How to sew a Silk Scarf with neat edges

Silk Scarf

Silk is a beautiful fabric, and when it is soft and drapey, it is the perfect fabric for sewing scarves. Here is a tutorial that lists all the silk fabrics suitable for making scarves and different ways to finish your silk scarf.

Actually, when you think about it, what is so much to write about sewing a silk scarf – it is just a square or rectangular fabric piece.

What makes the difference are the type of silks used, the patterns and prints on it, its color, and then, most importantly, how the edges are finished. 

Best fabrics for making silk scarves

The advantage of a silk scarf is that it is incredibly soft, drapey and beautiful.  But not all silks are soft and drapey. You need a fabric with a smooth, soft hand and drape nicely around your neck and also be long lasting enough.

Crepe de Chine is a very popular material for making silk scarves. Silk chiffon is another favourite. 

If you like the shiny look, satin-silk is an option. Silk Charmeuse has a lustrous sheen which is quite attractive. But if you do not care about the sheen and you want a fabric with more drape, (silk charmeuse is a little heavy) you can choose a silk chiffon.

If you are looking for a winter-ready scarf, but still with a good drape, you can get wool-silk blends.

There may be many weights to a particular type of silk fabric – you will have to choose this according to your personal preference.

The other difference will be in their weaves – Usually silk scarf fabrics will be of either satin weave or twill weave. Twill woven silk will be stronger but has a dull finish. Satin weave silk will be shiny but less strong. 

Real pure silk is expensive, so you have to be careful that you are getting the real one when you are spending the money for it. Check out this post to know the quality guidelines to look for in pure silk.  

Finishing the edges of the silk scarf

You might get confused by the many options of finishing the edges of your scarf – But for a silk scarf there are clear favourites – this tutorial is about these techniques.  

Hand rolling the edges of your silk scarf

If you are patient enough, you can hand stitch the edge – the advantage of a hand-stitched edge is that the stitch can be almost invisible on the front of the scarf if you are careful enough.

Use a matching colour for the thread – it should blend into the fabric.

To hand stitch, first fold the edge 1/8 inch twice to the inside; then bury the thread knot at the end of your needle inside the folded edge.

take a small stitch from the main fabirc

Take a stitch on the main fabric – with just 1 thread or two on the needle.

Now go back to the fold and take a small stitch.

Then go down to the main fabric and take one more thread. Continue this way till you have completed the whole 4 sides.

You can sew a small scalloped edge – this is very pretty, though not as strong as the earlier one.

To make this edge finish, fold the edge to the inside twice.

how to stitch a shell stitch

Insert the needle through the fold. The knot will be hidden under the fold now .

shell edge

Make a straight overcast stitch. Go over the edge enclosing the edge with the thread.  

Then bring the needle to the fold of the fabric and do a slip stitch (till the mark you have made, if have made them).

shell edge

Make an over cast stitch again and repeat the above steps. 

shell edge for shawls

After you have made each edge stitch, pull the threads tight – this will automatically form the scallops. 

Machine stitching the edges of your silk scarf

For thin lightweight fabrics, the usual edge finishing recommended is a rolled edge.

edge finished with a rolled edge

But there is a very conspicuous disadvantage to it. It is not so suitable for a silk scarf. You are looking for a drapey scarf, which is why you chose silk.

But when you use a rolled edge, it can create a stiff edge if done properly – that is, sturdy enough so that it would not unravel in the wash. So here is the paradox – if it is made nicely, it will not be soft and drapey and if it looks good, it will not be strong enough

But if you like this easy edge stitching you can check out this post on using a rolled hem foot to sew this type of hem.

Basically it is all about using the hemmer foot to fold the fabric edge and stitch it in one go.

using a hemmer foot to sew the edge of the silk scarf

So if you do not want this edge, what is the alternative?

A thin edge finishing can save your day – this involves two layers of stitching which still makes the edge soft and as two stitching is involved the hem is strong.

fold the fabric edge to the back 1/4 inches and sew along the fold

First fold the edge 1/4 inch to the inside and sew (edge stitch) along the folded edge. ie sew very close to the folded edge.

snip and trim the extra seam allowance

Using small scissors, cut off the extra seam allowance.

fold the edge again to the back and stitch in place

After the trimming is done, fold the fabric edge once again and sew the edge in place. Do not over fold. Just enough to cover the first fold.

Embellish your scarf

There are many ways to embellish your silk scarf – any of the method described in this post  – 50+ ways to embellish fabric – can be used.

If you are thinking of dyeing your silk scarf do not forget to prewash it to remove all finishing.

Related posts : Different types of silk fabrics; How to hem by hand

Updated on June 26, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

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3 thoughts on “How to sew a Silk Scarf with neat edges”

  1. This is very helpful! I’ve been struggling with the tiny hems for both silky scarf material and some cloth napkins I want to make. Your thin edge finish was very clear & I see my mistake now. Thank you!

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