I struggled to make a satisfactory rouleau loop for years and dodged any sewing patterns that involved spaghetti straps, button loops, ties and such decoration. Determined to get the technique nailed for my Vogue Liberty silk dressing gown, I rehearsed the following method with great results. I hope this works for you too!
STEP 1: First make a paper template (or you can mark directly onto the fabric.) Your strips should measure 2.5cm/1” wide and however long you need.
Cut the strip(s) on the bias grain.
STEP 2: With right sides together, fold your strips in half length-wise and pin in position. Even if you are not using slippery fabric, the bias strips will have a will of their own!
STEP 3: Sew a quarter inch/6mm seam along the pinned edge, removing pins and stretching the fabric slightly as you sew.
TIP: start sewing a little way in from the edge so the fabric doesn’t get chewed up by the feed dog (fig 1) Sew to end and then turn your work around, working over the last couple of stitches and sew to end. (fig 2)
Leave a long tail of thread at the end (about 10cm/4”)
STEP 4: Trim your seam, close to the stitching line.
Tie the long tails of thread to the eye of a longish needle with a big eye or a bodkin and push up through the tube – eye first – to turn right side out. Cut the threads from the needle.
And there you have it . . . Rouleau loops made simple!
Do let me know if you found the layout of these instructions helpful. I sometimes struggle with photographed instructions and I find illustrated steps are easier to follow but that might just be me!
I generally don’t have a go-to order for dressmaking. My thought processes vary according to mood, need and weather. Sometimes choosing pattern first and then pairing an appropriate fabric, sometimes the other way round, especially if I’m fabric shopping in real shops and then an idea will spring to mind while I’m stroking and bouncing and draping and holding all the materials aloft. The latter is a dangerous game though, and hasn’t helped stash mountain at all!
But when Minerva approached me with some Liberty silk offerings I was quick to choose which fabric but wasn’t so quick to pair a pattern. What a gift! But wow… what a blooming responsibility! What pattern would best showcase this heavenly fabric?
I needed a project with damage limitations. It had already arrived at a super work-busy point in time and there was only room for assignment within small allocated time-slots throughout the weeks.
Mood and need and weather came to the fore. I was so tired of shuffling round the house in my tatty old dressing gown. Sometimes I don’t even bother getting out of it to work – there’s actually no need when I’m working from home and nobody is going to see me. But a silk robe would have me sitting more upright, feeling so much better about myself, plus it’s getting warmer so I really don’t need to be enveloped in velour anymore. I had a need to swan around in silk! And a robe would be simple, right?!
In an ideal world I’d have drafted the pattern myself. I’m getting quite fond of the maths. But with time not on my side that wasn’t going to be a great option because it would need toiling, too. So a quick scout on the web presented me with V8888. A delightful selection of nightwear to accompany a very stylish robe. I ordered it from Minerva.
I also ordered a very large cutting mat and a new blade for my Fiskars rotary cutter. I’ve worked with silk satin only once before and it was a slippery beast. My scissors slid around the dining room table and I was cursing at every snip. But weighted down and cut slowly and carefully with said cutter, this time I had no problems at all. I was amazed at how little it frayed, especially with all the extra handling involved. Most of the seams except for the armholes are sewn with a French seam. And because I only had one shot of this, I checked and double-checked and triple-checked each side and pairing of seams before sewing. It was totally worth it of course because the inside is so neat and the robe so much stronger as a result.
I chose the longer sleeves for the shorter version of the robe. Because I like that look and it’s way more classy. The shorter sleeves involved a band of lace at the hem and that would have been far too fussy for the design of this fabric. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
But I had not anticipated all the rouleau loops. Haha. There was me, thinking simple robe tied at the waist with a belt. The belt was actually such a joy to make and press. So satisfying. But the loops I left for another day. And another day. Until I didn’t really have many days left to submit the finished article!
So I cracked on. And fell at the first hurdle. My smallest loop turner was too fat. The smallest drinking straw I had in the kitchen drawer (for the drinking straw/kebab stick trick) was too fat as well. So I remembered a trick my mum taught me, by tying the long threads left at the end of the seam to the end of a bodkin, or large-eye needle, and pulling through, eye of needle first. So satisfying that I was weirdly excited to do the rest and even made a little graphic tutorial for my sister in law!
There are two inside ties – one front left and the other inside right side seam. There are two belt loops inset on each side seam and there is a thread loop at the right front opening. I’m thinking of doing a tutorial for that too as it was quite fun to do.
I am so grateful to Minerva for the opportunity to sew with this fabric because it has definitely delivered some more valuable experience as well as a super luxurious wfh outfit! I must admit I was terrified of cutting into it at first but once I got going, any fear was allayed, largely due to the quality of those threads. It’s so stable, on grain and not at all like the silk I previously sewed that was fragile enough to catch on the rough skin of my hands! Liberty silk is most definitely worth its price point.
And just to note, it does make me sit straighter, it feels amazing to wear and it has got me out of doing the washing up!
Daniel is of course the man behind the lens and this was such a fun shoot. The look on my daughter’s face was priceless when she poked her head around the bedroom door to see what we were up to. Even more so when Dan said ‘Its not what it looks like’!! Haha. We are so doing our best at being embarrassing parents!
Please note: I am an Ambassador for Minerva and the fabric was given to me free of charge in exchange for a review. I purchased the pattern and all notions required. To see the original article and more of my Minerva Makes. Please visit my Minerva profile.