How to Make a Sash Belt or Scarf

2007-08-27-belt-1-400

2007-08-27-belt-2-400

Silk charmeuse sash belt measuring 71.5″ (1.8 m) long by 2.5″ (63 mm) wide with angled ends and edgestitching.

 

This sash belt also works as a long scarf, especially if you make it wider, like this 5.5″ wide Banana Republic scarf, this 9″ wide Karen Zambos Vintage Couture scarf, or this 5″ wide Porter Grey scarf. Some, like the Karen Zambos scarf and this J.Crew silk twill sash belt, are topstitched. They are generally about 2 yds (1.8 m) long.

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.

Instructions

    1. 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).

Diagram 1

Diagram 1

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.

    1. Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise with right sides together and cut the ends at an angle, as shown in Diagram 2.

Diagram 2

Diagram 2
    1. 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.

Diagram 3

Diagram 3
  1. Trim the seam allowances at each corner, turn the sash right side out, and press.
  2. Finish by either (a) slipstitching the opening closed or (b) topstitching close to edge along all four sides of the sash.

Adding Shirring to Tops or Dresses

Zara top with DIY Shirring Added to the Hem

Close-up of Zara top with DIY Shirring Added to Hem

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.

Add shirring at the natural waist or the empire waist of a dress or top like on this fine gauge sweater at Anthropologie, this Theory dress, and this C&C California tunic.

Add shirring to short flutter sleeves to turn them into puff sleeves like on this Urban Outfitters blouse.

Add a bit of shirring to the center front of a dress just under the bust like on this Vince sweater dress.

How to Make a No-Sew Jersey Scarf

DIY no-sew scarf tutorial

Close-up of DIY no-sew jersey scarf

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.

Diagram 1

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.

How to Make a Gathered Jersey Skirt

Gathered Jersey Knit Skirt - 1
Gathered Jersey Knit Skirt - 2

Cotton/lycra jersey knit skirt with 5" (13 cm) waistband and gathered skirt body. The circumference of the finished skirt body (ungathered) is 1.5 times the hip circumference, and the length of the finished skirt body is 19.5" (50 cm).

For a fuller version which has a skirt body circumference that is twice the hip circumference, see the post How to Make a Gathered Skirt with Knit Waistband.

Materials

  • Knit fabric with at least 40% stretch (you could use a lightweight woven for the skirt body and just use the stretch knit for the waistband)

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Waistband: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  • Note for the Length (L): The waistband length of 11" (28 cm) used in Diagram 1 creates a finished waistband that is 5" (13 cm) thick. For a different waistband thickness, multiply the desired thickness by 2 and add 1" (25 mm) for seam allowances. For example, for a 3" (76 mm) thick finished waistband, cut a length of 7" (18 cm).

    Note for the Width (W): For the best fit, you can figure out exactly how wide to cut the fabric for your waistband. Wrap a folded piece of your fabric crosswise around your waist where you want the waistband to be, stretching it for a snug fit. Mark the width and add 1" (25 mm) for seam allowances.

  • Skirt Body: Cut 2 rectangles from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. To determine the skirt body length, measure from where you want the bottom edge of the waistband to hit on you hips down to your desired hemline, and add 1" (25 mm) for seam allowances.
    For example, I cut the skirt body 20.5" (52 cm) long for a skirt that hits just below the knees.
  • Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing the Waistband

  1. First we’re going to sew the waistband into a tube that will fit around your waist; it will have only one seam, which will be at the center back (CB). To do this, fold the width of the waistband in half with right sides together and sew the lengthwise raw edges (i.e., the edges that are 11" in length) together, as shown in Diagram 2.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Now fold the length of the waistband in half with the wrong sides together, as shown in Diagram 3, and pin in place.
  4. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  5. Divide the waistband into quarters by marking the raw edges at center front (CF) and at each side using chalk or a fabric marker.

Sewing the Skirt

  1. With right sides together, sew the side seams of the skirt body.
  2. Divide the skirt into quarters by marking the top edge of the skirt body at CF and CB using chalk or a fabric marker.
  3. Sew a gathering stitch (i.e., a long, straight stitch with the tension loosened) with contrasting thread 0.375" (10 mm) from the top edge of the skirt body, starting and stopping at each side seam and leaving long thread ends.
  4. Pull the thread ends of the gathering stitch to gather the skirt body to the width of the waistband, distributing the gathering evenly across each quarter section of the skirt body.

Attaching the Waistband to the Skirt Body

  1. Pin the top edge of the skirt body to the (raw-edged) bottom of the folded waistband, with right sides together and with quarter markings aligned. With the skirt body facing up, sew the skirt to the waistband using a stretch stitch, as shown in Diagram 4.
  2. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  3. Remove the gathering stitches from the skirt body.

Finishing Up

  1. Hem the skirt (optional for jersey knit) by folding the hem edge 0.25" (6 mm) to the wrong side twice, as shown in Diagram 5. Sew along the upper edge of the hem.
  2. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5

How To Make a Headband, Version 3: Easy Ribbon Headband

Easy Ribbon Headband - 1
Easy Ribbon Headband - 2

Ribbon headbands secured to elastic ponytail holders.

I’ve seen many headbands lately which use a loop of cord elastic that is cinched at the center, usually by a metal crimp, to form a figure eight (like Anthropologie’s Oxford headband, Anthropologie’s Fairytale Theater headband, Banana Republic’s double ribbon headband, and Santi’s metallic headband). This inspired me to use two ponytail holders to achieve a similar effect–because I do not have any metal crimps and neither do you, I presume, and, while we’re at it, maybe you don’t even have cord elastic. So here it is, an easy headband using minimal supplies that you probably already have at home.

