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Create a Beautiful Scarf from Scraps

Fabric and ribbon from your stash, water-soluble stabilizer, and machine stitches pull it together.

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Using up every inch of a piece of fabric is so satisfying—especially when you can create something that's pretty and useful, too.

Cut some fabric, add bits of fiber and ribbon, place between two layers of water-soluble stabilizer, stitch, rinse, then stand back and see the scarf that emerges.

It’s fun to combine beautiful fabrics and to use those tiny scraps that were too hard to throw away. Here’s a way to use lots of small pieces to build a seamless scarf—or consider using a section of these “floating” scraps as an inset on a garment.


  • Soft, lightweight, and nonabrasive fabric pieces such as silk, lightweight wool, rayon, or polyester. (Precut silk ribbon yarn and chiffon fabric yarn also can work well.) Choose enough compatible fabric pieces to complete the size of the project and some bits and pieces of yarn, cord, ribbon, or other fibers.
  • Thread. Try blendable/variegated thread.
  • Pinking shears, or a pinking blade for a rotary cutter
  • Water-soluble stabilizer such as Solvy line by Sulky, AquaFilm from OESD, or dSV by Hoop-it-All. Note: Always make a test piece with some of the fabric, yarn, and stabilizer to judge how quickly the stabilizer will dissolve and to check how the fabrics and thread hold together.
Choose fabrics that are compatible in terms of weight and color.

Make the scarf

1. Determine the finished size you want.

Cut two sheets of the water-soluble stabilizer to those dimensions.

2. Cut enough fabric strips or other shapes to cover one sheet.

Use pinking shears or a rotary blade to prevent the fabric from fraying too much. Layer the fabric on the stabilizer.

Cut the fabric with a pinking blade or pinking shears and arrange on a strip of water-soluble stabilizer. Accent the design with bits and pieces of ribbon and yarn.

3. Add the yarn and ribbon.

4. Place the second piece of stabilizer on top to create a sandwich.

Then pin to hold everything together.

Place another layer of stabilizer on top, pin together, then stitch through all the layers to connect the pieces.

5. Machine-stitch through the layers in a pattern of your choice.

Be sure you sew through all the fabrics to connect them. Roll up the ends of the scarf to keep the fabrics from falling out of the sandwich and to help them fit through the arm of the machine.

6. Rinse the stitched scarf to remove the stabilizer.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions, usually warm water. You may need to rinse several times to remove all the residue.

7. Let the piece dry.

Press. Go back and add more yarn to fill in large gaps if necessary.

Add more yarn after rinsing and drying to fill in holes and to further embellish.


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