Quick and easy gifts are in demand year ‘round! We’re here to help, bringing you a trio of cute accessories you can finish in a flash: belts, bracelets, and headbands. Stretchy elastic and some rhinestone sliders add instant sparkle and color to wrists and hairstyles. Combine gorgeous ribbon and webbing with a Slide Buckle Set to blast out a colorful belt. Speedy style – that’s what we love!
Fold -Over Elastic comes in dozens of great colors and patterns so it’s easy to mix and match. We used the Dritz ⅝” elastic that comes one yard to a card, which means, depending on the sizes you’re making, you can get up to two headbands from one carded length and up to four bracelets. You can also find the elastic in longer lengths from a variety of retailers.
For perfect gift giving, we’ve created six printables you can download for free to make your own set of cards to hold the stretchy bands. Each card has a cute saying: two for the bracelets, two for the headbands, and two you can use to carry both.
For the best look, print these designs in color on standard paper then adhere that sheet to a cardboard backing (a spray adhesive gives a smooth finish between the layers). With the cardboard as a stiffener, the bands won’t buckle the cards when stretched into place. There are crop marks on each sheet to making trimming easy.
The Dritz® Slide Buckle Set makes it super easy to create our own custom belts. We went to our favorite ribbon source: Renaissance Ribbons, for two eye-catching jacquard designs. They have collections from some of your favorite designers, like Sue Spargo, Kaffe Fassett, and Tula Pink.
The Dritz® Slide Buckle and Tips are for 1” widths, so we chose a 1” poly webbing and a ⅞” ribbon – this slight width differential frames the ribbon with webbing. The layers were stitched together with Aurifil’s monofilament thread in the top and bobbin for invisible stitching.
To figure out how much ribbon and webbing you’ll need, measure your waist or hips, depending on where you want to wear the belt, then add 10″. If you are planning to make this belt for someone else and can’t get measurements, we found several standard sizing charts. Most use the following finished lengths:
37″ Extra Small
45″ Extra Large
To determine the sizing for the Fold Over Elastic bracelets and headbands, it’s best if you can actually measure the recipient’s wrist or head. You want a snug fit so the band won’t shift when worn. To this measurement, add about 2” to account for the knot and tails. If you can’t measure before giving, in general, 8-10” is good for a bracelet starting length, and 18-20” for a headband starting length.
The smallest bracelet size could also work as a hair tie. These stretchy hair bands are very popular since they’re super easy to put on and don’t catch in or pull your hair.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Edge Guide foot; optional, but helpful for precise topstitching on the belts
Fabric and Other Supplies
Bracelets and Headbands
- ⅝” Fold Over Elastic in a variety of colors and patterns
- Dritz® Rhinestone Elastic Sliders
- Dritz® Fray Check
- Super sharp small scissors
- Iron and ironing board
- Dritz® Slide Buckle Set; each set contains one buckle and two tips
- 1⅛ – 1⅓ yards of 7⅞” wide ribbon; we used Renaissance Ribbons
- 1⅛ – 1⅓ yards of 1” wide poly webbing; a thinner webbing will make it easier to thread the buckle
NOTE: The length of both the ribbon and webbing will depend on the size of belt you are making.
- All-purpose thread to match webbing and ribbon or monofilament; we used Aurifil Monofilament in Smoke
- Fusible seam tape ½” – ¾” in width to hold ribbon and webbing together
- Dritz® Fray Check to seal the ends of the ribbon and webbing
- Measuring Tape
- Iron and ironing board
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Small pliers to crimp the tips
Bracelets and Headbands
- Remove the length of elastic from its card and lightly press to remove the visible creases. You want the elastic to be smooth and flat to start.
- Determine the length you need. As mentioned above, if you can actually measure the recipient’s wrist or head, that’s the very best option. Measure for a snug fit and then add about 2” to account for the knot and tails. If you can’t directly measure, in general, 8-10” (we used 8”) is good for a bracelet starting length, and 18-20” (we used 19”) is good for a headband starting length.
- Cut to length. In the photos below, we are showing one of the bracelets since their shorter length is easier to capture within the camera’s frame. Although our starting length was determined at 8″, we went about ½” longer to make it easier to cut the diagonal points.
