floss skein as shown above; if your thread is of a similar weight, it should work just fine. 2) our design is for a single layer. You would need to change the design of the hemming and center seam to make a double layer work, and really, for the proper drape and to avoid shifting of layers on something this large, we would not recommend doubling.