Thursday, June 18, 2015

Let's Get Looped: 1968 Advice on How to Wear a Scarf

At a library book sale I chanced upon a slim volume titled I Haven't a Thing to Wear: or getting down to basics in fashion and beauty by Judith Keith with Sandy Sprung. Published in 1968 the author was "dubbed the Fashionable Fraud." Keith was a popular lecturer, with a background in advertising, acting, editor, publishing and PR. The book is richly illustrated with amazing line drawings.

Today I am sharing advice from her 17 pages on how to wear a scarf.

I had a collection of scarfs back in 1968. They were very popular for many years, which is why every thrift shop has loads in stock. Wait until you see what can be done with them!

Keith begins with a tip for keeping scarfs in place: she sews a loop into her clothing! She used a self-belt loop or made a loop with fabric from a deep hem; one she suggests also using ribbon, leather, or felt.

She sewed the loop inside the neckline facing, brought the loop up and over the neck, then pinned the loop to the outside of the garment. When you didn't want to wear a scarf the loop was tucked back behind the garment.

She used one loop for a jewel neckline, two for scoop and bateau, and one at the bottom of the V neckline. One could also loop jewelry through the loops, or a bow.

The loop technique can also be used on sleeves and hems to add edgings of ruffles, fringe, lace, and bows.

  • Bateau Flounce: Lift a 24" or 30" square scarf in the center. Pull through one's bra strap and out over the neckline. Tuck end under flounce. "Plunge a pin through the flounce to secure."
  • Flower Flounce: follow same directions as for basic flounce; bring end of scarf out over the flounce. Widen the end into a well and secure in place with a small pin for a flower effect.

The Basic Scarf Fold: lay flat; fold ends into center and overlap. Double again for narrower effect. Scarf will lay neat and flat on neck. Variation: make a square knot and wear as a simple tie.

Bra-Cross: Using a 24" or 30" scarf in the basic fold, drape around neck, cross ends in front, secure around bra straps. "Looks smashing" under a cowl, ring, or stand-u collars.
Pussycat Bow: A 24" scarf makes a smaller, tighter bow; a 36" scarf a softer one. Make basic fold. Pull scarf part way through loop. Widen bow to create fullness. Accent with pin. Use silk crepe or twills for firmer bows and chiffon for wispier ones.

Blithe Spirit: Using two scarfs, tie ends together into full, fussy tie. Secure to the front of the dress and toss panels over the shoulder. Use two matching or complementary scarfs. Or pull a single chiffon or silk crepe oblong through loop and fling backwards.

  • Pleated Flounce: Use 36" squares. Hold scarf taut in both hands. Accordion pleat by folding back and forth. Drape around neck, pull through loop and separate folds for a soft fall.
  • Ring Flounce: Make a pleated flounce, then pull scarf up at shoulders.
  • Jabot Flounce: make a pleated flounce; shorten one end, pulling it over the longer end. Anchor with pin.

Smoke Rings are circle scarfs, cut and sewn on the bias which permits stretching. They slip over the heat and can be used as a headband, hat band, or around the neck held by pins.

  • Side Sweep: drop over head, pull through loop.
  • Dropped Bow: Pull through loop without dropping over head.
  • Jabot: Pull through loop, bringing shorter end over longer end. Pin.
  • Shoulder Flounce: Pull Smoke Ring through a bra strap.
  • The Elizabethan: The dramatic Elizabethan look is created b draping smoke rings over turtlenecks. Fold smoke ring in half lengthwise. Drape inner fold inside neckline and the outer fold over turtleneck. 
  • Smoke Ring Epaulet: Attach a pin to the shoulder of dress and pull a smoke ring through.

Knotted Ascot: Lift a 24" or 30" square directly in center and knot. Flip scarf over so the knot is inside. The knot should be centered. Pull any two ends taut. Tie ends in back of neck. Tuck under collar. If there is no collar, pin ends in back to keep neat. Tuck lower end into bra and secure.

The Vaquero: Fold scarf into triangle, point forward. Bring ends to front and tie as in Sketch 15.
V-Necklines are perfect for round faces, short necks, heavy bosoms or jowls. 
  • Criss-Cross: Oblong or 36" square with basic fold, bring around neck and criss cross under bosom. Pin to bra.
  • V-Loop: Pull scarf through loop sewn into bottom of "v". Drape ends out and over."A lady at EXPO '67 told Keith she had sewn loops into her bra!)
  • V-Bows: Pull scarf through loop and tie into flowing bow.

The 1970s were noted for women using scarfs and handkerchiefs for blouses. Tiny women, I am sure. Keith showed how to create the Scarf Blouse, which was "perfect for traveling and when you are tired of the blouses you have." Fold 36" square into a triangle. (For larger women use a square of wide fabric.) Sew snaps into the top of the triangle. Snap and drop over head. Tie the other two ends around the waist. Add a jacket. 

"...the scarf is cool, comfortable, and no one knows the difference unless you take the jacket off!"
Use two 36" chiffon squares for another look.

The Scarf Dickey could be used under a jacket or without. Use a 48" oblong scarf. Criss-cross, overlapping ends and stitch to a ribbon or belt to circle the waist. Gather in soft folds and stitch. Keith note one could try dickies in felt, brocade, velvet; appliqué, embroider, trim and "fringe at will". 

In another post I will share Judith Keith's advice on accessories.

Read newspaper article about Keith on Goggle newspapers:,5418476&hl=en,3809341&hl=en

Sandy Sprung wrote for Married With Children and other television shows:

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