Materials

  • Ribbon, approximately 15-20" (38-51 cm) in length (the length will depend on the size of the ponytail holders you use)
  • 2 elastic ponytail holders

Instructions

  1. Interlace the 2 ponytail holders together as shown in Diagram 1 and pull on them to form a knot.
  2. Diagram 1

    Diagram 1
  3. Fold one end of your ribbon 0.25-0.5" (6-13 mm) to the wrong side twice, slipping one of the ponytail holders inside the second fold. Without sewing over the ponytail holder, sew the folded end of the ribbon with a rectangle of stitching as shown in Diagram 2.
  4. Tip: If your ribbon is wider than 0.75" (19 mm), you may want to fold or pleat the ribbon at the ends so that it is narrow enough to attach easily to the ponytail holders.

    Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  5. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the ponytail holders to the unattached end of the ribbon. Cut the ribbon to the desired length, adding in extra length for the seam allowance.
  6. Repeat Step 2 with the other end of the ribbon and the other ponytail holder, making sure the ribbon is not twisted.

Retail Roundup: Wide Headbands

Wide Headband with Covered Elastic - 1

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Wide Headband

Echo headband, in nylon mesh with colorful embroidery.

Anthropologie Strata headband, 4.5" wide in a brightly-striped open knit, made from cotton and polyester.

Anthropologie Gardening headband, 3" wide in floral silk.

Ann Taylor headband, about 3-4" wide in white cotton with brown floral embroidery. And a similar Ann Taylor headband in black with white pindots.

Craft Book Excerpts at Canadian Living

In case you don’t already own Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing book or Amy Butler’s In Stitches book, you can visit the Canadian Living site to see a couple of projects excerpted from each book. This way you can try out a project (or two) before committing to buy the book.
The site is also great for browsing other DIY projects, including excerpts from other books.

Picnic Placemat from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing

Tote Bag from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing

Kitty Tunnel from Amy Butler’s In Stitches

Floor Cushions from Amy Butler’s In Stitches

Retail Roundup: Head Scarves

Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 1

Links to Retail Examples of the DIY Head Scarf

Juicy Couture cherry print head wrap, 13" wide by 15.5" long; gathered at the ends and attached to 1.5" wide by 6.5" long elastic; in printed voile.

J. Crew No-Hassle head scarf, 9.5" wide by 16" long; pleated at the ends and attached to 1.25" wide by 6" long covered elastic; in lightweight printed cotton.

Plus, several from Anthropologie: Blocks & Blooms headband, Cafe Au Lait headband, and Links headwrap, all in either silk or cotton, ranging from 6-7.5" wide and attached to covered elastic.

And finally, Intuition’s multi-print elastic back headband (no details given but you can see some photos).

How to Make a Headband, Version 1: The Head Scarf

Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 1
Head Scarf with Covered Elastic - 2

Silk head scarf measuring 10" (25 cm) wide by 15.5" (39 cm) long with covered elastic measuring 1" (25 mm) wide by 6" (15 cm) long.

Materials

  • Woven fabric, like lightweight cotton, linen, silk chiffon, or silk charmeuse
  • 1" (25 mm) wide elastic–you’ll need a length of about 6" (15 cm), but you can wait to cut it until the fitting stage
  • Safety pin or loop turner

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Main Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. You can vary the width quite a bit depending on how much of your head you want covered; I’d say 6" (15 cm) to 13" (33 cm) is the general range for this style.
  • Connector Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. The 2.75" (70 mm) dimension is sized for 1" (25 mm) wide elastic. If you choose a different width for your elastic, update this dimension by multiplying the width of your elastic by 2 and adding 0.75" (19 mm).
  • Note: Any grainline orientation should be fine, but laying the long sides of the rectangles crosswise (i.e., perpendicular to the selvage) will use the least fabric yardage.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1

Sewing

  1. Hem the long raw edges of the main piece by folding each raw edge 0.25" (6 mm) to the wrong side twice, as shown in Diagram 2. Sew along the upper edge of the hem. If you are using a very lightweight material like chiffon and/or using a rolled hem presser foot, you can sew a narrower 0.125" (3 mm) hem.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Pleat or gather the short, raw edges of the main piece so that they are the same width as the elastic, 1" (25 mm) in this case. See Diagram 3. To gather, sew a gathering stitch (i.e., a long, straight stitch with the tension loosened) within the 0.5" (13 mm) seam allowance, leaving long thread ends; pull the thread ends to gather the edge to the width of the elastic and then tie the threads. To pleat, try using overlapping knife pleats and sew a basting stitch within the 0.5" (13 mm) seam allowance to hold down the pleats.
  4. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  5. Fold the short sides of the connector piece in half with right sides together and, using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube as shown in Diagram 4.
  6. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  7. Turn the connector piece right side out with a safety pin or loop turner and press so that the seam is positioned at center back (CB).
  8. Fold and press the raw edges of the connector piece 0.25" (6 mm) to the inside of the tube.
  9. Insert the elastic inside the connector piece tube and pin the connector piece onto the elastic so that the elastic sticks out on both ends.
  10. Overlap one end of the elastic 0.5" (13 mm) onto one of the raw ends of the main piece and sew them together as shown in Diagram 5. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the elastic to the unattached end of the main piece. Cut elastic to desired length. Overlap and sew the unattached ends of the elastic and main piece like you did on the other side.
  11. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5
  12. Slide the ends of the connector piece just past the elastic ends, keeping the raw edges of the connector piece folded inside the tube. Topstitch next to the folded edge of one of the connector pieces. Topstitch again about 0.25" (6 mm) further down the connector piece. See Diagram 6. Repeat the topstitching on the other side.
  13. Diagram 6

    Diagram 6

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