Monday, April 27, 2020

Scarfarama Drama!


In my previous post I mentioned how I went through each and every piece of fabric I own. I came across some real inspirations, some that I forgot even existed. I think we are all a little guilty of that now and then. I did find some small pieces that were lovely and I know I kept them for possibly making scarves as they were small enough that that or a Hong Kong seem would be all that could ever lie in their future. In the past day and a half I have made three scarves with different techniques and I know I will get good use out of all of them. The first you see above is very sentimental. I had a great aunt, quite a character as the stories go, who among other things was a bit of a hoarder, an unmarried one. Luckily for me one of the things she hoarded were textiles of all sorts. She would cut laces of off things and bag them up and keep them and throw out the garments, that sort of thing. She traveled a bit too, and from the looks of my inheritance perhaps Mexico was part of that journey. She lived not too far from the Mexican border so it was a common vacation spot in her day. She died at 96 years of age when I was 25 so looooong time ago. Her textile goodies all came to me. This hand woven cloth above was in the stash. I have washed it three or four times over the years. It is really soft and has a lovely hand and drape. It was a smallish square. I never knew what to do with it and carried along with through life. I decided to make it into a scarf and I just know I will wear this a lot. 
Here you can see the hand woven edge. Like any weaving, two ends were fringed and the other two opposite ends were stitched around with each pass of the shuttle. You can see the irregularities in the weaving above. I don't know why they would pull the shuttle so tight every ten or so rows . You just wonder about these mysteries. This was a square. To make it a scarf I had to cut it. 


That meant the opposite edge had to be dealt with. First was thread color choice. I couldn't win either way so just decided on the navy. You can see down the blue bar a seam. I did a mock flat fell, basically a french seam that I topstitched down. I wanted something sturdy and this did and kept the threads all enclosed. For the opposite edge I experimented and the best I came up with was to first run a narrow line of satin stitch zigzag, not too tight, down the edge. Then I ran on top of that another row of stitching that was a blind hem stitch. The satin stitch alone would have pulled right off the edge. The big zag of the blind hem stitch caught it in and feels secure. The scarf is now 20 by 60. It has great fringe.


I hope I haven't ruined Antique Roadshow's next great find! But it is finally going to get some use after all these years.  Next scarf>>>>>>>>>>>>>


This was just a pretty piece of poly chiffon I think I actually bought to make a scarf. I like light scarfs in the summer  and loved this print. 


The other detail that made this fabric very scarf worthy was the fringe. I mean, really! So all I had to do was hem up the sides and done. I did the Kenneth King hem and it was done pretty quickly. It's been a while since I used that technique and this scarf making binge was a good refresher course in the method. I'll point out a few tips, particularly as they pertain to poly chiffon. This blue one was quite compliant but the next pink scarf fought me every step of the way but got tamed anyway. 



Stitch and Ditch is the perfect stabilizer for this process. It is very light but just heavy enough to control these light fabrics. This is the big roll that came in and that my husband says he will cut. I think I will keep it large now that I am using it. Adding machine tape or anything heavier than this might not rip away without distorting the stitching, IMO. This bolt of S&D will be here forever. It never runs out. 


You really need a rotary cutter for this technique. Here you can see a strip of the Stitch and Ditch pinned to the very edge of the chiffon which has just been cut with the cutter. It is also well pinned. Clips are far too heavy for this. Professor King says if you have a see through chiffon you can also use Ultra Solvy.  Another tip I found helpful was to have an awl at the machine to secure down the paper to the chiffon as it went through the machine . This is slow sewing. You have to keep your paper/fabric edge butted perfectly up to the edge stitching blade. Go slow and use your hands at all times. It's not hard at all, just takes focus.


The Kenneth King Hem tutorial is in Tutorials in the right sidebar up top. You can get all the directions there. I am just adding a few hints here. Above you can see what a beautiful tiny hem it makes. The right side is on top, the wrong side on the bottom. Once you have mastered this, and it's easy, read the comments on the tutorial, you will probably never use your rolled hem foot again. I haven't. Even the corners and curves are easy.  Next scarf................



This is the pink scarf that was a bit more challenging. It is another chiffon and wanted to ravel like crazy. I tamed the beast by lightly spray starching the edges and pressing three times till dry each time. You can see the edges of the scarf looking stiff here. I will wash this out shortly. After they were dry, recut the edges with the rotary cutter and then pin on the paper and proceed with the process. Another tip I forgot to mention for any chiffon you may use or other lightweight fabric is to use a starter paper. Take a double layer of Stitch and Ditch and lay your start of stitching int the middle of it. Begin stitching away back from the cloth with the blade of the edge stitching foot in line with the edge of the paper even though you aren't on the scarf and its paper yet. Start stitching on the paper and smoothly move right on to the scarf. I start with a 1.5 stitch length and once I have a few stitches on the scarf I jack it up to 2.0. I dial it down again when I stitch off the scarf about a 1/4 inch from the end. NO Backstitching. That starter paper will save you a lot of misery.  

These scarves are simple straight line sewing. Learning to sew a tiny hem is a skill that will serve you well for a long, long time. Trust me, some time some place, somebody you love dearly will ask you to sew a three layer chiffon hem with a taffeta lining , all needing a tiny hem.  You've got this!...........Bunny

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful scarves, Bunny. Have you ever used Teral spray to help tame slippery fabrics? Karen

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    1. No. I would love to hear about it. I'll google it and see what it is about. I have not heard that name. Thanks.

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    2. Oops I misspelled the name. Website: www.terialarts.com

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  2. Thanks so much for these great tips!

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  3. Great tips! I have been using a similar technique for baby hems but it involves ban-roll instead of stabilizer. It's used in the same way, but leaves nothing inside the hem. Have you tried?

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    1. I have. I like the KK method as the ditch and stitch is far cheaper than the ban roll and I find the technique less fussy to deal with. The paper tears out in a couple of swooshes easily. It's also quicker. Whatever works for you is good but give this a try, so very easy.

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  4. Terrific blog post. I am head over heels in love with your Aunt's navy and white scarf. It is amazing. Great job on all counts. I too am very sentimental. My husband doesn't understand my fabric stash. Each piece is a time travel journey for me. I have some small pieces from my grandmother that are going to now become lovely scarfs thanks to you. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial!

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    1. That's sweet. You will have her close by when you wear them, sort of like a hug. That blue textile really is gorgeous and it was time I did something with it. I am really at a stage of "I can't take it with me and just cut it." It feels good.

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  5. Those scarves are so pretty and so perfectly made. I do like the fringe. I wish I could discover how to wear a scarf so it doesn't very quickly end up looking like a piece of bedraggled string. But that's a trick I've never mastered so I shall just have to stick to admiring them on others.

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    1. I think it's in the fabric. Some just don't have the body to hold a curve. The ones you see in retail are hung on rings so you can sort of see how much "bounce" they have and that helps. I remember when all fabric stores had a full length mirror and you could go over with a bold of fabric and drape it around yourself to see the color and drape. Sigh............

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  6. Beautiful. I must go through my tiny inherited stash although at over 100 years old it might be past actually holding up to sewing!
    May I ask where you get your Stitch and Ditch stabiliser? I haven't been able to find any in the UK.

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    1. I got it through Amazon. It is a huge roll for a little over eleven dollars. I promise it will last you the next twenty years. My smaller roll lasted that long and I used it a lot. It's a very thin paper. You could cut the roll with a table saw if you have one and share with a friend.

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