We love the abstract geometric shapes found on women’s scarves from the 1960s and 70s. With their bright colors and bold motifs, each scarf is like a modern abstract painting.

As vintage fabric collectors, we’ve amassed a large collection of scarves that we were unable to use in the making of our other home decor products. Since the bold graphic effect of these scarves is mostly lost when wrapped around the body, we decided to find a way to put them on display. A bedspread seemed the ideal way to exhibit their full potential.

Project Steps

Collect scarves and design your bedcover.

Although you’ll use 16 scarves arranged in a 4×4 grid, collect a few more to ensure a set that matches. The scarves should be 26″ or 27″ square to make a bedcover approximately 100″ square, which will fit a queen or king mattress.

Lay out your scarves — there are no rules. Play around with your composition until it clicks.

Cut the template and scarves.

Cut every scarf to the exact dimensions you decide upon. For our 4×4 scarf bedspread, we use a template of exactly 25 1⁄2″ square, which works well with most scarves. Cut your scarves any smaller and you’ll start to lose the scarf’s design.

Make a 25 1⁄2″ square template out of cardboard, and use a fine permanent marker or chalk line marker to rule lines on the scarves before you cut. Use a light pressure with your drawing tool: scarves, even silk, are stretchy and they don’t keep still!

Sew the scarves together.

Make 4 strips of 4 scarves each, using 3- or 4-thread serging. Serge one scarf to the next until you have a strip of 4. Make 3 more strips, then serge your 4 strips together. You should now have a flowy bedspread approximately 100″ square. Iron it on medium-low heat.

Since silk or polyester is slippery, it’s hard to keep the 2 starting edges lined up exactly. To solve this, join right sides together with double-sided tape before serging.

Make the backing.

We used an organic hemp/cotton medium-weight fabric for the backing. Since many scarves are semi- translucent, your fabric should be relatively light in color. Pre-shrink it before cutting.

Our fabric comes in 60″ widths, so to make a 100″ square backing, we cut 3 pieces: 60″×101″, 41″×60″, and 41″×41″. Serge or sew, with a straight stitch, the 2 short pieces together. Then serge this strip to the long piece. You now have a backing with 2 perpendicular seams. Iron it.

Measure and trim the silk side, sew the silk side to the backing.

Your scarf piece should be somewhere between 99″ and 101″ square depending on your seam allowances and serging style. It may be a little uneven in places, so trim it accordingly until it’s adequately square. Now measure and trim the hemp backing to match the silk side exactly.

Place the silk side and the backing right sides together and pin them around the edges. Starting at a corner, serge the entire edge together except the last 8″–10″. Carefully pull the whole thing inside out through the opening. Then topstitch around the entire edge of the bedcover, 1⁄4″ from the edge.

Tack the backing to the scarves.

The silk side can become billowy, so we tack it to the backing with a single stitch at every point in the grid, 9 in all. Tie off your ends discreetly.

For washing instructions, go to craftzine.com/08/ cover_bedcover.


This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 08, pages 105-107.