Wednesday, 23 June 2010

How to Make a Bow Belt


This bow belt will add a gorgeous finishing touch to your homemade dresses and skirts. Make it in matching or contrast fabric - it's a great way to use up leftover material. 

You will need:
- fabric (the amount you need will vary depending on the measurements of your pattern, below)
- matching thread
- iron-on interfacing (similar weight to your fabric)
- two sets of hooks and eyes
- sewing machine and tools

To make the belt, start by drawing the pattern pieces on some paper to the following measurements:

Belt: length is half of your waist size, plus 5cm (2in) (cut on fold), by width of 11cm (4 3/8in)
Bow: 30 x 12cm (12 x 4 3/4in)
Knot: 8 x 8cm (3 x 3in)


1. Cut one of each piece in your fabric, cutting your belt on the fold so it ends up double the length. Cut iron-on interfacing to the length and half the width of the belt pattern, and apply it to the wrong side of the bottom half of the belt.


2. Fold the belt in half lengthways, right sides together, and press. Pin, then sew along the long side and one of the short sides, leaving one short side unsewn. Snip the corner, trim the seams and press them open.


3. Turn the belt right sides out so the interfacing is on the inside. I find a chopstick (or similar) helps here. Hold the smooth end of the chopstick against the stitched short end of the belt, then gradually smooth the wrong side of the belt over it. It'll bunch up more and more, and feel like a bit of a chore for a while, but eventually you'll see the end of the belt emerge out of the top of the tube. Grab this end, discard the stick, and gently pull it through (don't yank it too hard!) so the belt turns right side out.


4. Right now the belt looks a little like a deflated snake. Let's sharpen it up. First we need to make the corners look a bit more like corners - use a pin to gently coax out the point. Now give the belt a good press, rolling the seam line a tiny bit to the non-interfaced side of belt. Fold the seam allowance of the unsewn edge inside the belt, and either topstitch or slip stitch the end closed.


5. Fold the bow in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew along the long edge. Trim the seams and press them open. Turn the bow right sides out and press, with the seam line in the centre of the piece. Place the short ends of the bow together and topstitch them together to form a loop (the ends won't be on show). Position these topstitched ends in the centre of the loop and press the bow flat.

Make up the knot in the same way, but don't sew the ends together.


6. Pinch the centre of the bow into a concertina shape. Wrap the knot tightly around the bow and pin the ends of the knot together to hold the bow in place. Sew the ends of the knot together, either by machine or hand, trimming off any excess fabric if need be.


7. Hand sew the bow onto the front of the right-hand end of the belt, catching the bow and knot pieces with the stitches. Hand-sew two hooks onto the underside of the right-hand end of the belt. Try the belt on, mark the positions for the corresponding eyes on the front of the left-hand end, then hand sew them on.


Beautiful!

love at first stitch

This is an updated version of a tutorial which appears in Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes (Quadrille, 2014) - you can order a signed copy from Tilly's shop or regular one from Amazon
Photos by Arielle Gamble

55 comments:

  1. Oh yay! Love the bow belt, thanks for sharing your tutorial! You're right, it could transform an everyday outfit as well as look great on a dress.
    To use up leftover fabric - I like to give it a secret second life as facings, pocket bags on the inside of garments. I save all my scraps for pulling out later on! Although, I usually think something like this belt needs its own fabric, so I wouldn't have thought of making it out of leftovers, what a good suggestion!

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  2. Thanks Tilly! I am going to make one to go with the dress I am making when my cast comes off. It is a great tutorial!

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  3. Thanks! Sorry about the rather rubbish photos - only just noticed how bad the light is. Chiaroscuro, if you will...

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  4. Yay! Thanks heaps for this tutorial. I have not stopped thinking about how much I need a bow belt in my wardrobe since you posted your dress. I am definately making one of these as soon as I get back from my holiday.

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  5. Excellent tutorial Tilly, you make it all look so easy!

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  6. Tilly, this is fantastic! I shall be making one immediately.

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  7. Adorable! If I have something to go with it, I'll make this belt!

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  8. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Thanks a lot for a great tutorial.

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  9. This is also now going on my to-sew list! Love the tutorial Tilly dear!

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  10. I love it, I can't wait to try it out, thank you for sharing

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  11. Thanks Tilly! Will definitely be using this tute. Monique xx

    blog | originalmischief.blogspot.com

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  12. Absolutely gorgeous and you make it look so simple. Love the 'shimmy' instruction. And you're my kind of Sewist - pre and post-lunch options. Perfect!

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  13. Your blog is super cute! I love this tutorial!
    I also admire how you make so many cute outfits w/ your patterns. I bought one not too long ago, but I am so afraid I'll mess up.. However, you're becoming a big time inspiration for me hehe

    =)

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  14. Lovely idea! I think I'll make one for myself, so thank you! :)

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  15. Wow! Thanks so much for the tutorial - especially love the fact that you added pre and post lunch options haha!

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  16. Very nice! I've seen the bow construction before, but I would've never thought to hide the belt fastening under the bow! So seamless, so sweet! This would made a great headband, too.

