Chenille Scarf from a Sheet

11:39 AM

 I know it's probably too late to offer this as a Christmas gift idea, but here's a soft, upcycled handmade scarfc made from a soft vintage sheet.
This scarf uses the faux chenille technique.

Maybe you've seen the baby blankets Dana over at made created using this technique.
It's basically sewing lines of multiple layers of fabric, then cutting between the lines to allow the raw edges to fray and become soft texture.

The baby blankets you sew the lines on the diagonal from corner to corner, because the cutting needs to be on the bias.  But this scarf is cool because your lines are straight, because you cut your fabric on the bias! Also, no binding and both sides are chenille!
I got the idea from LittleRedSaid here from her tutorial.  I saw her scarf the day after I'd bought a vintage sheet set for $3.00 at the thrift store so it was meant to be.
Other cute faux chenille scarves that are more like the blankets with one side chenille, the other having diagonal lines, and binding:

So here's what I did, very similar to LittleRedSaid.
Here I am wearing the scarf with my prego belly, no makeup, and my mullet hair that needs to be cut.
Scarf: Faux Chenille

1. Cut Strips
5 strips per scarf: 7 1/2" wide,  55" to 65" long  (or whatever you think is best and fits your fabric)
I used a vintage full size fitted sheet.  It ended up making 2 scarves.
You need to cut your strips on the bias. 
Using the fitted sheet, I first cut off the elastic and corner seams so it was flat.
I took two opposite corners and put them together, making the sheet a large triangle.  It was too long to fit on my cutting mat, so I folded the point of the triangle back up as shown.
After cutting my strips 7 1/2" wide, I put them together to determine how long my scarves could be. 
****To get 2 scarves out of my sheet, I did sew some shorter strips together to make them long enough, and just layered the pieced strips in the middle of the scarf.

2. Secure layers together
For this step, I tried 2 different methods.
I first tried to secure the 5 strips with the spray adhesive.  This was the recommendation in the blanket made tutorial.  Despite my best efforts, it really bunched up the layers and was hard to keep them smooth.

The next scarf I tried instead to make them stiff using starch.  Starch is cheap and you just spray the fabric, let it soak in, then iron it.  I worked on one half of the scarf, (since my ironing board couldn't fit the whole scarf) starching one layer, then adding the next, soaking it with starch, ironing it, then adding the next on top through all five layers.  Then flipped it and starched the other end.

You can see in the photo the starching made the layers much more smooth.  But starch didn't really adhere the layers together very well.  So the 5 layers were stiff and smooth, but could get out of line.
Where the spray adhesive was stuck together, but in a bunchy uneven layer.
After both scarves were done, I don't know that it made much of a different in the finished scarf, but I guess if you were really wanting smooth lines, you could starch the layers, then use a little spray adhesive to connect them together.  For a big project like the blankets, you may need the adhesive, but I found the scarf was small enough just starching and pinning worked fine.  Heck, you could probably do nothing and just pin and sew and be fine actually.
**After both were finished, you really couldn't tell the difference for the most part.  But I think I prefer the starch method, the spray adhesive gummed up my blade as I cut the channels.

3. Sew first seam down the center
Measure the center of your strips, or for mine, 3 3/4" from the edge.  I drew a line down to guide with.
Then sew your center line.  This will be your gauge for all the other seams. 

4. Sew Seams
Working from your center seam to the edges, sew your other seams.  You can decide how wide you want your seams.  The narrower the seams, the softer the finished chenille will be.  For this scarf 1/2" seamed too big, and 1/4" apart seamed like a lot of seams to sew.  So I went in the middle and sewed my seams 3/8" apart.  To guide, I have this  gauge that attaches to my presser foot that helped me keep them even. 

Once you get to the edge, stop when you have 1/4" to 3/8" on the edge.  My layers got a little off in places, so I did have to trim the edges in areas to make them even from the last seam.
I also used the blue contrasting thread on these. 

5. Cut Your Strips
To make the chenille, you cut between your seams.
But for the scarf, you only cut the top 2 layers on one side, then flip it over and cut the top 2 layers on the other side.  Then the middle layer holds the whole scarf together. 
**So you could add more layers than just 5, but make sure it's an odd number for your total to have the center layer to hold it all together.

Before I started hacking all my trenches, I did go through one end of each scarf to carefully, with scissors, snip only the top 2 layers on each side.  I just saw myself hacking through the 3rd layer not paying attention, so started each row so I wouldn't cut a hole in the scarf. 

To cut all the little trenches between your seams, you can use scissors.
I got this Olfa Chenille Cutter for my birthday last month. It's a cool little blade, you can watch this video here to see all it's options.
So once I'd already started each slit carefully with scissors, I could just shred through them quite fast with my little Olfa blade.

6. Make Fringe
If you want fringe, decide how long you want them, and sew across each end.  I put a piece of masking tape on the top to help hold the cut layers the flat.  I made my fringe 3.5" long.

Then cut through the center layer, up to your sew line.

7. Wash
Now all you have to do is wash your scarf, and it should start fraying up into soft layers.
Because my sheet was 50% polyester, 50% cotton, a single wash didn't fluff/ fray much.  So I took a bristled hair brush and brushed the scarf, and it helped soften the chenille.
Time also helps soften the edges with use, and future washings.

FINISHED!
Seemed like a great way to upcycle something vintage, and have a unique, soft scarf.
Too bad I didn't make this in time so you could get some going for Christmas gifts!
I'm kind of getting things done last minute here.

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7 comments

  1. Very Cute. I love that little tool that you have. I will have to invest in one.

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  2. love. love. love. i have that cool little chenille tool waiting for the right beginning project...i thought i would start with a rug, but this scarf is WAY better! thanks!

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  3. My mom made chenille blankets for my kids years ago. I think this is the best scarf idea.
    p.s. you look great sans makeup...lucky!

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  4. How cute! Love this scarf so much!

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  5. Love it. May have to try a blanket.
    I saw one that was a 9 layer. 4 on each side.

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  6. Very nice! Could you tell me where you got the gauge that attaches to your presser foot and the name of it? I'm having a hard time finding one when I search and it would be SO helpful. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. the guage came with my machine, it just bolts to any of the pressure feet. Not sure how common they are, good luck!

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