Saturday 4 December 2010

Voile scarf tutorial

This light scarf is made from Anna Maria Horner's 'Little Folks' voile. To achieve a similar look, you will need very sheer, soft fabric. I have used a print on one side of the scarf, and a plain white voile on the other side.

Summer scarf

I have edged one side of the scarf with a lace trim, and stitched rows of shirring across the scarf to give some structure. The ends of the scarf have frayed edges.

AMH voile scarf

The first thing to decide is how long you would like your scarf. I prefer a longer scarf and have made mine 70".

For a 54" scarf, you will need:
One 7" strip across the width of the fabric, of a 54" wide cotton voile print
One 7" strip across the width of the fabric, of a 54" wide cotton white voile
54" lace
shirring elastic

For a 70" scarf, you will need:
Two 7" strips across the width of the fabric, of a 54" wide cotton voile print
Two 7" strips across the width of the fabric, of a 54" wide cotton white voile
70" lace trim
shirring elastic

Note: I found the voile to be a little slippery to handle. I pulled a thread across the width of the fabric and cut along this to get my 7" strips nice and straight.

Call me fastidious (you won't be the first!), but I have used french seams to join my scarf pieces. Being such fragile and transparent fabrics, I thought french seams would give the cleanest and most robust finish. You can choose to use normal 1/4" seams if you like.

To construct a french seam:

1. Place the two fabric pieces to be joined, WRONG sides together.  Sew together with a straight stitch, 1/8" from the edge. Press seam to one side.


2. Fold the fabric along the seam line, this time with the RIGHT sides together. Sew a line of straight stitching, 1/4" from the edge. This will enclose the raw edges of the fabric really neatly.


The wrong side of your joined fabrics should have an enclosed seam that looks like this:


The right side of your joined fabrics will look like a normal seam:


So, if you are making a long scarf, you will need to join your two 7" strips along their short edge with a french seam, to make one long strip. Cut this strip to 70".

Join the print strip to the white strip along their long edge with a french seam.

Sew a line of straight stitching across the short end of the scarf, 1/2" from the edge. You will fray the fabric to this row of stitching later.


With a sharp lead pencil, mark a line lightly, 3/8" in from the long edge of the print fabric, on the right side. Align your lace on this pencil line and stitch in place.


The next step is to add the rows of shirring across the scarf. Shirring elastic is readily available, and looks like this:


Wind the shirring elastic onto a bobbin, without stretching it. Place the bobbin in your bobbin case. The top thread remains the same.

With a sharp lead pencil, mark a line lightly across your scarf at the half way point. Mark more lines either side of this centre line, approximately 8" apart. (This gave me 7 shirring lines for my 70" scarf). These lines are not critical. You can place them as you please.

Using a normal stitch length, you simply stitch straight lines along each pencil line. As you stitch, the elastic will magically draw up your fabric to give a soft gather. There are two important things to remember at this point:
  • reverse your stitching at beginning and end to lock the elastic,
  • and, stop stitching (and reverse) just before you get to your lace trim, as shown below.

Almost done! One final french seam to stitch. With WRONG sides together, sew long edges of scarf together with a straight stitch, 1/8" from the edge.


You should now have a long tube. Turn the scarf through one end so that the RIGHT sides are together. Fold the fabric along the seam line you have just stitched. Sew a line of straight stitching, 1/4" from the edge, EXACTLY ON TOP OF the line of stitching that secures the lace.


Turn your scarf right side out and give it a good press. Fray the ends back to the row of stitching.


And there you have it! One light and summery scarf, ready for Chrismas gift giving.


As always, please ask questions if anything is less than clear. With best wishes, Bloom x


  1. What a beautiful scarf and a beautifully written tutorial. Great instructions, thanks so much for sharing. It's perfect!

  2. What a beautiful project! The fabric and lace are perfect. What gorgeous gifts they would make.

  3. That is so gorgeous! And the lace was a great idea, sets it off perfectly. Thanks for this great tutorial.

  4. Fabulous Tut..Thanks so much I love this Scarf...

  5. My first visit to your blog and I love it! What a great tutorial - thank you!

  6. The scarf is so good and its work is amazing.Thanks for this great tutorial.

  7. I love it. It's beautiful and very unique. What a great tutorial. Thank you!

  8. Thank you SO much for this wonderful tutorial!

    It's so interesting to learn about a new seam (hmmm... should I get out more often?!) and the shirring adds that extra special something. I've been eyeing off that voile for a while, it's one of my favourite designs at the moment.

    Thanks once again!

    Festive hugs! Vikki :-)

  9. Thanks for the fantastic tutorial. Your scarf looks devine!

  10. Hello I "discovered" your lovely blog via flickr. Thanks so much for sharing the tute for this gorgeous scarf!! Love how you added the shirring. Simply elegant!!! With love from California,


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