I came soclose to finishing my robe last night but decided it wasn’t worth losing sleep over. I’m usually not a night person, but every once in a while I get on a roll around 10 pm and want to just keep going and going until whatever I’m working on is done. Alas, the new work schedule began today and Josh and I had to be out the door at 7:15.
To be honest, the reason I didn’t finish is that I made the project a little more complicated than it needs to be. Well, that and the fact that cutting out the fabric took a looooong time. The way that In Stitches manages to avoid including 25 full-size patterns is that most projects contain rectangular pieces of fabric. So, the book gives you patterns for the complicated bits and tells you the size of the fabric for the rest. This is simultaneously clever and frustrating, since it’s a lot easier to say “Cut a piece of fabric 30 inches by 40 inches” than it is to do that. I spent Saturday evening on the living room floor hunched over my (small) cutting mat and rotary cutter trying very hard to make perfect rectangles. Lots and lots of rectangles.
Anyhow, this is the photo from book showing what the Kimono Robe is “supposed” to look like.
The pic is not terribly helpful due to the way the model is posed, so I had to read the directions a few times before I realized that the lining around the neck and front lies on top of the main piece of fabric, not under it. When I realized that, I knew I wanted to use a piece of Tim’s fabric for the trim and pair it with something simple that had a good drape (so the robe wouldn’t stick out too much). I ended up with a tan linen/cotton blend that fit the bill, although it’s not incredibly soft.
As I thought about the fabric, I realized that the robe would look better with trim around all the open edges (sleeves, bottom) as well as the neck, so I cut long strips for each of those and decided to worry later about how to attach it. But when I got to the neck, the pattern’s instructions for how to apply the trim were so brilliant that I realized they would work everywhere else as well. Everyone else may have been doing this for years, but since the method was new to me (and I’m already planning how to use it on my next project), I thought I’d include a quick tutorial.
Tutorial for Fabric Trim with Finished Edges
1. Decide how wide you want the trim to be and cut a strip of fabric that’s at least an inch wider. (In my case I wanted a 2 inch strip of fabric to show, so I cut it 3.5 inches wide).
2. Figure out your seam allowance (.5″ in my case) and iron a fold in the fabric that makes the height of your trim = desired width + seam allowance (2.5″ for me; see the black fabric below). I used a metal ruler for this to keep the width even, and it REALLY helped.
3. Carefully line up the WRONG side of your trim with the WRONG side of your fabric and stitch the edge according to your seam allowance.
4. Iron the trim + main fabric, fold over so that the RIGHT side of the trim is on top of the RIGHT side of the fabric, and iron the edge.
5. Stitch the far edge of the trim about 1/8 in. from the edge.
Voila! Your piece is now nicely trimmed with no unfinished edges to fuss with. I can’t say how pleased I felt when I saw the results.
As I mentioned, I finished all the edges of the robe this way and that did add some extra time (and fabric) to the project. I’ve still got to finish the bottom of the robe, belt, and beltloops, but I have high hopes that I’ll have photos of the finished product tomorrow.
Bonus: I had enough of the linen left over to cut a skirt (no pattern of course…I just sort of snipped around another skirt I have). I’m terrified of hems and zippers, so I’m trying to decide whether to cheat and make it really simple or go for a more professional-looking product and “do it right.” But either way, I don’t think it will happen until next weekend.