Fun fiber scarves

Yarn lace made on water soluble stabilizer
Yarn lace made on a water soluble stabilizer. Photo courtesy of Sulky.

If you love fabric, chances are you love fibers of all kinds: threads, novelty yarns, ribbons, trims, cords, etc. Assuming that's the case and you might have some of these things in your stash, make your own. Scarves are a fun way to showcase a mix of these fun fibers.

Here's what you need:

  • Two pieces of water-soluble stabilizer in the desired length and width for your finished scarf. The fringe may extend beyond the length of the stabilizer. Self-adhesive types make the process easier.
  • Assorted threads, threads, ribbons, serger chains and/or fabric scraps to fill the stabilizer size. The pattern can be random or planned, dense or sparse, depending on the desired finished look.
  • Sewing thread. Many options: embroidery thread, all-purpose thread, metallic thread, decorative thread, etc. ; solid or variegated color.
  • Temporary spray adhesive if your stabilizer is not adhesive.

About the stabilizer

Water-soluble stabilizer comes in many styles and weights: some are clear and film-like (think plastic kitchen wrap), others are more paper-like. For this project, clear or slightly opaque stabilizers provide better visibility than denser ones. Unless you plan on dense stitching, lighter ones work well.

  • Some stabilizers are self-adhesive, meaning you can remove a paper backing to expose the sticky side.
  • To make any water-soluble stabilizer sticky, use an all-over temporary spray adhesive.
  • The water-soluble stabilizer was about 20 inches wide, depending on the brand and packaging. For this project, this width is more than generous. Some water-soluble stabilizers are actually marketed as embroidery toppers, but they will work just fine for this project.
Threads and threads on water-soluble stabilizer.  Photos courtesy of Sulky.
Threads and threads on water-soluble stabilizer. Photos courtesy of Sulky.

Design Notes

Fabric strip add-ons fray less if cut on the bias. But if you like a frayed look, cut them along the straight grain. You can even fringe them before securing them.

  • There is no need for ribbons, borders and thread: you can simply create a scarf by sewing over all the interfacing. If you choose this technique, use a single coat of heavier stabilizer.
  • You can use several types and colors of thread to sew your scarf.
  • Want a little more texture in your scarf? Incorporate wool yarn: it can shrink when you rinse the stabilizer and create a most interesting surface texture.

Wires and threads arranged on a water-soluble stabilizer.

Carry out the project

  1. Pink scarf made with artistic fiberLay out a length of stabilizer on a large table. Remember that the interfacing should be the desired length for the finished scarf, excluding fringe. If your stabilizer is self-adhesive, place this side up.
  2. If your stabilizer is not self-adhesive, spray the exposed surface with a temporary spray adhesive. It's a good idea to cover your work surface with paper before layout, to protect against excessive spatter.
  3. Cut wires, threads, etc. to the length of the finished scarf and position them on the interfacing in a pleasing pattern. To maintain the shape of the scarf, use a sturdy ribbon or border along the outer edges. The pattern can be free-form and the strands can overlap, twist, etc. or they can be placed parallel to each other, or in a grid pattern depending on the desired appearance. You can also add pieces of fabric, sequins or beads. {photo of arranged wires}
  4. If you want the ends of the scarf to be fringed, extend the length of the strands beyond the length of the stabilizer the desired distance at both ends.
  5. Spray the remaining length of the stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive (if it is not self-adhesive) and place this piece face down on your laid out fibers. Finger press the layers together to wrap all the wires.
  6. Sew the layers together. For better stability of the finished scarf, sew every ¼” or so. Stitching lines can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal and combinations of these, created either by free motion or using the presser foot. Just make sure you catch all the wires in at least one direction. If you added beads or sequins, carefully sew near or over them to avoid breaking a needle.
  7. Sew continuous lines of stitches, without breaking the thread at the ends of the scarf. This technique is much faster and requires fewer pieces of wire to process. You can secure all the decorations and continue until you have finished covering the entire surface with yarn.
  8. Once you are satisfied with the appearance of the sling, rinse the stabilizers thoroughly following the manufacturer's instructions. More than one rinse may be necessary.
  9. Lay the scarf flat on a towel to dry. Trim and tie the bangs if necessary.

~Linda Griepentrog is the owner of G Wiz Creative Services and she writes, edits, and designs for businesses in the sewing, crafting, and quilting industries. Additionally, she accompanies fabric shopping tours in Hong Kong. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Keith and three dogs, Yohnuh, Abby and Lizzie. Contact her at .

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