Obi Makeover: The Sewing and the Reveal

Project 2, part 2 – Learning New Skills is Fun! (Part 1 here)

Everything you need to make a dropcloth, apparently.

Welcome back to the obi makeover project! As predicted, this was a pleasantly quick project to finish – about 8 hours total including things like unpicking the obi and pinning up 3.5 yards of piping. I’ve never done piping before, so I leaned heavily on Treasurie’s posts on making piping and sewing it into a project. It was surprisingly easy – I just pinned bias tape around piping cord, then swapped over to a zipper foot on my sewing machine to stitch it up.

I did briefly worry that I was going to lose too much width with the piping, but there was no going back at this point.

Once the piping was sewn, I pinned it to the front of the dropcloth, and stitched it on. This whole project used only my zipper foot (and some judicious hand-sewing). Having also never used a zipper foot, I was excited to try it out!

My aunt Sue introduced me to Wonder Clips and they are just fabulous for things like this where a pin wouldn’t work.

Speaking of hand-sewing, my quilting wasn’t long enough (I only bought a yard, to be economical), so I had to stitch together two pieces to get the necessary length. Then it was time to pile it all together into a fabric sandwich and sew it all up, following the stitching lines from before and the line of the piping. I left the bottom open, then inverted it and hand-sewed it shut. A quick press with my iron later, and…done!

The piping makes it look so finished! I’m a huge fan now; I can definitely predict more piping in my future.

The final test was to pile it up with weapons…in addition to my worry about the width, I was also afraid that I’d lost too much length and that my jo (staff) wouldn’t fit. My worries, however, were unfounded:

Left to right: jo, shinai, bokken, mogito.

Everything fit! Just as planned! The bulk of the seams inside provide resistance so my jo doesn’t roll away, and the padding is more than enough to protect my weapons from the ground. I’d actually originally contemplated two layers of quilting but I’m very glad I stuck with one – I’m not sure my machine could have sewn through two, and one is plenty poofy.

Closeup of everything snuggled in nice and tight.

I’m tremendously happy with how this project finished up. The dropcloth is light enough to roll up and stash in a backpack or bag, but substantial enough to protect my gear. I wouldn’t use this outdoors without something underneath like a towel, as it’s not really washable and is definitely not waterproof. For indoor use, though, I think it will hold up quite well! Being black, it’s not too flashy, but up close the patterns give it some visual interest that would be lacking if I had gone with just a plain fabric.

Coming up on Mukashi no Sewing is another restoration project, as well as a 1960s minidress I’ll be sewing from scratch, so I look forward to seeing you here again soon!

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3 thoughts on “Obi Makeover: The Sewing and the Reveal

    1. Aww, thank you so much! I’ve never done it before but I think it looks so much more polished. Now I’m mildly obsessed, I keep trying to come up with more projects to use it on haha!


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