Friday, August 7, 2009

Scarfing Around

Scarf Types and Tie Tricks

I thought I wasn't a scarfy person. The truth was that I had 2 gripes.

Gripe No. 1) I couldn't figure out how to tie a scarf so it would sit right.

Gripe No. 2) No matter what scarf I wore, it got in the way. If it was a cosy outdoor scarf, it got blown about by the wind, or hung untidily out the bottom of my coat while my neck remained chilled. If it was a chiffon scarf, it draped in the sink or wrapped around the vacuum cleaner pole.

I even tried tucking those in-the-way ends between my shirt buttons...

I love wearing scarves now. I'll tell you what changed that.

I learned that a certain way of tying a scarf only works if you've got a scarf in a certain fabric and shape.

Answer: Learn what works for which scarf and it will sit right. Additional to that, you need to know what style looks right on your figure.

I love the look of a scarf flung over one shoulder.

Most people who wear this style fix it with a brooch or scarf clip. I found a reasonably priced scarf clip in a pharmacy's jewellery section and tried it. The clip fell off the fabric. That is, if the fabric hadn't already fallen off my shoulder. Following the directions in the scarf-tying book I found at a book sale didn't solve the problem either.

I discovered that my shoulders are sloped. Handbag handles can't stay on my shoulders, let alone a scarf. I had to settle for looking at that style on others rather than wearing it myself.

What styles do work for me?

An oblong chiffon scarf (38.5cm x 156cm), folded lengthwise twice, works well tied with either an overhand knot (hold both ends together, loop them over the back of your hand, pass ends through the loop) or a granny knot (right over left, right over left, or left over right, left over right). The rose chiffon is tied with a granny knot.

I have wide shoulders and a short torso. This style focuses the eye in a vertical manner, camouflaging shoulder width and emphasizing torso length.

If I'm eating or working around the house, I flip the scarf around so the tails hang down my back until my task is completed.

The metallic polyester weave of the aqua striped scarf in the above illustrations is heavier than chiffon, thus bulkier, and doesn't drape in the same manner as chiffon. It's stretchy, and readily creases and unravels. I chose it because the colour is universal -- it suits everyone and pretty much goes with anything. I love how bright colours like this cheer up dull wintry days.

The fabric was on special at $2/m and unusually wide at 170cm. Using the selvedges* as my scarf ends, I cut 4 scarves out of 1 meter of fabric and plan to sell at least one of them. I don't have a sewing machine that handles overlocking or zigzag on delicate fabrics. I used a triple straight stitch that's got some stretch in it, and am waiting to see how durable the internal seams will be.

To sew, fold the scarf in half, right sides together, machine stitch all but a two-inch gap at one end, then turned the scarf right side out. Handstitch the gap closed, using ladder stitch (that marvellous invisible stitch, see tutorial below). Press.

*The selvedge, also spelled selvage, is the self-finished edge of the fabric, woven so it won't fray.
Here's an excellent tutorial for Ladder Stitch:

I tied the aqua scarf in two ways (see above and below), both times using an overhand knot. Can you tell the difference? Which seems the most attractive to you?

If you tie a knot level with your bosom, your bosom will look larger. If you tie the knot below the level of your bosom, the deep V will draw the eye vertically, making your bosom appear smaller and less noticable.

Remember to choose a fabric and style that work for your figure. Then have fun!

More scarf styles and tie tricks coming soon, including The Winter Scarf.

Saturday note: I seemed to be directionally challenged this week. Both references to "horizontally" have been changed to "vertically". Please pardon the confusion!

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