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Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf

The running stitch is a simple but beautiful stitch that is the base for a huge range of sewing projects, including (but not limited to) hand-quilting, mending clothes and embellishing fabrics with decorative details.

Today Jessica is using the running stitch to make a simple summer scarf that you can make over the weekend. I hope you’ll enjoy the how-to.

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf


-1 yard of 60 inch width light-weight jersey cotton in off-white or cream
-1 yard of 60 inch width light-weight jersey cotton in navy blue

-Embroidery Thread

(Jessica used, from darkest to lightest: DMC823, DMC336, DMC312, DMC334, DMC3352, DMC3841, DMC775, DMC3756, [ ], DMC3865)

-Shashiko needle (or any long skinny needle)
-Sewing pins or sewing thread (to baste)
-Rotary blade
-Self healing mat
-Dressmakers chalk (or water-soluble pen if you’re using two light fabrics)


1. Cut both pieces of fabric (navy blue and off-white) to be 10″ (by 60″).

*Trim the selvedge edge of the fabric if needed

2. Baste the two pieces together (or pin) using sewing thread.

3. Using dressmakers chalk, mark vertical lines (1 centimeter apart) from the top to the bottom of the fabric (starting 1 centimeter in from the edge). If you’re using two lighter colored fabrics, you can use water-soluble pen to mark these lines).

*Be careful not to handle your fabric too much or the chalk lines will rub off.

4. For each of the 10 colors, you’ll need to cut a piece of thread that is the full length of the finished scarf. But in order to keep them organized, only cut one piece at a time. (It can be hard to distinguish colors when you get into the lighter hues).

*Optional: Jessica likes a delicate line, so she removed 2 of the 6 strands from each piece of thread. You can leave the thread as-is or remove two strands if you want the more delicate line, too.

5. Starting with the first color (your darkest thread), tie a knot at the bottom left hand side of the scarf. You’ll be working from lightest to darkest, left to right and up and down.

6. Following the chalk or pen lines, use a running stitch, stitch from one end of the scarf to the other and end with another knot. Be sure to keep both the stitch length and the distance between stitches as consistent as you can.

*Traditional Sashiko embroidery involves gathering 3-4 stitches on your needle at a time and then pulling through. This will save time and help you finish your project more quickly. Jessica used a 2 inch needle and was able to fit close to 10 stitches on her needle at a time. 

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf

7. Repeat the previous two steps with the rest of the thread, going from darkest to lightest.

*Note: Be sure to (gently) smooth the fabric and tug on the thread as you go, as it will want to bunch as you continue to sew. This will help the stitches lay flat.

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf

8. You’re finished! Enjoy your new ombre scarf.

*Note: For this scarf, Jessica made the off-white fabric 1 inch larger than the navy blue fabric. This allowed the natural curl of the jersey fabric to act as a “border” around the blue. If you want the same look, just cut the white fabric to be 11 inches wide and the navy blue to be 10 inches wide. 

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf

Running Stitch Tutorial: Ombre Summer Scarf


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