I'll be getting my hair braided prior to going out to Burning Man, and a friend suggested that I stock up on bandannas etc to keep my "halo" of breakage under control. Plus, you can do so much with them. I think that's a great idea, but I want to take it a step further. I love beautiful textiles, and have a small stash of silk sari scraps and embroidered ribbons. Time to put them together!
This tutorial will make two triangle-shaped kerchiefs approximately 27" long on the two equal sides. The kerchiefs have three layers: the pieced sari silks on top of thin cotton toweling, and then another layer of woven cotton calico to be worn next to the scalp. This will make the wraps a bit heavier and stiffer than a bandanna, but having the additional layer of calico helps wick moisture away from the scalp and keeps the seams of the piecing away from your scalp as well.
Do NOT wash these kerchiefs in the washing machine; hand wash cold with delicate soap, rinse well, line dry.
Skills required: measuring, cutting, pinning, pressing, machine sewing
Skill level: EASY
Step 1: What You Will Need
***These measurements are for TWO kerchiefs
1 yard woven cotton calico for lining
1, 28"x28" woven cotton "flour sack" type towel as patchwork base
Approximately 1 yard total of silk sari scraps for piecing
Assorted ribbons, varying lengths
A note on choosing fabrics:
I buy my "flour sack" towels at Walmart in the homegoods department; they come 4 or 5 to a pack for $5. If you don't use those, you may use an additional yard of cotton woven fabric (muslin) as your patchwork base. As for sari scraps, some come pre-decorated with beads or sequins. I avoid those as the decorations are never sewn down well and are likely to shed all over the place anyway.
Step 2: Pre-piecing Fabric Care
Wash and dry both the calico lining fabric and the flour sack towel. Iron smooth once dry.
Gently press your sari scraps (and ribbons, if creased) with the iron as well.
Step 3: Prepare the Patchwork Base
Fold the flour sack towel in half on the diagonal and smooth out the hypotenuse edge, then iron a crease in it (view A).
Cut the flour sack on the hypotenuse crease (view B).
Each triangle will form the patchwork base for one kerchief. From this step forward, I will give instructions for one kerchief only. Please repeat each step from 4 on to complete the second kerchief.
Step 4: Placing and Pinning Your Patchwork
This is the really fun step: determining the placement of your sari scraps.
Lay out one flour sack triangle on a large, flat surface (view A). Place your sari scraps on top of the triangle, overlapping edges about 3/8"-1/2" on each side (view B). Pin in place (view C).
Move your patchwork triangle over to the ironing board. Now, with the iron on LOW, gently press raw edges under each scrap, overlapping folded edges slightly (view D). Repin pieces along folded edges as necessary (view E).
Note: you do NOT have to press under the edges of the silks along the outer edges of the triangle. Take a look at the rest of the steps and you'll see why.
Step 5: Stitching Down Your Patchwork
Once all the raw edges have been pressed and pinned down, start sewing the silk scraps down to the toweling. Using a zigzag stitch, work your way from the center out to the edges (view A). After sewing all the "internal" seams, switch to a straight stitch and sew the silk down to the outside edges of the patchwork base, as close to the edges as possible (view B); it's helpful to flip the piece over and stitch from the toweling side on top. Trim outside edges of triangle evenly without cutting seams (view C).
Step 6: Placing and Stitching Down Your Ribbon
Move your patchwork triangle over to a flat surface again and lay out ribbons in whatever design seems most pleasing to you. Pin them down (view A), then sew them down to the patchwork, making sure to secure both edges of the ribbons (view B).
Step 7: Cutting and Sewing the Cotton Lining
If using the same lining fabric for both kerchiefs, you can either measure and cut a 28"x28" square which you then reduce to two equal triangles, or you can cut each lining piece separately. I chose the former method (view A). Again, cut the triangle on its hypotenuse (bias) (view B).
Pin the right side of one calico triangle to the right side of your patchwork triangle, matching edges and corners (view C). Using a straight stitch and a 1/2" seam allowance, carefully sew the calico and patchwork together along the two equal sides. Trim the equal edges close to the seam without cutting through the threads (view D).
Step 8: Finishing the Kerchief
Take your kerchief and turn it right sides out; press, starting with the silk side up on LOW (view A). Turn the right sides of the long, unfinished side towards each other, turning under about 1/2" and press (view B), then pin (view C). Using a straight stitch, sew around the entire triangle as close to the edge as possible, starting with the long edge (view D). Clip any loose threads and you're done!