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  17. the perfect little bow belt... i will ahve to give this a try, thanks for possting! :)

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  18. Oh thank you, I intend to do it, major thumbs and toes up for your soundtrack of choice too xx

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  19. Great tutorial, and a super, super cute bow belt. It looks great on you, too! :)

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  20. YAY!!!! I am so excited! I am so making this for my outfits! can't wait to hear more about the Breathless event!

    By the way, I never made it to the V&A exhibit :-( ...didnt have enough time after I arrived....fooey. Ah well, means I'll have to come down for another cool exhibit soon! :-)

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  21. couldn't figure out how you did the bow... then I saw the tut and was like duh. Really pretty, great colors!

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  22. saw this from wardrobe refashion..love it! i'm totally making lots of these!

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  23. That is so cute and versatile- I love this! I just clicked over from Craft. I would love to link to this if you didn't mind.

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  24. Very cute. So classic. :)

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  25. What a lovely little belt! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-vintage-inspired-bow-belt/2010/07/31/

    --Anne

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  26. SEW simple! LOL (sorry very cheesey) Just finished making it and after finding interfacing completed in about 1/2 an hour. LOVE IT SOOOOOOO MUTCH! thanks! Becky♥

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  27. Wow, someone's actually made it! Becky, I can't find your email address but if you read this I'd love to see the belt you made...

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  28. This is such perfect timing for me. I picked up an adorable dress at a thrift store this weekend, but alas, it was missing a belt!

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  29. I made the belt! Yay! It turned out wonderful. Thanks for the tutorial Tilly! The details are on my blog and I linked back to you:

    http://www.whatsupcupcakeblog.com/2010/11/mad-men-peggy-dress.html

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  30. I am in love with this. I recently made a black one out of these horrible black vinyl pants I had and I'm getting ready to make a gold one. =)

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. Tilly, you are so adorable, I love yours blog so much! Nice work, great ideas.You are inspiring me!

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  33. Found you on a link from AllFreeSewing.com. This is a great idea for my retro 20-something daughter. She's impossible to shop for! Her birthday's coming up so now I have a start on her present! Thanks so much. I'll be keeping an eye on what you're doing!! LOL!

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  34. This is sooo cute, I love your blog! Following for sure!

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  35. I just made one! Thanks for the tutorial!

    http://www.refugeecrafter.com/2011/03/another-belt.html

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  36. Amei a ideia e seu blog.
    estou te seguindo, e voltarei sempre.
    aprendizdecostura

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  37. so amazing. def going to try. thanks.

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  38. sooo cute. this is my favorite fabric belt tutorial I have found! I featured it on my blog here:

    http://raspberriesandruffles.blogspot.com/2011/06/fabric-belts.html

    Keep up the good work!
    -Katherine

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  39. I made one :) thanks for sharing the tutorial tilly! I love it I will definitely be making more....

    http://fashbrickroad.blogspot.com/2011/10/bow-belt-how-to-link.html

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  40. A quick question for you Tilly...

    Of course, ambitious old me decided to make a few of these for Xmas presents this year. Only problem - I don't know the exact waist measurements of my friends! Any suggestions of how to make this appropriately sized for all?

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  41. Hi Stitchybritt

    If you can subtly find out their dress size, you could make it to the waist measurement of that standard size. For example, a UK size 10 waist is 61cm, size 12 is 66cm, and so on in increments of 5cm.

    It's also a good idea to have more than one set of hooks and eyes so they've got options!

    You could also use a different closure method that's a bit more flexible for sizing, such as a strip of velcro.

    Hope this helps!

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  42. Thanks for this Tilly! I think I'll try a few sets of hooks+eyes at their dress size waist, I think velcro might look a bit funny. Will let you know how it goes!

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  43. Hey Tilly! Again me. Thanks for your bow-belt-tutorial.

    Now, there's one more bow in Germany. Have a wonderful christmas!

    http://frautipmatic.blogspot.com/2011/12/teil-ohne-namen.html

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  44. Hiya Tilly! Guess what I made?

    http://stitchybritt.blogspot.com/2011/12/bow-belt.html

    I actually stitched the hooks on but not the eyes, I'm leaving them until my Mum opens the gift on Xmas day so that I can 'tailor' them to fit best.

    Thanks Tilly!

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  45. hi i like your tutorial. just had one question what do you call this white tape exactly?

    thanx shienie

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  46. Hi Shienie, do you mean the white stuff stuck on the fabric? That's interfacing. It stiffens the fabric slightly on things like belts, collars and cuffs. It comes on a big sheet and you iron it onto the fabric (or sometimes stitch it on). Hope this helps!

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  47. LOVE bow belt (& Collete’s bow fasteners on blouse back),but, an easier way to turn belt to right side:trim seam;sew round shoelace end-to-end to belt,leaving 1/2"inside belt (a safety pin on inner lace helps later);Cut off end, push lace/pin thru & pull. Magical! Finish right side.r

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  48. Hey, that's really cute, thanks for this tutorial! Here is my belt - finally: http://nina.dreep.de/2013/02/my-tilly-and-the-buttons-bow-belt/ :)

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  49. gourgeous! I can´t wait to make my own cuz I´ve been wanting one for a long time and now that I started sewing I see the world of possibilities!

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  50. I think I've found a pretty addition for a dress I'm making. Would look great with some other wardrobe staples too. Thanks for this!

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