Stylish Holiday Gift Sewing

This simple crinkled scarf from Fabricate is an easy yet sophisticated holiday gift project.

Every year at about this time I start having crazy delusions of sewing 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.

Case 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 yourself!

Start 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 the fabric).



Step 1: Start by accordian folding your fabric.

Step 2: Twist as tight as possible.

Step 3: Keep twisting!

Step 4: Secure with rubber bands.

Step 5: Place in panty hose and dry.

Crinkled Pleats Scarf

You will need:

– 100% silk or rayon
– matching sewing thread
– clothespins
– old panty hose
– rubber bands
– dryer

To create the crinkled pleats:

1) 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.  

2) 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 possible.

3) 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.

5) 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.

Once 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!



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