Wednesday 8 August 2012

How to Sew a Triangle Scarf (Ises Wrap)

  How to sew a triangle scarf

The ila Ises Wrap

(aka the one yard scarf)
                Materials: 1 yrd voile, scissors, thread, appropriate size machine needle, sewing machine
Every RasTa Wombman wears a head-covering at some point during the day: whether it’s for giving Ises, going out to work, to the Taba, to the grocery – whatever the place or reason; it is important that the crown be covered, and the sanctity of the dreadlocks maintained.  
                This Tradition I and I have learned from our Afrikan Mothers who in any tribe or religion have always maintained the aesthetic value of covering themselves in flowing garments. The Ethiopian Wombman uses the Shamma or a woolen shawl which I think might be called a shash - I’m looking for the origin of this word if anyone knows – it’s a word I’ve heard other Fari call the Ethiopian shawl. Check out this link also
 Empress Menen wore the Shamma to Church for Ises and service. The Shamma is more of a rectangular shape, however. It is larger than this triangle scarf. And that’s because this scarf is more of the perfect accessory for that emergency or momentary “cover-up.” Not every time I and I cover up, does it have to be “a big production.” Every dread gets to the stage where it’s hard to manage due to the length and fullness.  Sometimes if it’s just the hour of Ises (6, 12, 6, 12); or a stranger appears at the door, or a bredren/elder quickly stops by to hail the I or the King-Man;  at the drop of a pin sometimes a Dawta needs to “throw on something” to make herself appropriate, neat. (The Kaftan dress is a good thing to just throw on too, we’ll get to those tutorials as soon as I get my memory card in the mail!)
Because of that functionality this little triangle scarf, my Ises Wrap, is one of my favourite items to wear. It suits the warm weather of summer, and sometimes I don’t want the headache tying up my dreads too much.  I use it when it is time for Ises or when I am going out. I recommend making as many colours as you have in your wardrobe! Mix and match – one on the head, one on the shoulder at the same time - each scarf only takes 1 YARD of 45 INCH COTTON  VOILLE. If you want to use other cloths, feel free! I have made this scarf for other sistren who have shorter dreads – it’s the perfect covering for a short crown. For those Sistren with the large, thick bongos , this is a one size scarf, so it will not be able to completely cover your dreadlocks, it would more work as a bandana would.
Note this scarf also functions as a wrap, so it is not a Fall which is the official Bobo Shanty Empress and Princess head covering . The Fall achieves total covering of the dreadlocks from root to tip;, this scarf is really to cover the crown – and can only cover all if the dreads are neat/small enough in a bun.
Now, onto the tutorial:
Get your 1 yard of voile cotton fabric.
Take the bottom left corner and pull it over to meet the top right corner.
With your hands, smooth down or lightly press in the fabric to keep that triangle shape. The Triangle should be uneven; one end should be longer than the other on both sides opposite the fold.
 It should look like this (please excuse the stuff in the way lol – I have a large table but it can’t fit in the house so I use the floor for now because my current work table is too narrow!):

If you look at the left and the right sides (close to the bottom) you can see the uneven parts.
I folded the triangle in half again to show what my two sides look like:

Next, Pin the triangle together so it doesn’t shift. Get the scissors and cut away the longer side of the fabric, evening up the ends and shape of the scarf. It should now look like this! (sorry it’s a bit blurry)
Now it’s time to go to the sewing machine. To complete the Ises wrap just ZIG ZAG all four sides of the triangle TWICE. You will need a matching thread colour – or contrasting if you want to spice it up. Also a small sewing needle – green coloured or size 70/9 (Singer universal needle) (or 70/10 for other brands) for sheer knits and thin fabrics like voile and chiffon.  This needle is what I use in a Brother BM-2700. I turned the Zigzag Dial to size 4, which is not too big, but not too close that I keep missing the fabric, which sometimes happens to me when I zigzag at size 3 or 2.5.
The first zigzag is simple all around the edges. You can add an extra layer at this point if you want to, making it 3 zigzag layers in total. The only reason why it might not be necessary is that too much needle work in the same point makes tiny holes in the voile fabric.
The second layer of zigzagging entails making a tiny fold at the edge, setting that under the presserfoot, and then zigzagging the edges again but with the little fold. So the zigzag is not directly on the edges but makes a tiny sized hem. Like this:
YOU DON’T HAVE TO PIN ANYTHING to make this tiny hem! You just have to hold the voile and ensure that the small fold stays there as the machine sews, it works perfectly this way! Trust me, there’s no need to use pins for this second layer of zigzag! Just take your time.
 When you are finished zigzagging all edges in these two steps, you are finished! This is what they look like:

(I’ve added some other colours  – the mustard colour I wear the most alongside the pink, so you can see the wear and tear of washing doesn’t really affect the seam.)
After reading this I bet you think it’s super easy, and you could do that in no time! Especially if you have a serger – well I don’t, so that’s why my methods will entail using zigzag stitches a lot.
But the quick ease of this great scarf-slash-wrap is the little surprise I was keeping back! The Ises wrap is a must-have, totally easy addition to every Empress wardrobe! What’s more, it’s the PERFECT SIZE for your little princess! Ages 10 and up should be able to wrap the Ises wrap as a covering too!   
Here’s how many ways you can wear it!
As a head scarf:

As a wrap:

Wear it as a shrug by tying it behind your back - this will only work for a smaller person I think:

If you can’t sew or don’t have a machine, or anyone to zigzag for you, feel free to order the Ises wrap now, I can set it up at my online etsy store -
Hope you love the Ises Wrap!


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