Here at Beckford Silk we use the traditional method of hand rolling our silk scarves to finish the edges. Here is one of our sewers to tell you about her experience working with silk scarves.
Hi I’m Mel, and I’ve been hand rolling silk scarves for Beckford Silk since 2017.
I first saw the advertisement for hand rolling scarves on Facebook. I messaged Anne to see how much sewing there would be, as I would like to give it a go. She let me know that there would be a practice morning, and an introduction into how to sew a silk scarf.
I went along and learnt about Beckford Silk and the different types of silk that I would be sewing – I didn’t realise there were so many! We were all shown the process of hand rolling. Starting with cutting the excess off around the scarf. Then slightly moistening your fingers to start the rolling from the edge of the silk scarf. It was a very relaxing morning, with a lovely coffee. I felt more confident after being shown the method of hand rolling. So I took some sewing home and continue practicing.
Depending on the size of the scarf, I take home roughly 20 scarves a week to be sewn. I treat it as a job and make it the priority in my day. As I’m sewing an expensive scarf which is for a company I want to make sure I do it right. So I allocate time in my day to complete the scarves. Depending on the size I can sew about 1 scarf an hour.
When I start working I cover the table to protect it and then cut out one scarf at a time. The rest of the scarves go back in my plastic box, so they are kept safe and clean. I then sit down to sew. Firstly anchoring the scarf to my trouser knee with a pin to create tension ready to start hand rolling. I sew from the corner of the scarf and then start rolling down the edge and sew, – it’s hard to describe – but it’s like a hidden slip stitch along the side of the scarf. Picking up the rolled edge as I go along.
Once I get to the next corner, I trim off any excess of the extra roll. Then turn it in and stitch. I know people have different techniques to sewing corners. But I don’t like chunky corners, so I find this to be a neat way of finishing.
When I get all the way round the scarf I finish with a backstitch. This is up to half an inch from the end and then sew and tie in the last corner.
I find the best needles to sew with are silk needles. These are really fine and don’t pull at the silk. You can purchase these on haberdasheries online. They are not too long and I find them easy to use. I change them about every two months. Unless I loose one and then I panic, just in case I sit on it when I next sit down!
For the rolled edge there is normally a coloured border to use as a guide. So I roll from the edge of the scarf to the bottom of the border. It can be tricky if there isn’t a guideline, but I now know how thick the roll should be just from the feel of it. I used to panic about the straightness, but now I just know what it should be like from lots of practice.
My favourite silk to sew with is silk crepe de chine, it has a slight stretch and rolls beautifully. Also the roll sits well when it is sewn.
I really enjoy hand rolling as I get to see the scarves finished design. I know the customers will love the finished product.
Thank you to Mel for an insight into hand rolling our silk scarves. If you would like a video demonstration of how to hand roll, then do use the link below. Especially if you are thinking of trying this at home, it’s really helpful.
Thanks for reading – if you would like an insight into any of our other processes we do here at Beckford Silk then do let us know in the comments box below.