How To Make Curtains from Vintage Scarves
A vintage scarf from a flea market or yard sale can be a hard thing to pass up. So hard, in fact, that you might find yourself with quite the collection. If your scarf stash is getting a bit out of control, this could be the perfect project for you!
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Once you measure your windows and decide on the configuration of your scarves, the actual sewing goes by pretty quickly. Each of the windows in my house were the same width and length, so it was just a matter of determining if I wanted to make single panels to bunch together, or a larger scale “patchwork” piece.
This is a great project for beginners, or in my case, the “all I have to do is look at the machine and it breaks” type. If you can sew a semi-straight line, you can make a curtain out of scarves!
What You Need
- 8-10 vintage scarves of the same width (I used 4 scarves per panel and placed 2 panels at each window)
- Dressmaker pins
- Sewing machine with a size 8, 9, or 10 needle (use this chart for reference)
- Clip rings to hang scarves (optional)
Before you start sewing, take an inventory of your scarves. Lay out each scarf in piles according to size. From there you can start to piece together your panels.
1. To start your first panel, lay one scarf flat on the table, facing right side up. Lay the second scarf over top of the first, facing right side down. The correct sides of each scarf should now be facing one another. Pin the two scarves together along one edge and begin to sew that edge. Leave at least 1/8 seam allowance. I used a straight stitch and the scarves held together beautifully. Be sure to start and finish with a backstitch!
2. Remove the pins holding the scarves together and double check your stitches. Be sure you’ve actually sewn both scarves together—if you missed a spot just place the scarves back in the machine and add the stitches.
Don’t worry about wrinkles at this point unless they are keeping your scarf from laying flat. My sewing experts will probably recommend ironing everything before sewing, but this is a super-relaxed, easygoing project and I say don’t worry about those wrinkles until you actually hang the curtains —hit ’em with a steamer and they’re good to go!
3. Add an additional scarf to your panel by laying the last sewn scarf (on the end) right side up and placing a new scarf over top, right side down so that the two correct sides of the scarves are facing each other. Pin the outer edge, place in the machine and go for it! Continue this process until you’ve reached the length you desire your panel to be.
I wanted to keep my options open when deciding which windows to place the curtains in, so instead of sewing multiple panels together, I left them in single strands. If you would rather make one large patchwork curtain all you need to do is sew a bunch of long, single panels together down along the sides. Remember to sew along the backside of the curtains so that you won’t see the seam.
4. Hang your curtains with clip rings. Depending on the fabric, you might gather up a bit of each scarf so that the weight of the panel doesn’t cause the scarf to tear where it’s attached to the ring. You could also reinforce the fabric by adding a small piece of paper underneath the clips.
Hang your panels as you go to get a better idea of what you want your final product to be.
- When sewing your panels together, try to place similar fabrics next to one another. Be aware of placing a scarf with a heavier fabric under a delicate, lighter weight scarf as it will definitely pull at the seams and could damage the scarf.
- If you find your fabric is getting stuck down in the needle plate, cover the opening with a small piece of tape. This will allow just the needle to pass through and should keep your fabric safe.
- If your fabric starts to pucker, hold the front and back of the seam nice and taut as you feed it through the machine.
- You can add a layer of tissue paper to the bottom of your scarves as you pass them through your machine as a sort of temporary interfacing. It will easily detach from the material after you finish sewing.
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