Every year at about this time I start having crazy delusions of sewing
handmade gifts for all my friends and family. And then I look at the
calendar and count down the actual number of days I have to get all
these projects done-and I panic. Why didn't I start making things in
July? What was I thinking?
But then I get hold of myself, calm down, and make a realistic game plan. I
decide to focus my handmade gift list only to the people who will
appreciate it most like my crafty friends and my mom. Now I have a
realistic list of things to make! And then I start flipping through
books and magazines for project ideas, looking for things that are
stylish, easy, and quick to make.
One of my favorite books on my shelf is Fabricate
by Susan Wasinger. Susan has a fun modern aesthetic, which she presents
in this book full of innovative small projects. I've also had the
pleasure of showcasing Susan's designs in the first issue of Stitch magazine. Fabricate is full of cool project ideas featuring clever fabric manipulation-perfect for stylish gift making.
in point: here is a fabulous scarf project that is both chic to wear
and simple to make, so it definitely fits my gift-making criteria. What
makes it interesting is the crinkled pleating effect. You have probably
seen scarves like this in boutiques, but they are super easy to make
with a slightly iridescent silk or rayon, add a bit of folding,
twisting, and a nice long tumble in the dryer, and you have a
fashionable gift. (I bet you'll want to make one for yourself, too!) For
a nice-sized scarf, cut the fabric into a rectangle measuring about 18 x
54" (45.5 x 137 cm) before pleating (pleats should run the long way of
Crinkled Pleats Scarf
You will need:
- 100% silk or rayon
- matching sewing thread
- old panty hose
- rubber bands
To create the crinkled pleats:
Wet fabric thoroughly. Lay it out flat, with the right side up and take
hold of the top corners. Fold the fabric down about 1" (2.5 cm), then
fold this pleat back on itself in the opposite direction. It's just like
when you folded a paper fan in elementary school. Keep folding, forward
and backward until you have worked your way across the fabric. Use
clothespins to hold the pleats in place.
Now, team up with someone to hold one end of your fabric. Standing
opposite each other, twist the fabric in opposite directions as tightly
As the rope of fabric gets tighter and tighter, it will begin to twist
back on itself to create a two-ply twist. Keep twisting the now
doubled-in-half fabric until it is ready to twist back on itself again.
4) Continue twisting the fabric, as in Step 3, until your fabric is
totally twisted and resembles a hard little ball. Secure the fabric ball
with lots of rubber bands running in different directions.
Cut the leg from an old pair of panty hose and stuff the rubber-banded
ball into the toe. Knot it in place. Put it in the dryer with a few
towels and let it tumble until completely dry. This could take a long
time. If you grow weary of all this dryer time, let the bundle sit out
overnight, in a warm, dry place.
the fabric is happily crinkled, just hem the edges to finish. To make a
rolled hem, fold the edge in 1⁄8" (3 mm), then roll it over onto itself
so that the raw edge is encased inside and machine stitch. Hem all the
way around the piece.
With projects like this on my holiday gift sewing list, I'm starting to feel like I have it under control.
Here's to stress-free holiday sewing!