A New Product, Perhaps? Women's Silk Scarf Design—Please Tell Me What You Think!

 Many years ago, the bulk of my business was conducted at craft fairs. One of my favorite shows to do was the Yarmouth Clam Festival. Here’s a picture of my booth from my final year at the Clam Festival.

I met a lot of nice people in my 20 years doing that show, and one of them was Elliott. Elliott has stayed in touch, been to my studio, ordered ties and masks; and we have spent time catching up over the years. Elliott reached out to me recently because he wanted to mark the 40th anniversary of meeting his beloved wife with a custom designed silk scarf. I was up for this new challenge!

Elliott’s idea for the scarf was to commemorate where he and his wife met—Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas. The first step in the design process was to choose the map that would form the basic design of the scarf. I sent Elliott 2 pictures of the maps that might work for his project, one is a current map of Houston from 2019 (above), and one is from 1982 (below), which happens to be close to the year that Elliott met his wife. 

The idea of using the 1982 map appealed to Elliott (me, too!). Artistically, neither of us liked the salmon areas, and the white background was dull, but the bones of the idea were excellent. I asked Elliott what color his wife’s eyes are—hazel—so I added a greenish brown tint to the background so that the scarf would light up her eye color. While screen sharing with Elliott, I also changed the color of the salmon areas to more of a tan/gold which Elliott chose, again to highlight eye color and also to make the color look good against the new background.

I'm not a wearer of scarves, so I didn't know what would be an ideal size to design. After contacting my friend Beth, a scarf wearing aficionado, she said her favorite size is 80"x 30". With that suggestion, Elliott said, "let's do it!" I placed the map graphic on the 80"x 30" rectangle, and we were ready to start the process of playing with colors and design placement.  

But first, we noticed some text on the map that we both thought was distracting.

There were three of these Sewage Disposal locations on the map (see above). They had to go (see below).

Then the fun step. Elliott wanted a special sentiment on the map commemorating the date of their meeting and also expressing his love for his bride. I placed his words in several places on the map so he could see how it looked in different locations. I showed each one on the entire scarf, and then a closer look to see the text in relation to what’s around it. Here are three of the five options I showed Elliott.

The one Elliott liked best was placing his words on the runway of the AF Base.

 But the black text was dull. I showed Elliot several versions of how the text could appear. He chose bright blue text with a white ‘stroke’ which means each blue letter is surrounded by a thin white line. The scarf is 30" wide, and 80" long, so I've turned it vertically to show it here.

And here's a close up of the blue sentiment with the white stroke. The stroke helps light up the blue text. 

The final step was to look at the design through screen sharing with Elliott to see if we had missed anything, or if there was anything he wanted to change.

Then? The waiting. I sent the digital copy off to be printed and hemmed by the fabric printers. A couple of weeks later, the scarf arrived at my studio. 

When Elliott saw the pictures, he got really excited for his anniversary to arrive! 

On June 20, 2023, Elliott sent me these pictures of Sallie and along with a note of gratitude for the work we did together. Elliott had an idea and I was able to put that idea into action.

The subject of Elliott's email was "You nailed it, Lisa!"

Sallie loves the scarf - thank you!!  In addition, she can’t believe I came up with the idea - her words were, “that’s not like you, that’s not your forte”.

Thanks for making her (and me) look good.


Have an idea for a custom silk scarf for yourself or as a gift for someone else? I design them in custom sizes, and can locate for you and use maps, nautical charts, or artwork that you provide. The possibilities are endless. Contact me if you want to start the process. Lisa@bowtie.com or call 207-985-6724.

For more than 30 years Lisa Eaton has been designing and making men's bow ties, suspenders and neckties from silk and cotton. She is the owner of the Maine based company Bowtie.com.