Yes - Chenille Scarf From Pieced Rayon Strips

Yes - Chenille Scarf From Pieced Rayon Strips

Customer Question:  Can I use rayon remnant strips to make a chenille scarf?

The answer is a resounding Yes.



I have to say that I have often thought that sewing leftover rayon strips together to create the fabric for a chenille scarf has been on my mind. I never found the time to make this version of the chenille scarf. When a customer asked if this was possible I realized it was time to answer this question.


The Process: 

I'm going to step through the process I followed to create our pieced chenille scarf. For additional steps watch our YouTube Video Let's Make a Chenille Scarf with SewBatik. This video also contains the measurements, etc. for the chenille scarf.

ONE:  Fabric

This is a test. I found old rayon samples that we never put into production. I selected three fabrics that would look good together, but had high contrast in color.

I want to see the color change in the finished scarf. If we use all the same shades of rayon we won't be able to see our test. I believe any rayon shades pulled together will be amazing.

Fabric Selection for Pieced Chenille Scarf

TWO:  Sew the Fabric

The sample fabric measures 20" by full width of fabric. Our batik rayon is 45" wide. I tore each of the three fabrics into two (2) 10" wide strips.

I sewed the long edges together in a simple rotation (image above) with a 1/4" - 3/8" seam. The stitch width that I used is tight (2.0).

Sewn seams of the pieced chenille scarf fabric

THREE:  Trim Seams

I trimmed the seams down to 1/8".  Press the seams flat - in all one direction. I pressed my seams to the right. Avoid pressing your seams open - it matters.
Here's why...   I felt that the height of the seam needs to match the height of the chenille.
What does that mean?  We sew 3/8" channels on our chenille scarf. The chenille cutter glides along inside these channels cutting through the top three layers of fabric. The measurement of the remaining cut fabric is about 1/8". I want the seams to look exactly like the chenille making the fabric color change visible, not the actual seam itself.
trim the seam to 1/8"


FOUR:  Fold Fabric and Cut Strips

I folded the fabric just like we would if we were using one piece of batik rayon. Create the 45 degree bias angle and cut the fabric into the strips using the strip width outlined in the chenille pattern.

Cut fabric strips from pieced rayon

FIVE:  Stack the Strips Into 7 Layers, Sew, Chenille

Follow the chenille scarf pattern to stack 7 layers of fabric the full width of the longest bias cut.
Mark a center line from one short edge to the other. Sew through all layers following the center line. Continue sewing all the channels 3/8" apart from one another. 
Use your chenille cutter (we recommend Olfa or Havel Chenille Cutters) to chenille the bottom and bottom 3 layers along the entire scarf.
Watch our YouTube video for additional steps.
Lessons Learned/Things to Remember: 
Pressed Seams Matter:  The center layer is the longest layer. One of the sides will be smooth (right side) and the other side will have seams (wrong side). Make sure the seams are pressed flat and facing the same direction. This is SO important. The chenille cutter must glide smoothly through the channel to cut the fabric. If the seams are not flat and in one direction you will continuously be stopping to lift/move/adjust the cutter to move it past the seam.

Stacking Layers Matter:  Once you've positioned the center (longest) layer on your work surface, start stacking the first of three layers on the center layer. Make sure the seams are facing up. If the seams are not facing up the chenille cutter will not move smoothly through the channels. It will be very difficult and aggravating to finish this project.


Chenille the sewn channels

 SIX:  Trim Excess Fabric, Wash, Dry

The scarf is now ready to cleanup, wash and dry.

First, use a ruler as your guide to cut away the excess uneven fabric from the long sides of the scarf. Leave about 1/8" on each edge.

Trim the excess fabric from the two short ends - cutting at an angle. You can do anything you wish here, but I like a nice angle. Using a scissors, cut in from the short edge about 3" to create fun tassels. Again, this is your preference.

Give your scarf a good shake over your garbage can. Wash your scarf in the sink, wring it out with an old towel and put them both in the dryer. The scarf is thick and will take a while to dry. The dryer is needed to give the scarf that furry soft chenille look.

Ready to wash

Now, look at this scarf. See the seams between the yellow and red fabric? These will be completely unnoticeable after the scarf is dry. With one exception.

The seam is visible because of the color change between the yellow and red fabric. Look at the image below of the finished scarf. What you can't see easily on the picture is a little bit of fraying along the seam line. This needs to be trimmed a bit. The seam line frays because it is the only edge on the fabric that is straight (not bias). Any straight portion of the rayon will fray more than that cut on the bias. This is why these scarves MUST be cut on the bias. The threads will fall out if it is sewn on straight of grain.

Finished pieced chenille scarf

What I will change on the next pieced chenille scarf I make:

The center layer is perfect. As long as the seams are pressed all in the same direction (right or left, NOT open).

The first layer on both sides must have the open seam facing up (away from the center layer).

The second layer doesn't matter. The chenille cutter only cuts through this layer it never touches it.

The third and top layer should have the seam opening inside or face down. This will keep the fraying along the straight grain inside the scarf.

That's It... 

How fun was this to sew and learn!  I hope you enjoy using up all your scraps of rayon by sewing them together to create your own pieced chenille scarf.

Purchase our Batik Rayon Remnant Packs to create two pieced chenille scarves for yourself or as gifts.

If you'd rather get started with a Chenille Scarf pattern + 1 1/2 of Batik Rayon - purchase our Chenille Scarf Kit.

Watch our original Let's Make A Chenille Scarf YouTube tutorial. And then, watch our Pieced Chenille Scarf YouTube tutorial for additional comments and techniques beyond what we've written here.


Watch our YouTube Video on Pieced Chenille Scarves

* ~ * ~ *

Keep Sewing, Smiling, and Sharing

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.