Ruffled Nuno Felted Silk Scarf

Ruffled Nuno Felted Silk Scarf

I personally like the feel of silk.  So, I decided to learn to make a silk ruffled edge on a scarf.  This was an experiment for the ruffle and using a few other techniques with different fabrics and yarns. While I’m not a pink person, I thought if this turned out well I’d give it as a gift or sell it.

Before starting, I decided to make the scarf two-sided. So, I had to use flipping boards which I marked off with two colors of tape.  Blue to show the outside lines of the ruffle and regular masking tape for the place to join the edge of the silk ruffle and the inside design area.

I used a piece of hand dyed pink chiffon.  The chiffon shrank a little with the dyeing process, so I allowed for some more during felting.  The piece measured 20 1/2′ by 86″ (52 cm x 218.44 cm) to start with before folding over 2″ (5.08 cm) on each side for the ruffle.  I used a ruler and iron as I went along .  To make sure the silk edge stayed down, I used fabric glue along the edge.  This dissolved during the felting.

2014-03-17 14.47.45

The flipping boards are from insulation board I bought from the local hardware store.  They were kind enough to cut it in half lengthwise for me.   I covered the edges in duct tape to protect them from water damage.

I carefully laid the silk open edge up following the lines on the board.  I put wisps of pink and white roving lengthwise along the ruffle edges careful to have a little over each side of the raw edge.  Because the wool will shrink lengthwise it gathers up the material on both sides creating the ruffle.  I used some pink mohair yarn in a design down the middle and left fringe hanging on both ends.  I covered the raw edges with wisps of wool.

I used some tencel in addition to random wisps of wool for ruching and two different yarns to decorate the first side.

pink scarf materialsWhen the first side was done, I very carefully rolled plastic wrap (out of the box) over the first side.  I cut it off with a scissors a little longer than the design.  Since the wrap as not as wide as the design, I had to overlap a second layer in the center to cover the width.  Rolling the wrap helps keep the design in place and creates less static than trying to pull a piece off and laying it over the design.  Using my hands, I gently pressed down along the design to remove any air bubbles.  You could also use a rolling pin or foam noodle.

I covered the plastic with bubble wrap bubbles down.  Then I placed the second board on top being careful not to disturb the design. I secured the boards with panty hose tied tightly in three places along the board. Then I carefully flipped the boards.  It’s best to do if you have help, but not necessary if you have enough room to do so without juggling it around. Any kind of ties would work as long as you can secure them tightly without disturbing the design.  I just had an abundance of old pantyhose.

2014-03-17 14.56.43My table is shorter than the boards, so I made sure the boards were centered over the table.  The last thing I wanted was for the scarf to go sliding to the floor.  After removing the ties,  I used a chop stick to gently lift it slightly to make sure the design hadn’t been disturbed and lifted up slowly. Any static can cause the silk, wool and decorations to shift.

On the second side, I used pieces of silk gauze and a sparkly open weave fabric (different shapes with wool under and along the edges) and a pin/gold mohair yarn along the center of the ruffle seam on each side leaving fringes on each end.  I covered the raw edges of the ends with wool and used some of the pink/gold yarn across.

SAMSUNGWhen I was satisfied with the design, I covered this side with netting and began wetting it down with room temperature soapy water (for me this usually turns cold quickly since I work in a cold basement.) For this project, I used a sprayer with a few drops of Dawn dish soap being careful not to over wet it.  Then I used a foam roller and rolled over the scarf to help disperse the water more evenly.  I checked for dry and overly wet spots. I used a sponge to pick up excess water and applied more water to dry areas.

Then I began rolling, starting at one end using a foam pool noodle cut to size.  I rolled for ten minutes, unwrapped and started the roll from the opposite end.  I did this several more times check to see how well the fibers were starting to felt on both sides and everything was evenly wet.  I started with light pressure and increased a little more with each roll. When I thought the fibers were starting to felt, I flipped it over, removed the plastic wrap and started again alternating the direction of the rolling and increasing pressure.

There were a few spots of the dark pink yarn in the center that weren’t sticking, so I re-wet those areas with soapier water and continued to roll.  Now, I would just run the soap bar over the netting and rub.

After I finished rolling, I used hot slightly soapy water to full on the glass bead board rubbing in all directions, but particularly lengthwise along the ruffle lines.  I flipped it over and repeated the process.  Then I took it to the sink and ran it under hot then cold water while scrunching it up and throwing the wet scarf in the sink.  (I can’t help myself, I love that part.)  I let it sit in a vinegar water bath for 15 minutes, then rinsed and laid it out on towels to dry.

ps length side two ps front

The next day I measured the scarf.  It was 9″ x 55″ (22.86 cm x 139.7 cm) without the fringe.  The shrinkage was approximately 36-38% in each direction.  There were a couple of spots that needed  attention so I needle felted them down.

ps side 2
Side 1
Side 2
Side 2

I learned several things with this project.  The more wool you use along the ruffle line, the more ruffles you’ll get.  The ruffle didn’t shrink much, so the next one I made used a narrower ruffle and more wool along the ruffle seam and I got a much better ruffle. I didn’t use that as an example because it was black and it would have been hard to see.  The pink was good to use for a first time because I could see where I had the design on the back side.  While I was satisfied with the ruffles and ruching, I wasn’t in love with the scarf.  But it was an excellent learning experience. I hope this process will help those of you who would like to try a ruffled silk scarf.






