My one year old daughter and I recently went to Bethesda, Maryland to visit my in-laws. It was so nice seeing Lupe play with her extended family, but if I’m being honest, the best part of the trip for me was that I got to go to the movies by myself! While grandma and grandpa watched Lupe, I made my way in the sweltering heat to the movie theater down the street. I was giddy with excitement as I ordered my popcorn and milk duds. Then as I sat down, I realized I had made a grave miscalculation. I was freezing! It may have been July 4th weekend outside, but inside the theater it felt more like Christmas!
When I got home I whipped up this breezy Smocked Summer Scarf. It’s so lightweight you can easily slip it into your purse, ready for all of summer’s over air-conditioned moments. I made my scarf with whisper-light Veronica Voile and accented it with lines of elastic smocking to add unexpected texture and detail. It’s a snap to sew and a perfect introduction to the elastic smocking technique.
With fabric as special as this I had a hard time picking just one color… so I ended up making three! To make your favorite pick up our Materials for Smocked Summer Scarf kit here. It’s so delicate, airy and pretty, I bet you’ll even wear it outside the movie theater!
To make one scarf you’ll need a Materials for Smocked Summer Scarf kit containing…
- 1 yard of Robert Kaufman’s Veronica Voile in Grey, Pansy or Peacock (Please Note: We no longer carry Veronica Voile or the Smocked Summer Scarf Kits. To view our full fabric collection, click here!)
- 1 small spool of 100% cotton thread in color 1040
- 2 spools of elastic thread in white
Finished Measurements: 25 inches wide by 69 ½ inches long.
Cutting and Piecing Together
Press the fabric in half so that the selvages meet one another. Cut the fabric in half along this pressed fold so that you now have two pieces 36 inches by 28 inches.
Cut off 1 inch from the selvage edge of both pieces, removing the selvages. The pieces will now be 36 inches by 27 inches.
Pin the two pieces wrong sides together along a 27-inch side.
Using the cotton thread, sew this pinned side together with a ¼-inch seam allowance.
Press the fabric in half along the newly sewn seam, right sides together.
Pin the two sides together along the fold and sew it down with a ½-inch seam allowance. This will encase the raw edges of the seam, creating a French seam.
With the wrong side facing up, press the two sides open and pin the French seam flat to one side.
Edgestitch the pressed seam down.
The scarf will now be 70 ½ inches long by 27 inches wide.
To hem the ends of the scarf press each 27-inch edge ½ inch towards the wrong side twice and edgestitch down these folds.
The scarf will now be 68 ½ inches long by 27 inches wide.
This scarf has six sections of smocking, three at each end. You will mark these sections by pressing creases along the width of the scarf.
First, press a crease horizontally along the width of the scarf 8 inches from a hemmed edge. Then press another crease 9 inches above the first one and a third 9 inches above that.
Repeat these creases for the second side. The scarf will now have 6 creases.
Elastic smocking is created by using elastic thread in the bobbin and regular thread in the top of the machine. To begin, wind the bobbin with the elastic thread. With my machine, winding the elastic thread on the machine works best, but many people have more success hand winding the bobbin while keeping some tension on the elastic. If you’ve never done elastic smocking before, you might want to do a test beforehand.
You will start the elastic smocking on the first crease at one end of the scarf. Load the elastic thread in the bobbin and the cotton thread in the top of the machine. Arrange the scarf so that the right side is facing up, the closest hemmed edge is to the right of the needle and the bulk of the scarf is to the left. Sew along the first crease as usual, making sure that the fabric is gathering as you sew.
When you get to a hair short of the edge, leave the needle down, lift up the foot and pivot the fabric around 180 degrees. Line up the previous row of smocked stitches to the left side of the presser foot. Lower the presser foot and sew back along the width of the scarf, keeping the previous row of stitches along the left side of the foot as a guide. Pull the previous row of smocked stitches flat before you feed the fabric under the needle.
When you get to the end of that row, again leave the needle down, lift up the foot and pivot the fabric around 180 degrees. Line up the previous row of smocked stitches to the right side of the presser foot. Lower the presser foot and sew back along the width of the scarf, keeping the previous row of stitches along the right side of the foot as a guide. Pull the previous row of smocked stitches flat before you feed the fabric under the needle.
Repeat this process until you have 5 lines of smocked stitches. These rows should start at the first crease and move towards the center of the scarf. These 5 rows are the first Smocked Section.
Create a Smocked Section at each crease on the first side.
Then flip the scarf around and create Smocked Sections at the three creases on the opposite side of the scarf. Remember that you will always start the first row at the crease and then add successive rows working towards the center of the scarf.
Hemming the Sides
Trim off any excess threads.
Press one of the long raw sides ½ inch twice towards the wrong side of the scarf and pin the fold into place. At the edges of the Smocked Sections your folds will probably be more like ¼ inch. That’s okay, just let these sections fold where they want to in relation to the ½ inch folds. Edgestitch this fold down.
Repeat for the second raw side and you’re all done!