A Japanese Kimono inspired needle roll pattern with plenty of pictures.
What you need
Fabric 1 yard in two prints and odd scraps.
3 yards of Ribbon
1.) Starting with paper, make a template for the pieces of the needle roll. Use some sort of paper first, that way you don’t make mistakes on your fabric.
2.) Pin templates to fabric as follows: Exterior body and interior flap are fabric A. Interior body and exterior flap are fabric B. Main interior pocket will be fabric C, and Bottom pocket and outer “Obi” (the strip of fabric that wraps around the exterior to look like a kimono sash) are fabric D.
I used four different fabrics, but it isn’t necessary. (Do what looks good!)
Cut out all fabric.
Also, you want to cut two strips of ribbon for the outside of the wrap, and two for the inside, plus one more to serve as the tie. All the pieces, except for the last one, will be cut to fit the width of the needle roll. (I used 21″)
Cut the ribbon that will serve as the tie longer than the width of the roll. When it is folded in half, it should be long enough to wrap around the finished rolled and tie into a bow.
3.) Starting with the main pocket (the diagonal cut one): Fold a seam on the diagonal, and iron it down to make sewing easier. Pin ribbon to the diagonal. Using a thread that matches the ribbon color, stitch the ribbon in place.
4.) Next, take the rectangle that will serve as the bottom pocket, and repeat the above step with another ribbon.
5.) Take diagonal cut fabric and pin to interior panel, ribbon side facing up. Using a water soluble pencil and a ruler, make marks on the top and bottom of the diagonal fabric at 1.5″ intervals, keeping in mind seam allowances. After marking top and bottom, use a ruler to connect each line. Using the chalk marks as a guide, sew along each line. (This makes the long thin needle pockets.)
6.) Pin what will be the bottom pocket to the bottom of the diagonal pocket. Using the diagonal pocket as a reference, draw a line every three or so spaces. Sew along the drawn lines. IMPORTANT: make sure when you sew your lines you are on top of a previously sewn line, otherwise you are going to sew through your previously made needle pockets.
7.) Take the fabric panel that will be the “Obi” Fold the seams and iron them, making the obi as wide as you want. Find the center of the exterior body panel and position the obi over it. Take the two ribbons designated for the outside of the roll, and pin them, and the obi, to the fabric panel. The ribbons should be pinned along the top and bottom edge of the obi, so that it slightly hides the seam. Sew through each ribbon, fastening the obi to the panel.
8.) Assemble the needle roll. Place both exterior and interior panels together, wrong sides facing out. Take the ribbon that will serve as the tie, fold it in half, and position it in the center of one side of the roll. Pin it so that the ribbon is sandwiched inside the panels, leaving only a little loop made by the fold sticking out of the side.
9.) Starting near a corner sew all the way around the edge of the two panels, as if sewing a pillow case. Leave a few inches open, for turning. Trim excess fabric and clip the ends of the corners.
10) Turn work right side out. Using a pencil (or a knitting needle) push all the corners out and to a point. Using a hot iron, carefully iron entire roll to create crisp edges. Fold in the fabric around the open hole and starting there, sew around the roll one more time, to give the edges more definition.
11.) The flap is saved for last because it is smarter to adjust the size of the flap to match the roll, rather than the other way around. (During the sewing process, your roll’s dimensions will change!) Sew the flap, wrong sides out, just like a pillow case, leaving one of the short sides completely open. Trim the excess and turn the fabric out. Iron it flat, and using the needle roll as a reference, fold the seams inward until it is the same width as the roll. Starting with the folded opening, Sew a seam around the outer edge of the flap.
12.) Pin the flap to the top interior of the body. The lining fabric should face down, and the fabric that matches the exterior should be facing up. Sew along the top edge.
The stitch marker strap is really easy to put in. You can use ribbon, or like I used, the elastic straps used for bras and camisoles. (I bought a scrap bag that had a ton of that stuff.) Use snaps to attach it to the diagonal pocket and more snaps to make the loop that will hold the markers. You don’t need any special equipment for the snaps I used, but there is a holder that makes the job a whole lot easier! (Pictured.)
Make sure your strap is long enough to fit into one of the bottom pockets.
Also, depending on the fabric you use, you might want to add interfacing. I didn’t, and my needle roll, made mostly of stretch fabric, is a little floppy. Voila! Done!
This project was contributed by Christina Donaghy who spends her time knitting and sewing, and taking care of her two kids.