- Based on your own measurements or using the list above, cut the appropriate length of ribbon and webbing. We made an Small belt and so cut 39” lengths.
- Apply a thin line of Fray Check seam sealant to the both ends of the ribbon.
- Repeat to seal both ends of the webbing.
At Your Sewing Machine & Work Station
Bracelets and Headbands
- Fold the cut length of elastic in half, right sides together, and cut the ends at a diagonal.
- Re-measure to insure you still are working with the proper length. As noted above, we cut each of our lengths about ½” longer than needed to give us some “futzing” room for the diagonal cut.
- Thread the elastic through the slider, going up and over the center bar.
- The ⅝” elastic is a nice snug fit so it will gather slightly. This is just what you want – too loose and the slide would shift from side to side when you’re wearing the band. With a snug fit, it stays put. Adjust the gathers evenly across the bar. You can see this best from the back.
- Fold the band in half again, this time wrong sides together. The diagonally cut tails should be flush.
- Grasp both ends and loop them into a single knot. It’s easiest to stretch the band a bit to get more length to worth with at the end. Cinch up the knot close to the end. The knot will stay put. In fact, although it can be done in case you make a mistake, untying the knot is kind of hard. Take the time to correctly measure so you can just knot once.
- If necessary, re-trim the tails to eliminate any frayed edges. Seal with Dritz® Fray Check seam sealant. If accuracy is an issue for you when using the sealant, make a small puddle of Fray Check on a piece of cardboard and lightly dip the ends to seal.
NOTE: If you have trouble tying the knot and your tails are really fraying, cut your starting length a bit longer, leave the ends square, then cut into a diagonal point after knotting.
- The steps are exactly the same without the slider.
- And, they are the same for the headbands, but since you are working with a longer length, the ends are even easier to tie.
- Place the length of webbing flat on your work surface.
- Lay the fusible seam tape down the center of the webbing. Finger press it place along the entire length.
- Remove the paper backing.
- Place the ribbon right side up along the webbing. Make sure the ribbon is centered side to side, which means there will be a tiny bit of webbing (1/16”) showing to either side of the ribbon.
- Fuse the ribbon in place. The ribbon will be stitched in place, so you don’t need to worry about a super firm seal. Use a pressing cloth to protect the ribbon and webbing from the heat of the iron.
- Thread the machine with thread to match the ribbon in the top and to match the webbing in the bobbin – or better yet, use a monofilament in both the top and bobbin for invisible stitching. We used Aurifil monofilament in smoke.
- Edgestitch along both sides and across both ends. We used our Janome Edge Guide foot for precise stitching.
- Slip one end of the webbing/ribbon into one tip. Slide the end all the way in so it sits up against the inside of the tip. Make sure the webbing/ribbon is centered side-to-side in the tip.
- Finger press the tip closed.
- Place the tip on a piece of batting or soft fabric.
- Wrap the batting/fabric around the metal tip.
- Crimp the tip fully closed with a pair of pliers. Be gentle, the metal is soft and could easily dent with too much pressure.
- Slip the tipped-end into the buckle.
- Flip over the buckle so you can clearly see the back. The tipped-end should be inserted through so it just clears the clamp, allowing the clamp’s teeth, when rotated into position, to bite into the webbing and not hit the metal of the tip.
- Rotate and push down the clamp so it locks into the webbing.
- Here’s a view from the side, showing the end firmly locked in place.
- Insert the opposite raw end of the webbing/ribbon into the open end of the buckle.
There is a sliding lock which should be in the “down” position – closest to the clamp. This will allow the end of the webbing/ribbon to pass through the buckle.
- Pull the end through.
- If making the belt for yourself or if you have the recipient near by, try on the belt, trimming away any excess ribbon/webbing if necessary. If you do trim, remember to re-seal the end with Fray Check.
- Attach the remaining tip to the raw end.
- Finger press and then crimp closed as above.
- When wearing the belt, adjust it for a comfortable fit then push the sliding lock into the “up” position to secure.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild, Liz Johnson