A few people have requested a tutorial on making a bow belt like the one I made for The Birthday Party Dress. Why certainly!
It really was very simple (well, once I discarded the cryptic instructions and blagged it) so I hope that maybe some readers who haven't sewn anything before might give this a whirl. You don't really even need a sewing machine! Reading blogs inspired me to start sewing this year and I'd love to think that I could get other people interested in it in turn. With that in mind, I'm going to make these instructions fairly detailed - more experienced sewers will be able to wizz through it.
This is a great way of using up bits of leftover fabric. And it can transform an outfit. Last night I went to a party in honour of the 50th anniversary of Breathless and used this belt to add a chic touch to an old B&W stripey top. Ooh la la! Right, enough waffling, on with the tutorial:
1. Cut out three pieces of fabric to the following measurements:
Belt - your waist size + 4" x 4"
Bow - 12" x 4.5"
Knot - 3" x 3"
2. Cut out interfacing the length of your belt minus 1", by 1.5" width. Position it on the wrong side (if you're using a printed fabric) of the belt as show above - so the bottom edge is along the centre lengthways, with 0.5" seam allowances above and on the sides. Iron or baste onto the belt.
3. Fold the belt in half lengthways, right sides together, so you end up with the interfacing on the outside.
4. Stitch the seam edges with a 0.5" seam allowance (ie. 0.5" from the edges of the fabric), leaving one side open so you can turn the fabric inside out. Trim down the seam edges.
5. Turn the belt right side out so the interfacing is on the inside. This is easier said than done! I think you can get special implements for this, but I used a knitting needle. Put the stitched end of the belt on the blunt end of the needle and slowly shimmy the... er... sheath down the length of the needle (ahem). Once it's about half way on, you should be able to turn the rest right side out quite easily. Now slip stitch the free end and press (iron) the fabric nice and smooth.
6. Fold the bow in half lengthways, right sides together, and stitch along the long edge with a 0.5" seam allowance. Trim seams, turn right side out and stitch the ends shut (you don't need to slip stitch these as you they won't be on show). Fold the edges in to the centre of the bow (you can mark this with a pin - see above). Hand baste a few long stitches along this centre line through all thicknesses of the fabric, leaving some thread loose either end, then pull the thread to gather the fabric together a bit, and stitch again but this time a bit tighter to hold the gathers in place.
7. Fold the knot in half, right sides together, and stitch along the long edge with a 0.5" seam allowance. Trim seams and turn right side out. Position the seam to the centre of the underside and press, then arrange the knot around the gathered middle of the bow and stitch in place, catching in some of the bow fabric.
8. Sew two hooks onto the back of one end of belt.
9. Sew corresponding eyes onto the other end. Because I'm a classy kinda lady, I've put two sets of eyes onto mine for pre- and post-lunch roomage options. Oh yes! Sew the bow onto the end with the hooks on (on the opposite side).
If you've made a bow belt, I'd love to see it - leave a link in the comments below or email me...