211 Middy Blouse Sew Along: Day Five

Day 5:  Making the neck tie

Throughout history some items of clothing have had design elements built into them that serve a well thought out purpose.  Each subtle details of the Middy Blouse View B (from 211 Two Middies pattern) is unique and has a function of its own. The distinctive collar served as extra protection from the sun on the shoulders of seamen. The pocket could hold any number of things, the scarf provides a cloth to wipe the brow or tie back ones hair, and the tab holds the scarf in place. The hip band provides an alternative to tucking the shirttail in a bottom garment waistband, which allows for comfort and ease of movement while looking finished and tidy. The Middy Blouse View B is loaded with details that create a balanced aesthetic. No matter what detail captures your attention first, this Middy Blouse design has so much to offer.

There is one more element to be added if you so choose, and is included in the pattern. The Middy is hardly complete without the useful and charming detail of the Pencil Scarf or Triangular Scarf. Even if you do not pair a scarf with a Middy Blouse, knowing how to make a scarf is a useful and easy skill. Scarfs are the decorative and utilitarian accessory perfect to wear with all kinds of outfits!

Close up photo of Pencil Scarf for Middy Blouse View B.

Fabrics That Make Good Scarfs

Scarfs can be made from any fabric, it just depends on the aesthetic you prefer. You may want a flowing look or a stiffer look, but a light- to medium-weight fabric is going to be best. I have chosen to use a piece of white cotton lawn to make a pencil scarf to accessorize my Middy Blouse View B. Rummage about in your fabric stash or even your scrap bin to find the perfect bit to make a new accessory!

Other fabrics work well too!  Try cotton voil, cotton lawn, handkerchief linen, silk noil, silk haboti, silk charmeuse, organza, stretch velvet, georgette, knits, rayon, gauze, flannel, etc. Basically, any fabric that will tie, knot, or drape is a good choice.

Do consider that fabrics that have an obvious right and wrong side might not be the best choice as both sides will be seen when worn.

Make a Triangular Scarf

It is fun and easy to make a simple scarf.  A scarf can be the focal point of any ensemble and made from endless combinations of fabrics and edge finishing details.

A scarf can be made small or large or any size in between, and can elevate the look of so many items in your wardrobe.

Note that the measurement of your scarf can be anything you choose depending on desire and application and how much fabric you have.

The instructions below recommend using a measurement of 36"x 36", which utilizes just the right amount of fabric to provide not only a interesting visual touch, but can lend a bit of protection and comfort when the elements require it.  

Start with a square piece of fabric measuring 36" x 36" square. Use the illustration below to guide you through the process.

Starting at the top right corner, fold the cloth on the diagonal, matching the bottom left corner. Press to create a crease. Then unfold to reveal the crease. Use the crease as a cutting guide.

Or use a straight edge to draw a diagonal line from opposite corners to create a cutting guide. Cut the diagonal line to create two separate triangles to make two scarfs (one for you and one to share!).

Make A Longer Pencil Scarf

The height of the Roaring Twenties was the heyday of the Middy Blouse. This popular look was finished off with an accessory referred to as the Pencil Scarf or "silks" that were worn under the sailor collar of the Middy Blouse and pulled through the tab below the front opening.

This version of the scarf is cut on the bias. Fabric cut on the bias has a bit of stretch, resulting an easy drape around the neck. But that does not mean you could not utilize any long straight piece of fabric to make a tie.

The pencil scarf is perfect for knotting, tying in a bow, looping loosely, wrapping around the neck or waist, or simply hanging open... whether cut on the bias or on the straight grain.

The illustration below shows how to make a bias cut scarf from a rectangular piece of fabric. Fold a rectangle of fabric as demonstrated in the illustration bellow to create a bias strip, using the folded creases as a guide. Note you can make the bias strip that will become your scarf any width your fabric will allow. Make a wide scarf, make a skinny scarf... the possibilities are endless!

This illustrated instruction uses a rectangular piece of fabric measuring 50" x 36" which will make a scarf measuring 3-1/2 inches wide and approximately 51 inches long.  Adjusting the measurement of your fabric will allow you to change the length, or width, of your scarf.

Fold the left bottom corner up to match the top edge of the fabric. Press to make a crease.

Unfold the the fabric to reveal the first crease.

Fold the right top corner down to match the bottom edge of the fabric. Press to make a crease.

Unfold the the fabric to reveal the second crease.

Cut along the guide lines created by folding the creases or draw a cutting guide line using a straight edge. The bias cut strip in the center is the Pencil Scarf. 

Note: I cut the length of my Pencil Scarf to make it shorter.


Finishing Scarf Edges

Once you have cut a piece of fabric to make a scarf all you have to do is finish the edges. The edge finishing is a great place to have fun and get creative.  You can make it quick and easy, or take time with hand sewing.  Finishing edges is a perfect opportunity to get creative and really customize your look. Use a contrasting thread to give your scarf an unexpected pop of color or use a subtle color for a softer look.

Use your imagination and have a look in your materials stash for a bit of inspiration. Any number of materials could be use to finish your scarf edges. Some possible choices to consider would be: embroidery thread, sewing thread, yarn, seam binding, lace, or soft ribbon. Another option would be to simply turn  the raw edge under a couple of time and stitch in place. Leaving the edges raw or creating a frayed edge has a look of its own. Once again the options are endless and only limited by your imagination.

Adding an edge finishing touch can be done by hand, sewing machine, or serger. Any hand embroidery stitch, such as a blanket stitch would be a charming touch. A zig-zag stitch made on a sewing machine would be quick and easy. Applying a bit of lace to any scarf edges could be done with a simple whip stitch by hand or an edge stitch sewn on a machine.

I have chosen to use a very easy and quick rolled hem made on my serger.


Making a rolled edge on the serger to finish my scarf edges.


Photo of finished tie used with finished Middy Blouse View B

Never overlook a scrap of fabric again!


Thank You for joining me in making Folkwear's newly released 211 Two Middy Blouse Pattern. I hope you found my thoughts and processes in making these two charming blouses useful. Folkwear is very excited to offer this pattern once again and we would love to see what you create! I look forward to making and doing with you again.

Stitch well,