32 thoughts on “Ruffled Nuno Felted Silk Scarf

  1. The ruching where wool marries silk is beautiful and although pink may not be your colour, it’ll be beautiful with the right outfit.
    The chop stick and glue are really good tips!

    1. Thanks Lyn! The ruching was lovely. It’s what I had hoped to achieve. I’m glad you liked my tips.

  2. Thank you Marilyn for describing the procedure in so much detail and with pictures. I think your scarf turned out great, I can see no “mistakes”. perhaps you don’t like the colour but I would love to wear it and I’m sure it will find the end user.
    Just one question: did you place wool inside the fold where the ruffles were supposed to be or on the top?

    1. Sorry Nada I hit the post button by accident. To answer your question, I just placed the wool in top of the seam line on both sides of the scarf, but not under the ruffle itself. I hope that makes sense. The scarf does look nice with black.

  3. Marilyn, This is really work and your scarf came out very nice. I think I would like to try this, but I’m not 100% clear on some of the startup sections. Let me review it a few more times and come back to you if I still can’t get it. thanks again for sharing such a detailed summary of the process.

    1. Thanks Josie! I’d be happy to walk you through it. Just let me know which parts aren’t clear. I was trying not to write a book. 🙂

  4. Although I am not a pink ruffle girl, I do like how your scarf turned out! It’s elegant and the ruching looks terrific! However, I am also a bit stumped by the process. Did you end up with a doubled fabric ruffle? In other words, when you glued the silk chiffon piece, aren’t you ending up with two pieces of fabric for the ruffled part only? If that’s the case, was it difficult to get all of the cut edges of pink chiffon covered (and hidden) by the wool?

    1. Thanks Cathy! Yes, you’re right. The ruffle is double fabric. Otherwise, you’d have a raw edge of silk on the outside. Which I suppose could be a new look. When you work on the side up with the raw edge, it isn’t hard to see where to lay the wool to cover the edge and a little overlap. The picture with the glue stick I had the fabric folded over to put the glue on, but then laid it back down. Perhaps the picture made it a bit confusing.

  5. Great scarf Marilyn – I have made a similar scarf but I didn’t use the glue stick. Good idea. I did put wool in between the layers of the ruffle and the outside so I had a lot of wool on my “ruffle line”. I like your design and I’m someone will just love it.

    1. Thanks Ruth! The glue does make it a lot easier. The yarn I laid over the seam also helped the ruching. After felting, it looks like a zigzag stitch in gold.

  6. Thanks, Marilyn, and now I get it! Not your photo’s fault at all! I will try your version once I get back to nuno-felting. Looks challenging!

    1. I will probably get back to Nuno after Fiona’s class. It does take time and planning. Although I think I’ve learned so many good new techniques here I may do it differently next time. I want to try making art scarves with a lot of different fabrics and add ins.

    1. Thanks Zara! You are welcome. I was happy to share what I’ve learned.

  7. Pink is my favorite color and I love ruffles – anything soft and feminine so you can just imagine that I am head over heels in love with your design! Will try the ruffling technique soon.

    1. I’m glad you’re loving the scarf Shadyrr! Thanks! Please share your ruffle adventure with us on the forum!

    1. Thanks Ann! I’m glad you like the glue idea. I’m sure I’ll find a nice home for The scarf.

  8. Excellent Marilyn, thanks for sharing! I hope I have time someday to try this, I want to experiment with ruffles. I was thinking you could flip it easier if you lay it out on plastic wrap, wet the first side, lay clear plastic wrap on top, flatten it with your hands then flip. I’ve done it with a cobweb scarf and it sealed like a packet and I could lift the whole thing. Would wetting a nuno scarf be different? .

    1. You are right Mary, wetting it would help in flipping it and not disturbing the design. That’s what is great about these postings. We all share and can learn from each other. Thanks for giving us your idea.

  9. Thanks Mary! Great ideas! I did lay the first side out with plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap on the second side is definitely a good idea. I’m just not sure it would be easy flipping an 86″ long scarf without disturbing the design. At least for me. 😉 But it’s worth a try. Please post your results when you try it. I look forward to seeing it!

    1. well you’d have to make sure and wet it first, then seal, the flip….I’ll let you know if I ever try it with nuno felting…I need more practice with that! But I love your scarf!

    2. I have done it this way and wetting it down and sealing it in plastic keeps the design stable. You can even roll it up partway to take part of the difficulty of flipping it over.

  10. That turned out great, Marilyn 🙂 the ruffles and texture are really nice. It’s funny, like Cathy, I’m not a pink or ruffley person, but when something looks so good it’s very easy to admire and like.

    1. Thanks Zed! You know me I’m always looking for those textures and I love to experiment. 🙂

    2. Thanks for compliment and the hugs, Judy! I’m having fun.

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you! A great tutorial and exactly what I was looking for … and looking for … and looking for. So glad I found you in the end! 🙂 I love the scarf and I’m not a pink person either!

    1. Thanks pollyannapenguin! I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful. Visit our forum at we had a nice discussion about alternative methods to the flipping boards. Be sure to post your results when you have a chance to try it. Good luck!

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