Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee
« Whit's Knits: Toddler Overalls | Main | Molly's Sketchbook: The Twenty Minute Tote »

Molly's Sketchbook: Luxury Liberty Scarves

These Liberty of London, Tana Lawn scarves were inspired by a beautiful scarf Purl Soho's manager Nikki made for her mother. As you probably already know our love for Liberty is boundless! One of the most common things we hear from customers when they feel it is, "Is this silk?". They simply can't believe it's 100% cotton (but it is!) It has such a smooth feel and beautiful drape. It also comes in the most inspiring and incredible prints and I thought a large square scarf would be just the thing to show it off.  (By the way, if you love it as much as we do you'll be very pleased to learn that we were recently able to lower our price on this gorgeous fabric a bit since we are now getting it directly from Liberty in London!)

I chose two complimentary prints for each scarf and finished them with a simple double fold binding. It didn't take very long and the results are spectacular! I can't wait to pull one out of my bag next time I feel a chill. --Molly


Materials and Cutting


To make one 36-inch square scarf you will need:

Cut the scarf panel fabric into a 36-inch square.

Cut three 2-inch strips from selvage to selvage from the binding fabric and then cut off the selvages. You will have three 2-inch by (roughly) 52-inch strips.

Sewing the Binding Strips

Pin one binding strip to another, right sides together at a 90-degree angle as shown above so there is a square shape where they overlap. Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner of this square to the bottom right corner and sew the strips together along this marked line. Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Trim this seam to a 1/4-inch by cutting off the corner of the right angle as shown above.

Pull the right angle apart and your binding should lay flat. Press the seam allowances to one side and press the binding strip flat.

Repeat these steps to attach the third binding strip.

Once all three binding strips are sewn together and pressed flat press the resulting long strip in half length-wise with it's right side facing out.

Attaching the Binding

Place the scarf panel with its right side facing up and starting at the middle of one of its sides pin the raw edges of the folded binding strip to the scarf panel edge as shown above. Both raw edges will be pinned to the scarf panel's raw edge and the fold of the binding strip will face toward the center of the scarf. Leave a 3-inch tail at the beginning of the binding strip.

When you get to a corner fold the binding strip away from the scarf panel at a 90-degree. This creates a little triangle shape as shown above.

Then double back, leaving the little triangle of excess formed by the previous step, and continue pinning the raw edges together along the next side.

The picture above shows the "triangle of excess" that will help to form your mitered corner later.

Pin the binding around the entire scarf panel in this manner until you get back to the first side. Stop pinning 3-inches before you started leaving a 3-inch unpinned gap. Do not cut the binding strip.  Instead leave a tail at the end as shown above.

Sew the binding on to the scarf panel with a 1/4-inch seam allowance starting and stopping your seams 1/4-inch from each corner. Do not sew into your corner triangle of excess. Back stitch at the beginning and end of each seam. Leave the 3-inch gap unsewn.

Once you've sewn all of the pinned binding, lay the tails down along the gap's edge and mark where they meet in the middle of the gap.

Pin them together close to this marking, pulling them away from the scarf panel as shown above. Be careful not to twist them.

Sew the tails together along the marked line and then trim the seam allowance to 1/4-inch. Press the seam allowance to one side.

Pin the sewn together binding tape along the raw edge of the gap and sew it down with a 1/4-inch seam allowance back stitching at the beginning and end of this seam.

Finishing the Binding

Flip the scarf over so the wrong side of the scarf panel is facing up.

Press the edge seams out towards the binding tape on all four sides of the scarf.

Fold the binding tape around to the wrong side and pin it so that it just covers the seam. Don't pin around every side all at once but rather just pin a few inches in front of you as you work. Eventually you might not need the pins at all but rather you could just finger press as you go.

To stitch on the binding use a slip stitch:

Take a tiny horizontal stitch from the scarf panel fabric, just below the folded over binding.

Then, entering the binding just above your first stitch, slip your needle though the fold of the binding, thus hiding the thread, and come out 1/4-inch to the left.

Then take another tiny stitch from the scarf panel directly below where your needle came out.

And then, again, stick your needle into the fold of the binding just above the stitch and slip your needle through the binding 1/4-inch to the left.

There will be an almost invisible row of little stitches on the front of the scarf, just along side of the binding.

Sew the binding down in this manner along all the sides.

When you get to a corner, fold the triangle of excess into a pleasing mitered shape (it should do this almost automatically) and tack the corner down with a few small stitches.

The miter on the right side of the corner should fall into place once you've done this.

Once you're done sewing down the binding your scarf will be finished!

