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Dacia Ray shares a great idea for making the most of Anthropologie’s dishtowels, which might be too precious to use for their intended purpose. Try repurposing the dishtowels to use as a sewing machine cover like the one shown at Dacia Ray, or maybe as a pillow or for decorating a child’s room. Many of the dishtowels have cute appliques or embroidery so they would be perfect for kids.
Materials: Silk twill and silk charmeuse are common fabrics to use, but any non-sheer woven fabric would work. Heavier weight fabrics would work best for use as a belt; lighter weight fabrics should be used if you want it to double as a scarf.
Cut a strip of fabric about 2 yds (1.8 m) long as shown in Diagram 1. To determine how wide the strip needs to be, multiply your desired finished belt/scarf width by two and add 0.5″ (13 mm).
Note: Alternatively, you can cut the fabric on the bias. With 44″ (1.1 m) wide fabric, you can make a bias sash about 60″ (1.5 m) long before having to add a seam.
Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise with right sides together and cut the ends at an angle, as shown in Diagram 2.
With a 0.25″ (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the raw edges together along both angled ends and along the length of the fabric, leaving an opening of about 4″ (10 cm), as shown in Diagram 3.
Trim the seam allowances at each corner, turn the sash right side out, and press.
Finish by either (a) slipstitching the opening closed or (b) topstitching close to edge along all four sides of the sash.
While I’ve shown fringe on a sarong and a scarf already, I haven’t covered how to make the most popular type of fringe, the twisted fringe.
First, section off the loose fringe into evenly spaced intervals. Starting at one side of the scarf, divide the first section of fringe in half and twist one of the halves until it starts to kink. Separately twist the other half in the same direction until it starts to kink. See Diagram 1.
When the two halves are twisted, hold them together at the ends and twist them together in the opposite direction, as shown in Diagram 2.
Finish by knotting the twisted fringe close to the end. Repeat on remaining sections of fringe.
Zara blouse with three rows of shirring added to the waistline. The shirring was formed with elastic thread with the rows spaced 0.5″ (13 mm) apart.
Tops and dresses that are full or boxy, lack a defined waist, or just need a slight change can be quickly altered with some shirring or smocking. To try this out yourself, you’ll need elastic sewing thread.
Hand-wind the elastic thread on your bobbin and use regular thread on top. Be sure to sew with the right side of the garment facing up so the elastic thread will be on the wrong side. If you’re sewing around the circumference of the garment, start and stop at one of the side seams (or both, especially if you think you may have to adjust the tightness of shirring). As you start and stop each row or each section of shirring, leave long thread ends and don’t backstitch. After you have finished shirring, and adjusted the fit if necessary, tie all the loose thread ends.
If you haven’t sewn with elastic thread before, practice sewing with it on some scrap fabric first to see how tightly you should wind it on the bobbin or if you need to adjust the tension on your machine. Keep in mind that the smocking will get tighter as additional rows are added.
Here are some ways to try this technique:
Add shirring at the bottom of the shirt (i.e., drop waist) for a blouson effect like I did with the Zara shirt and like these at Topshop and Urban Outfitters.
Viscose jersey scarf with raw edges, measuring 2.5 yds (2.3 m) by 18″ (46 cm).
Perfect for a long strip of leftover jersey fabric. I was inspired by the American Apparel jersey scarf which is as basic as it gets (just a rectangle of raw-edged fabric), but seems to be pretty popular for being so soft, versatile and portable (read what Mighty Goods had to say about it). All you’ll need to make your own jersey scarf is 2-2.5 yds (1.8-2.3 m) of a soft jersey knit fabric. Cut the fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
You can pick a slightly sheer cotton jersey like the American Apparel scarf (which is 93″ long by 16″ wide). You can also try rayon jersey like this narrow Banana Republic metallic scarf (80″ by 7″) or this Nordstrom scarf (80″ by 18″). Make sure that the wrong side of the fabric looks fairly nice because both sides of the fabric might show when you are wearing the scarf. After you cut your fabric, just leave the edges raw; the edges of many jersey fabrics curl up naturally.