Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Focus On: Scarves

By Sherri from sewbettyanddot

The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
I've got my love to keep me warm.

I can't remember a worse December
Just watch those icicles form!
What do I care if icicles form?
I've got my love to keep me warm.

"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (Irving Berlin)

Even if you have love to keep you warm, you still might want to don a scarf. And even if you don't need to be warm, you might want to wear one as a fashion accessory!

As practical garments, scarves have their origin in ancient Rome, where they were often a cloth strip tied around the neck and used to wipe sweat or food from the face (ewww!). Originally worn by men, scarves were soon adopted by women--and they've been in fashion, in one form or another, ever since. Throughout history, scarves have had many purposes--as head coverings (for cleanliness, for instance, in a dusty climate, or for modesty); as indicators of rank (Chinese warriors could be identified by the color and material of their scarves), or, of course, to cover the neck and chest for warmth. In the twentieth century, iconic scarf wearers included Isadora Duncan, Audrey Hepburn [couldn't find a photo that I could use here, but we all know what Audrey looks like!], and Dr. Who.
Left: Isadora  Duncan; Right: Fourth Doctor (Dr. Who). Both images from Wikipedia
Of course, many scarves have very little practical purpose. Printed scarves tied around the neck or fastened with brooches reached their pinnacle as accessories in the 1960s and 1970s (think Vera's lovely prints, or the coveted Hermes scarf, for example).

Let's have a look at some vintage scarf patterns from the Pattern Patter team. In some cases, you could have that scarf built in to the dress itself...no chance of losing it! (This post is only looking at scarves worn around the neck, not headscarves.)  As always, please click on the images to enlarge them.

Top row, left to right: Advance 2995: Sandritocat;
Butterick 4680: PrettyPatternShop

Top row, left to right: McCall’s 6681: Denisecraft

Top row, left to right: Simplicity 5184: patternshop

If you were going to tie one on, which of these beauties would YOU choose? Tell us in the comments!


  1. So many lovely patterns! I think I'd pick the McCall’s 3865. :-)

    I adored the fourth Dr. Who! That scarf is unforgettable.

  2. Good call on the McCall's 3865 Deb, it was my favorite too. Great idea for the blog post as well. Scarves seem to be 'in' lately. Guess I can dig out all of my old ones. Also remember, you can make tops, skirts, shorts, all from old scarves!

  3. I'm a simple, casual girl so I would pick Simplicity 5184... I do love the McCall's 3865 though!
    Thanks for including one of mine!

  4. I think scarves are the best accessory anyone could wear. And so easy to make. These are all so fabulous. I don't think I have a favorite.

  5. I love scarves! Great post, thank you Sherri! I shared.

  6. I can't go without a scarf around my neck now that I have short hair! Love the article and the history!

  7. McCalls 6216 is cool, I like the button detailing

  8. Lovely scarves and the weather here has been perfect for them. Thank you for sharing. I think some of these ideas will be a perfect sewing project for my daughters!