Step 1: The Materials
- One yard square of a jersey knit or other light non-fraying fabric
- Sheer mesh cutaway or water-soluble stabilizer, depending on embroidery design
- Light-stitching embroidery design (try checking out this section at Urban Threads) I’m using the raven scissors for my crafty-themed scarf. Don't have an embroidery machine? Don't fret. You can do it by hand or just skip it.
- Bleach pen (like we used here) You’ll need more than one if you want to write on your whole scarf. One bleach pen will do about one half of a yard wide scarf.
- Rubber gloves
Step 2: Testing the bleach
After a minute or two, rinse off your bleach (use your gloves!) and check your results. Remember, it will be a lot brighter after your fabric has dried.
Step 3: Bleaching the fabric
You’re going to uncap your gel bleach pen and use it to write a pretty script on your scarf! This script can be anything and everything. I wrote a bunch of crafty phrases that will match the theme of my embroidery. You can also write a favorite poem, a love note, whatever you like!
I’d recommend a cursive font, as it’s much easier to write with the bleach. Don’t fret too much about perfect handwriting! The goal is just to create a beautiful pattern on the scarf. Also, don’t worry about going all the way to the edge, we’ll lose a few inches to the fringe.
Step 4: Removing the Bleach - Don't forget your gloves!
Now, if you don’t already have them on, put on your gloves! Dunk your scarf in water and rub the bleach with your gloves to remove the gel. The faster you rinse, the less likely you are to bleach other areas you don’t intend to.
Be SURE to do this in a ventilated area! Unlike our previous bleach pen tutorial, I used up the whole pen writing my letters, which is more bleach than you’d think. Working with good ventilation can protect your lungs from any harmful fumes. After you’ve rinsed it once, clear the sink and rinse it out again, making sure to remove all traces of bleach.
Step 5: Your new bleached fabric!
Step 6: The Embroidery
Hoop up some stabilizer with your fabric. For these designs, I chose a water soluble stabilizer so I can remove it after I’m done stitching and keep the scarf as soft as possible. This will only really work for extremely light designs like this one -- for anything more substantial, I'd recommend a sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer such as Floriani No Show Mesh or Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer.
Use the colors your fabric bleached to inspire you! I layered my designs in a couple of similar colors to bring some interest.
Step 7: Cutting the fringe
Step 8: Finishing the tied fringe
Step 9: The finished scarf!
Step 10: Rock your scarf
Write a personal message, or just repeat a favorite mantra or phrase. Write a friends favorite poem and stitch it with their favorite design for a totally chic handmade gift.
Your own handwriting lends a personal touch that no store bought scarf can ever bring, but it still looks like you grabbed it in a boutique. Rock your own handmade touch and know your crafty skills are all part of making you look chic.
Love this tutorial? Check out even more over in our tutorials section at Urban Threads. We make machine embroidery cool. We promise.