Today we are covering the intermediate method for finishing the Suki Kimono front band. This method results in a fully enclosed seam on the inside of the kimono. Tomorrow we will go over the exposed seam method so you can choose whichever you prefer. You can view all the posts in the Suki Sewalong here.
Get the Suki Kimono Pattern
Let’s get started! First, we are going to attach the hanging loop to the inside of the kimono. I emphasize inside because I have attached the hanging loop to the outside of the Suki MULTIPLE times. Sometimes you just don’t learn, right?
Find the two notches at the center back neck of the kimono.
Position the hanging loop and pin it in place.
Sew the hanging loop in place 1/4″ from the edge.
Now we can get started on the front band. Pin and sew the two front band pieces together along the short, notched edge. Press this seam open. Your ‘L’ shaped markings should be on the right side of the fabric, so you can mark them again if needed.
For this method, we need to add a marking at the halfway mark on the short ends of the band.
Fold one long edge of the front band 3/8″ and press.
Prepare the kimono front by staystitching 1/2” from the edge along the corner marking on both front pieces. Clip into the ‘L’ shape, just shy of the new staystitched corner. The interfacing is not shown here because it is on the other side (wrong side) of the fabric.
With right sides facing, line up the long raw edge of the front band with the kimono front. You want to match up one side of your ‘L’ markings. Your ‘L’s’ will be facing in opposite directions for now.
Begin pinning the front band to the kimono, matching the notches on the band with the shoulder seams.
The center back of the kimono (right in between the hanging loop ends) will line up with the center seam of the front band.
Pin all the way around the neck and down the other side.
Now we will turn the corner. Insert a pin right at the corner of both ‘L’ shaped markings.
Holding the pin in place, pivot the fabric around to match the ‘L’ markings completely. This will feel a bit awkward and you will have excess kimono fabric bunched up in the corner for now.
Insert your corner pin all the way through to stabilize the corner. Place more pins along the short edge of the band, up to the halfway mark we added earlier.
Sew from the new halfway mark along the short edge of the kimono front band. Stop at the corner and pivot your machine. To pivot, simply leave your needle in your fabric, lift your presser foot, and turn your project. Lower your foot and continue sewing up the kimono front band, around the neck, and down the other side. Pivot again at the corner and sew to the halfway mark to finish. Your corner should look similar to this:
Grade the front band to 1/4″ to reduce bulk.
Press the seams in towards the band. You may want to clip the corner a bit here to make the seams fold in nicely.
Before we complete this front band, we need to secure the last inner tie to the kimono front. Find your inner tie marking on the wrong side of the left kimono front or make a new one.
On the wrong side of the kimono, pin and sew the inner tie in place. The raw end of the tie should point outwards.
Turn the center front in 1/2“ and press.
Turn the center front in 1/2″ again and press. Sew using a 3/8″ seam allowance, anchoring the inner tie in place. Repeat for the right side of the kimono (there is no tie on the right side).
Fold the inner tie outward and sew it in place. This step is optional, but it does help to keep the kimono front flat and also stabilizes the tie.
Now we can get back to the front band! Fold the band in half lengthwise, enclosing all the seams.
Place your first pin in the corner of the front band. Pin on the right side of the kimono, but ensure that you are catching the folded edge of the front band on the wrong side. You will see your interfacing a bit here.
Continue pinning the folded band in place, preparing to do a stitch in the ditch or a topstitch, your preference.
As you pin, check that you are catching the band underneath and that it is overlapping the seam by about 1/8″.
On the right side of the kimono, stitch in the ditch of the seam, catching the folded edge of the front band underneath. This can be tricky, so go slowly and check regularly that the folded edge of the band is getting caught in your stitches.
Question: Can I hand sew instead? Of course! Hand sewing the band closed is the cleanest finish possible. It also offers you more control and may be less difficult to execute. It will take longer, but it is a great option for a really nice finish.
Your front band is complete! Don’t fret if you have a few puckers in the corners or if your stitch in the ditch is a little wonky, that is all part of the sewing process! It happens! The important thing is that you totally crushed that corner seam and leveled up your sewing like a boss!
We will cover the simpler exposed seam method for this corner tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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