Foot of the Month: Sheer Scarf with Gathered Ruffles

August 19, 2019By Joanne BankoFoot of the Month, Garment, Sewing 6 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Finished scarf measures approximately 17-inches wide X 70-inches long.

Note: Please read through the instructions to learn various tips and techniques before beginning this project. Featured machines in this project are the Brother NS1750D Sewing and Embroidery Machine and the Brother 5234PRW Serger.

This sheer ruffled scarf makes a great addition to your wardrobe! Follow the instructions presented here and you’re only a few simple steps away from making and wearing this chiffon scarf. We started by using the serger to quickly and easily finish off the raw edges on the main pieces of the scarf. Then we created gentle gathers for the ruffled ends using our featured foot of the month, the gathering foot. In the last step we sewed the ruffles to the main scarf piece using a neat enclosed seam. Are you ready? Let’s go sew!

Materials and Supplies

Note: The gathering foot is a low shank screw-on foot. High shank machines will need high shank adapter SA131 to attach this foot. Check to see if this adapter was included with your high shank machine.

  • SA540 Brother Water-soluble Stabilizer cut into small strips.
  • Basic sewing notions including thread to match or blend with fabric and fine sharp pins.
  • Three cones of serger thread to match or blend with fabric.

Fabric for scarf:

  • 3/4 yd. of 58/60-inch wide soft polyester chiffon or georgette fabric that looks similar on both right and wrong sides.

Instructions for Creating Scarf

1. Begin by cutting one strip of fabric 58 to 60-inches wide X 17-inches long to use for the main scarf piece. See Figure #1

Figure #1
Tip: Clip into the fabric at the selvedge edge and pull a thread from end to end to create a straight line. Cut along the line, and then measure down 17-inches to pull another thread for cutting. Trim away selvedges of fabric.

From the remaining fabric cut two additional strips measuring 24-inches wide X 8-inches long to use for ruffles at each end. See Figure #2.

Figure #2
Note: Measurements don’t need to be exact. Feel free to make your scarf wider by increasing the sized beyond the 17-inch measurement. Increase length of 8-inch ruffle for a longer scarf.

2. Set up the serger for a three-thread rolled hem, using your machine manual as a guide. Tips for the serger rolled hem:

  • Be sure to test your stitch on fabric remnants. When the rolled hem is properly set the stitch will look similar on both right and wrong sides of the fabric. In addition, the raw edge will roll under in an amount that is almost equal to the width of the stitch. See Figure #3 for an example of a properly adjusted rolled hem on a solid colored light weight fabric.
Figure #3
  • When serging a rolled hem on chiffon it’s best to increase the stitch length slightly. If necessary, you can also adjust the cutting width to a greater number so more fabric rolls into the stitch. In this example the width dial is set at 6, stitch length is midway between R and 2, and differential feed is set at 0.7 to help pull fabric smooth and taught. For best results always trim a slight amount off fabric edge when stitching the rolled hem. See below:

  • You’ll find it helpful to begin and end your stitching with a small strip of water-soluble stabilizer layered with the fabric. See example in Figure #4a and #4b.
Figure #4a
Figure #4b
  • Wash out stabilizer when finished. Write down your settings and keep a sample of your test piece to use as a reference for your next project with similar fabric. When working with a multi-colored fabric you can experiment with using a mixture of thread colors. In this project, green thread is in the needle and lower looper and blue thread is in the upper looper. Note that the prominent thread in a properly adjusted rolled hem is the upper looper thread.

3. Hem both long edges of large strip, leaving short ends raw. Next, hem one long edge and both short sides of the smaller strips. See Figure #5.

Figure #5

4. It’s time to lightly gather the shorter strips before attaching them to the main scarf piece. Cut several 24-inch long strips from fabric scraps to use for testing gathering. Attach gathering foot to machine. See Figure #6.

Figure #6
Tips: When using the gathering foot note that longer stitches and tighter tension will make more gathers. We need gentle gathers for this project. Machine settings will vary slightly but settings for this project are as follows: Tension 4.0, stitch length 2.5. Gather strip by aligning the edge of the foot with the raw edge of the fabric. Gently ease fabric out from the back of the foot as you sew, taking care that you don’t pull out the gathers. Gather until strip is the same length as short end of long strip. See Figure #7.
Figure #7

You can ease off some of the gathers but it’s best if the gathering is very close to the measurement of the strip you are attaching it to. Pin a gathered strip to each end of the scarf piece, having wrong sides together. See Figure #8.

Figure #8

5. Change to standard foot and sew a ¾-inch seam. See Figure #9.

Figure #9

6. To form an enclosed seam, begin by trimming the gathered edge down to a seam measuring ¼-inch wide. Next, turn under and press the remaining ¾-inch seam allowance so it wraps over the raw edge and encloses the trimmed seam. Pin folded seam to prepare for stitching. See Figure #10.

Figure #10
Tips: Be sure to test your iron temperature on a scrap of fabric.

7. To finish, topstitch seam from the right side. See Figure #11.

Figure #11
Tips: With sheer, soft fabric it is often a good idea to avoid backstitching. Instead, begin stitching a slight distance from the edge, turn and pivot to the end, then pivot again and continue stitching. See below:

You are finished! Enjoy your beautiful scarf and be prepared for compliments!
Note: This scarf can also be worn over the shoulders and tied in front for a stylish wrap. See example below:

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6 Comments

  • It does look wonderful and the colors are so bright and cheery. So what do you do if you don’t have a serger to make this scarf. Can we not use another foot from our sewing machine like the rolled hem foot and maybe a decorator stitch from the sewing machine for example the blanket stitch or a zig zag. Just asking as I know you will give me an answer. Thank you and the scarf is lovely and I would love to make one and give it away to people to accessorize their wardrobe.

    • Hi Carla!

      You posed some great questions so thanks for writing in here! I would say yes indeed you can use a sewing machine to narrow hem all the raw edges on the scarf in place of using a serger. The rolled hem foot could be an option but if your fabirc is really slippery you may want to sew a double turned scant 1/4-inch hem and use the standard foot for sewing it in place. I would avoid using any decorative stitches on the super sheer fabric and opt for plain straight stitching in this particular case. Have fun making one or more pretty scarves!!!

  • I wish I saw these instructions yesterday as I was looking for a “different” scarf to make but ended up making an infinity scarf. This is a great idea for a future project. Thank you!!!

    • Hi Sandra!

      I’m so glad you liked this scarf style. I had fun designing it as I love scarves but I’m always on the hunt for something a little different than the norm. Thank you for taking the time to write. We all appreciate your comments very much!

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