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.

How to Make Twisted Fringe for Scarves and Wraps

DIY Twisted Fringe on a Scarf

Twisted fringe on the end of a wrap.

 

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.

Diagram for DIY twisted fringe  on a scarf or wrap

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.

Diagram for DIY twisted fringe or scarf

Diagram 2

Finish by knotting the twisted fringe close to the end. Repeat on remaining sections of fringe.

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 Headband, Version 5: Stretch Jersey Headband

Stretch Jersey Headband - 1
Stretch Jersey Headband - 2

Jersey/spandex fabric headband 2" (51 mm) wide by 17" (43 cm) in circumference.

You can find a simple jersey headband in stores for pretty cheap, like this American Apparel headband for $8. But if you have some scrap fabric or a t-shirt that you don’t wear lying around, you easily can sew one yourself.

Materials: Jersey knit/spandex blend fabric

Instructions

  1. For a 2" (51 mm) wide headband, cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  2. Note for the length: You’ll need a length of approximately 17-19" (43-48 cm), but it depends on the stretchiness of your fabric and the size of your head. Try wrapping a folded piece of your fabric around your head to figure out the exact length, adding in an extra 0.5" (13 mm) for seam allowances.

    Note for the width: If you want a different width for your headband, multiply your desired finished headband width by two and add 0.5" (13 mm) to determine the width of fabric to cut.

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 1
  3. Fold the short sides of the headband in half with right sides together. With a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance and using a stretch stitch, sew the long raw edges together to create a tube, stopping and starting about 1.5" (38 mm) away from each end. See Diagram 2.
  4. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  5. Turn the tube right side out.
  6. With right sides together and using a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, sew the short ends of the headband together as shown in Diagram 3. It will be tricky to get the short ends to lay flat to sew them together, so you may have to pin and sew a portion at a time.
  7. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  8. Fold the seam back into the inside of the tube. Tuck the raw edges at the opening to the inside of the tube and slipstitch the opening closed.
  9. Press the headband so that the seams lay flat.

How to Make a Headband, Version 4: Headband with Ties

Headband with Ties - 1
Headband with Ties - 2

Silk headband measuring 2" (51 mm) wide by 17" (43 cm) long with 13" (33 cm) long ties. The headband is connected at the back with covered elastic measuring 0.5" (13 mm) wide by 4" (10 cm) long.

Materials

  • Woven fabric, like lightweight cotton or silk
  • 0.5" (13 mm) wide elastic–you’ll need a length of about 4.5" (11 cm), but you can wait to cut it until the fitting stage
  • Safety pin or loop turner

Instructions

Measuring and Cutting

  • Main Piece (including ties): Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1. The 44" (112 cm) length creates ties about 13" (33 cm) long; adjust the length if you want longer or shorter ties. The width range of 3.5" (89 mm) to 8.5" (22 cm) results in finished headband widths ranging from 1.5" (38 mm) to 4" (10 cm), respectively. To determine the exact fabric width to cut, multiply your desired finished headband width by two and add 0.5" (13 mm).
  • Connector Piece: Cut 1 rectangle from your fabric as shown in Diagram 1.
  • 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. Fold the short sides of the main 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 2. Repeat with the connector piece.
  2. Diagram 2

    Diagram 2
  3. Turn the main piece right side out and press so that the seam is positioned at center back (CB). Repeat with the connector piece. (Use a safety pin or loop turner to turn the pieces right side out if needed.)
  4. Insert the elastic inside the connector piece using a safety pin or loop turner.
  5. Sew the elastic and connector piece together at one end with a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance, as shown in Diagram 3. (On the other end, just leave the end of the elastic sticking out for now; you can pin the end of the connector piece to the elastic to keep it in place if needed).
  6. Diagram 3

    Diagram 3
  7. Fold the main piece in half lengthwise and mark it with chalk or a fabric marker 8.5" (22 cm) away from the fold in both directions, as shown in Diagram 4.
  8. Diagram 4

    Diagram 4
  9. If your headband is wider than 1.5" (38 mm), pleat the main piece at each mark to make it about 1.5" (38 mm) wide, as shown in Diagram 5. Pin or baste stitch the pleats to secure them.
  10. Diagram 5

    Diagram 5
  11. Lay the connector piece down on top of the main piece, both with CB seams facing up. Align the stitchline at the end of the connector piece (Step 4) with one of the marks on the main piece, as shown in Diagram 6. At the mark, fold the sides of the main piece over the connector piece (the folded sides will overlap a little), and sew all layers together.
  12. Diagram 6

    Diagram 6
  13. Test the fit by trying on the headband while stretching the free end of the elastic to the other mark on the main piece. Cut elastic to desired length, including an extra 0.25" (6 mm) for a seam allowance.
  14. Repeat Step 4 with the other ends of the elastic and connector piece.
  15. Repeat Step 7 with the other ends of the connector piece and main piece, making sure the headband is not twisted.
  16. Remove the basting stitches made in Step 6, if any.
  17. (Optional) Cut the ends of the ties at an angle as shown in Diagram 7.
  18. Diagram 7

    Diagram 7
  19. Tuck the ends of the ties 0.25" (6 mm) to the inside and edgestitch the openings closed.

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.