Thursday, February 26, 2009

$15 remakes your wardrobe: Liberty bathrobe

Adding Liberty trim to a terry bathrobe is one of the easiest and fastest projects imaginable and the results are extraordinary, showing that a very small amount of Liberty of London fabric can add a lot of personality to your look. The idea for this project comes from Simple Sewing with a French Twist (also described in a previous post). Ms. Dupuy once again uses British fabric to create what she calls a French look, but never mind the provenance, we love it.

Terry bathrobe detailed with a Liberty print

This project requires just under half a yard of Liberty Tana Lawn. I bought this Liberty print for 50% off when I was in London, so my cost for this bathrobe trim came to under $10. I'm cheating a bit by not including the cost of the bathrobe itself. I bought this one on sale at Land's End for about $35, so overall this is an inexpensive project. And something else that's great: it only takes an hour to complete.

You will need a white or cream terry bathrobe and around half a yard of Liberty Tana Lawn. You can find this at PurlSoho, where they have an beautiful collection, or order fabrics direct from Liberty of London.

Ms. Dupuy gives detailed instructions for this project in her book. This book is great addition to your library - it includes patterns and complete instructions for fifty highly creative and surprisingly easy-to-make projects - and this book is on sale at Amazon for 35% off and it's now $18.15. 

The first step in this project is to preshrink both the bathrobe and the fabric. Make sure to use the same washing method for both. I washed both on warm and dried in the dryer to shrink. I generally wash Liberty fabrics in cold water on the gentle cycle and hang to dry away from direct sunlight - these fabrics are delicate and prone to fading over time. Press the Liberty fabric.

Now you are ready to measure the belt and the cuffs:

Measure the width and length of the belt

Measure the depth of the bathrobe cuff

Measure the circumference of the cuff

Once you have your measurements, add 15 mm or 5/8" seam allowances all around and cut out your fabric.  When you cut out the cuff, you can choose how far you'd like the Liberty fabric to wrap around to the inside of the cuff. You can wrap just one inch or all the way up to the top of the bathrobe cuff, about four inches. This depends on how much fabric you have, and whether you'd like to be able to roll up the cuffs when wearing the bathrobe. 

Once your pieces are cut out, press under the seam allowance at the ends of the belt.

Pressing the belt ends under

Do the same for the cuffs on the top and bottom edges.

Fold the belt fabric in half lengthwise and sew the long edges, leaving the short ends open. Sew the cuff fabric side seams together as well. Press flat to set the stitches, then press open and trim.

Next, slide the terry cloth belt through the Liberty fabric cover. Use a safety pin to guide the terry belt through the fabric. This is a bit fiddly because of the difference in fabric weights. Be careful not to rip the Liberty fabric as you work. Just slide the terry through gently, pulling the a bit of the Liberty fabric along at a time. Don't rush here.

Center the cover seam down the middle of the belt. Now you can topstitch through the center of the belt. I used a slightly longer stitch length, 3.0.

Topstitch down the center of the belt

Now topstitch across the ends of the belt. Press thoroughly (and I needed to steam it to get it flat). Belt finished!

To sew on the cuffs, align one turned-under edge of the Liberty fabric with the top of the bathrobe cuff. There is a line on the bathrobe that you can use as a guide - it's fairly easy to spot. Pin and sew in the Liberty fabric in place, again using a slightly longer than normal stitch length.

Slide the sleeve over your machine arm; 
stitch cuff in place

Now hand slip-stitch the inside of the cuff in place, and enjoy! In another post, I'll explain how to make a darling camisole to match this bathrobe. 


The Top Drawer said...

I'm always looking for ideas for creative ways to use my Liberty of London fabrics. This is such a good one!

The Top Drawer

singingserpent said...

That is such a cute project. I might be able to use it to extend the life of my still-growing daughters favorite robe. The tutorial pictures are very detailed.