Reader Comments (20)

This looks great! Liberty is amazing, but a little steep for me right now. I bet this would be great in Anna Maria Horner's voile as well.
May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer O.
Could you recommend one of your other less expensive fabrics that would reflect well in this project? I'd love to try it but I am a beginner sewer and I am not sure what alternate fabric would be nice for this project that is more affordable.
May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda
Hi Melinda,
The voile from Anna Maria Horner would work really well for this project too, it's a little more slippery than the Liberty so it will be a little more challenging, but it is quite a bit less expensive, is very thin and has a beautiful drape. You can find her Voiles here:
May 14, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am definitely going to make one of these very striking scarves! And I think they would make lovely gifts for special friends.
May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Thanks! Can you tell me if I would need to use a special foot or needle with the voile and any quick tips on working with that fabric before I begin? Sorry - don't want to hog the comments section but I really do want to try this and the voile would be a perfect weight for Texas weather.
May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda
A friend and two days ago spoke about what can we do with the limited amount of Liberty fabric we can read our minds! As always...brilliant Purlbee.
May 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBirgit
Hi Melinda-
You might want to use a ballpoint needle but other than that you won't need any special equipment to sew the voile.

Thanks! -- Molly
May 15, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is awesome. I'm luckily in London at the moment. And stocking up for this soon! You know how Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's goes to Tiffany's? Liberty and its Haberdashery specifically is my Tiffany's. Swoon! Thanks again for the project!
May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
What a great class topic. How about it?
May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Hi Molly,

Could you give a quick tutorial on how you wear the scarf?? How did you make the lovely tie in front?
May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErika Ann
Dear Molly,
I live in London and spent a lovely few hours at Liberty the other day in the haberdashery department. After deliberation, I made my purchases - I couldn't decide between two fabrics so am having to make two scarves (yippee)! The fabric is cut and ready for sewing.
I am so excited and thank you for providing me with an excuse to go to LIberty's I should go more often. Although when family and friends see the scarves I am sure I will be making a few more for Christmas. Thank you xxx
June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
I thought I would follow up with an update on my efforts at sewing this scarf. I selected two Anna Maria Horner prints and just completed the scarf tonight. It is a birthday gift for my mother. The fabric is wonderful and perfect for a scarf. Everything was looking really great until I panicked about the amount of hand sewing involved. Not being confident that my hand sewing would be good enough to hold up under washing and wearing I decided to machine sew. The topstitching is a bit wobbly. Not my best effort. But as a beginner I am glad to have attempted it. I have a friend bringing back some Liberty fabric from London. I'll try the slip stitch on another scarf with the Liberty. But from far away the scarf looks really nice! ;-)

I should add that this tutorial is incredibly thorough and helpful. This website is a real gem for the excellent and free tutorials. I'm learning a lot! Thank You!
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

I just love Liberty fabrics too :)

These are beautiful scarves but I wonder why the strip hasn't been traditionally joined on the bias?

Jane @ Lovealittle on Etsy
June 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJane
How do you think this would work with Heather Ross' Far and Away Collection, or other double gauze fabric?
June 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramanda
I am in the process of making one of these scarves but there is no way my scarf will wrap around my neck and tie softly like the one in the web picture! Nor is it long enough to tie like a rectangular scarf (in the other web picture). Did you make these scarves shown on-line in a larger size--the directions say to cut a 36" square of the main fabric but that doesn't seem large enough to fold as you have in your pictures? Help!
August 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkaren
Hi Karen-

The size on these is definitely correct and should be large enough to wrap around a neck in a lot of different ways. The scarves in the pictures are all the same size as the directions, one yard square, which is actually slightly larger than a standard Hermes scarf which is 35-inches square.

Please let us know if you have any more questions. Thanks!- Molly
August 2, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
So far I've only made this with a Christmas-y plaid fabric (picture:, part of a set I sent my grandparents. I'm not sure if it was the size or the weight of the fabric, but Grandma ended up using it as a seasonal tablecloth for a side table, so it's big enough for such uses, too. Since I visited the Liberty store in November, though, I'm hoping to actually make a scarf from this pattern. To save on cost and use only one yard it looks like you could also cut about 10 2" strips from the remnant (52" - 36" = 16"; 52x3 = 156; 156/16 = 9.75) and get close to the right amount of binding tape. Does that sound about right, Molly? I haven't tried this yet, but it seems like it would work, even with the additional seam allowance needed.
January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Broadway
Hi Anna-

Yes, that should work!

Thanks for writing in!

January 10, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I made my Liberty scarf without the binding and did a rolled hem using your instructions from the hankies. It's very similar to an Hermes scarf at a fraction of the cost. I wear it quite a bit to work. Thanks for your inspiration!
May 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJane
I have made similar scarves, but using the full width of cotton material by 18 inches.
This produces a decorative longer draping scarf and looks good as an accessory against an all over colour garment.
October 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy Habel

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.