Sunday, August 16, 2009

Make a Vintage Sheet Faux Chenille Scarf

I think I've mentioned before that I have been accumulating vintage sheets for a project for about a year now. I think I have enough variety to start my project now.....but I do have a few odd sheets that don't quite 'get along' with the others for what ever it weight of fabric, content, colour, or design. One of these odd ducks that didn't seem to quite fit in was the softest fabric ever, but it's weight and faded colour was making me feel it didn't have a place in the planned project. So I had an idea to use it up on its own. I thought it might make a nice chenille scarf.........and I think it did....What do you think?

Four years ago, I took a class to make a sewn chenille scarf shown at the bottom of this post. The class required that you buy your project supplies from the local quilt shop that was hosting the class, so it was quite a pricey little project. Perhaps more money than I'd typically spend to make a gift for a friend or neighbour. Plus it's just a scarf......and to my mind anyway $40 for supplies alone, was kind of steep. In the store's defense...their fabric was beautiful yarn dyed stuff....the kind that looks just as deep in colour on the back as it does on the front. I did manage to catch a killer sale at the local fabric store and stocked up on enough plaids (that was what my original scarf was made of) to make 4-5 more scarfs for gifts. But for this one I did not have any plaid in the colour I needed to try and.......I wanted to see how a vintage sheet would do anyway. The project took me about 4 hours to cut, pin, stitch and slit the fabric. The finished scarf is 60 inches in length and 7 inches wide including a 6 inch fringe at either end. Fabric cost for this project was about $2.00.....the results....priceless:)......well pretty darned cute anyway.

If you are interested to try this are the steps and instructions.
Faux Chenille Scarf

  • 2m fabric (I did this with cottons in both situations but I've read that silk and rayon also fluff up well)
  • scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat, makes life easier
  • pins
  • matching thread
  • slash cutter if you have one...but scissors will do as well
The strips of fabric for this project are cut on the bias or diagonally and are cut 7 1/4 inches wide. You will need to cut 5 layers of fabric. So cut up 7 1/2 inch wide strips on the diagonal until you have enough for 5 layers. I started by cutting off one of the corners at a 45 degree angle., then proceeded to cut 7 1/2 inch strips Using the single longest piece, lay this one on the table flat either side up....doesn't matter which. Then lay two more layer exactly on top both right side up. Pin along the edges to secure the layers, alternatively you could use fabric adhesive if you have it to 'glue' the layers together. (If some lengths are not long enough, overlap the edges with the next piece by 1/4 inch and trim away any excess length at the scarf ends.) Note that the overlapped join should be at a 45 degree angle, not straight across the scarf.  Joining pieces in this manner will not be noticeable at all in the finished product if done on the 45.  Now flip over the whole thing. Do the same on the back side....layering 2 more layers both right side up......adding to length with a second piece if necessary. Pin at outside edges or secure with spray fabric glue. Trim across both ends to the length of scarf you would like. Starting at one end, sew along the length of the layers right down the middle of the long rectangle.
I marked the center line with a washable kids marker for a nice straight line to follow. Make sure the fabric rectangle is lined up straight and is not curved when you do this. I also found it useful to use a walking foot attachment when sewing through all 5 layers. Now starting from the opposite end this another straight line 3/8 inch away from the center line. Turn your piece and sew another straight line 3/8 inch away and parallel to the last one......and so on until you reach the end. Continue in the same manner on the other side of the scarf until it is covered in parallel stitched lines 3/8 inches apart. Now you can trim along the long edges of the scarf and remove any uneven bits. Trim parallel to the last stitching line leaving a little less than 1/4 inch of fabric outside the last stitching line.
Now it is time to slash the fabric between the lines of stitching. Using a slash cutter or a pair of good fabric scissors, cut ONLY THE TOP TWO layers of fabric down the full length of the scarf between each set of stitching lines. You will do this on both sides of the scarf. Remember that there are 5 layers so your goal is to leave the middle layer uncut. If you cut the middle layer at any will create a hole in your scarf..... so be mindful before you start cutting. Now if you'd like a fringe at the ends of your scarf, draw a line across the scarf at the point where you'd like your fringe to stop.......cut through the middle layers up to that point.
Now it's time to wash and dry your scarf. After washing and drying (with a pair of jeans helps with the fluffing) your scarf may need a bit more fluffing. You can give it a good brushing with a stiff bristle brush and a little misting of water and a bit more brushing to finish it off.

Now if you found that difficult to follow take a look at this lady's photos outlining the process. The scarf we made in class was wider, but the process was the same. I can't say if I remember folding the fabric the way it's done in the photos, but it does sound familiar and it looks easier than what I did......which was start a 45 degree cut off one end and just start cutting my 7 inch strips. Mind you I was working with a double wide sheet and not a 45 inch wide piece of fabric. Also make certain all selvedge is removed when trimming the ends as it will not fluff well. I hope that is all clearer than mud. Next post...............another chenille project:)....I think!


Jeannie said...

That is just the coolest thing. I had no idea you could even do something like that.

Robin (rsislandcrafts) said...

What a great idea! Looks like it was definitely worth the time and effort!

Lady said...

Nice stuff

Lady said...

its Lady Rose from swapbot.

CraftsCrazy said...

Wow, that's pretty neat. I've never seen anything like it before. What a great idea for recycling old sheets. I used my old sheets to line some cloth diapers for my baby. No need to use new fabric on the inside!

The Woman said...

WOW - this looks great! What an interesting process - no idea that's how chenille was made.

Lennongirl via Swap-bot

LittleRed said...

Chenille is such a fun thing to make and a little surprising to me every time it comes out of the dryer......and in this case.... a bit of a recycling project too:)

Jessica said...

I'm getting an olfa chenille cutter for Christmas and just bought some vintage soft sheets, so this tutorial was just perfect. Thanks so much, I'm glad I found your blog.

Nancy said...

Whow! Thank you so very much. I wanted to make Christmas gifts for my adult girls and grandchildren. I saw this at a quilt shop and immediately decided I could not afford this. Thanks, I have plenty of old vintage sheets. I am awed.
Blessings, Nancy

LittleRed said...

Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I hope it goes easily for you. They make a beautiful soft scarf that is a little different. I think the vintage sheets create a very soft look too!