I wanted to title this post "How to Make a Totally Awesome and Bouncy Spring Scarf with Only Half a Yard of Little Folks Voile" but that seemed a little long and cumbersome. However, that is exactly what I did today. I consider it a spring scarf because it's made from a single layer of voile and is very soft and light but because it's looped a couple of times, warm as well. I want it to be spring long before the weather warms up, so I start dressing in weather-inappropriate clothing and need things like scarves to stop from shivering.
Being stingy and kind of a hoarder when it comes to fabric, I've had two pieces of Little Folks Voile by Anna Maria Horner sitting on my shelf for a while. When it first came out I bought several half-yard cuts - three were made into little summer nighties for my three little girls, and one has been sitting on the shelf. Then I decided I needed more, for something, and bought another one yard cut. I've totally forgotten what I bought that one yard cut for, but I'm much too stingy to use a yard of fabric on one scarf. I've been wanting to make a scarf from that soft and drapey fabric for a while. I meant to make the Figure 8 Scarf around Christmas time, but never got around to it.
Anna Maria Horner has another scarf pattern on her website, but it uses two layers of voile. I love how they look, but I really wanted a scarf that was one layer and would maintain that really lovely drape and semi-sheer quality. I toyed with a couple of ideas, but I knew I really wanted to make it from this half-yard of fabric I had. Cutting it in half the width of the fabric would give me the width I wanted (about 9 inches) and those two widths stitched together would give me the length. However, it left me the problem of seams. I didn't want to leave ragged edges, of course, but I also wanted it to lay smooth and flat. Finally I realized that using a flat-felled seam was the perfect solution. I whipped it up this afternoon, hemmed the long edges (which took the longest and invoked the most swearing) and had my perfect spring scarf.
I started with folding my (washed and pressed) fabric selvage to selvage. After trimming the frayed edges, I was left with 17 1/2 inches from cut edge to cut edge (I wish I had taken a picture at this part). I determined the actual width of the scarf by just cutting this piece in half, leaving me with two pieces, each 8 3/4 inches wide by the 55 inch width of the voile.
I have a hard time determining the right side of this fabric so I used the selvage as a guide and once I cut them off I never let them move again. I don't really care but I did want it to be consistent.
I trimmed off the selvage then kept right sides together and stitched a 5/8 inch seam. I flipped the scarf around and did the same on the other two short sides, forming a long loop of fabric.
To make the flat-felled seams, I trimmed off about half of one side of the seam allowance with my shears.
Next I pressed each seam - first pressing the wider seam allowance over the narrow one, then folding and pressing the whole seam allowance over.
Once I pressed the seam allowance flat, I edge-stitched each seam allowance. Now the entire seam is neatly finished with no raw edges.
Because a flat-felled seam is such a nice, neat finish, either side can be on the outside of a garment, which is why it was perfect for a scarf where either side might show. To finish it up, I sewed a very narrow hem on each of the scarf's long sides. I pressed a couple of inches to start, but then just carefully rolled it under as I sewed. It's not perfect, but I firmly believe that when viewed from the proper distance, it shouldn't matter. If you're getting up close to me to examine my scarf hem, I'll probably tell you to back off.
If I were to make this for a gift or to sell, I might hem a little differently - whether just to take more time machine-sewing and do a better job, or to go through with my original idea - a hand-stitched rolled hem (like on these handkerchiefs on The Purl Bee). Once I got started, I wanted to finish quickly, as often happens when I'm sewing surrounded by my entire loving family and one grumpy cat. This hem turned out just fine for me. As I mentioned before, it was the longest step and the most frustrating, which could also explain why I was satisfied to leave it kind of wavy rather than pick out more stitches than I already had. (On an unrelated note, I must learn how to use that handy narrow hemming foot I have. Maybe by practicing on more scraps rather than an almost finished product. Ahem.)
Finally, here I am modeling my lovely new spring scarf. I realize I am over-accessorized as I forgot to take off my free-with-purchase flower necklace. And probably won't wear this scarf with this top, normally. But I still really like it. And I like that when my husband dragged me out onto the freezing porch to take this, I didn't shiver (too much - it was really cold).
Let me know what you think - and I'd love to see if you make one! We'll be back on the blog later this week with some other Spring-fresh accessory ideas. Is there anything you'd like to see?