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Turn a LBD into your own personal fashion statement with the perfect holiday accessory: a stretchy velveteen belt adorned with a petal soft flower. Heading out to dinner from the office? Add this pretty belt to a simple soft sweater or crisp white shirt for just-right casual elegance. The beautiful, luxurious velveteen is part of Amy Butler’s newest collection: Alchemy for Rowan Fabrics. 

If you’re new to working with velvet or velveteen, take a look at our tutorial: Working with Velvet and Velveteen. This article will tell you what you need to know about nap, cutting, pressing, choosing the proper foot and more. 

Our thanks to the great folks at FreeSpirit and Rowan Fabrics for sponsoring so much holiday happiness! Each week, we’ve been bringing you a new collection from a different designer. During our first week, you met Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics and her new Amelie’s Attic collection. For Week Two, we thank Ty Pennington Impressions for allowing us to feature Ty’s new Fall 2012 Collection. During Week Three, you were surrounded by the sweet loveliness of Verna Mosquera’s Pirouette. And to cap it off, we’ve brought your the last two weeks of wonder in the new Alchemy collection from Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics. 

For this busy time of year, we created a slate of fast and easy, “do-it-in-a-day” projects. Simple yet classic creations executed in gorgeous fabrics – perfect for holiday giving and decorating, but with a beauty that will last year ’round.

Alchemy will begin appearing this month, December 2012, at participating online and in-store retailers.

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Any sewing machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6300)

Walking or Even Feed foot (optional, but helpful)

Fabric and Other Supplies

There is extra yardage figured in to allow for the fancy fussy cutting. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our handy step-by-step tutorial.

FIRST: Using your tape, measure your waist (or the position want to wear the belt if higher or lower). For our sample, we’re using a 28″ measurement so the belt can be worn above the waistline. In the photo below, we have measured on a dress form. It’s best to actually measure yourself (without the straight pins!). If it’s for a gift, you could ask or estimate based on small (25-27″), medium (28-30″), large (31-33″). The elastic provides some leeway.

Getting Started

For the ruched belt

  1. Cut ONE rectangle 4″ wide x 1½ times the length of your waist measurement plus an inch for seam allowance. We fussy cut our strip to capture the the pink floral motif. If you are new to fussy cutting, see our article How to Fussy Cut

  2. In the case of our sample, where we used a 28″ waist measurement, our equation was: 28″ x 1½ = 42″ + 1″ seam allowance and bulk for a total of 43″ in length. 
    NOTE: If your waist measurement is greater than 28″ inches and you are using a fabric that is only 44″ wide, you can simply make a seam in the back and join two pieces to make the piece long enough. The ruching will hide the seam. If you are using the velveteen we chose, it is 56″ and should be wide enough for a waist measurement up to 36″.

For the flower:

  1. If using a printed velveteen as we are in this sample, fussy cut a strip 30″ x 5″ to capture an interesting motif.
  2. From the felt, cut a circle about 2″ in diameter. We used a jar lid as a template.


At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Making the belt

  1. Fold belt strip in half lengthwise, right sides together. Pin in place

  2. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the long edge, using a walking foot if possible.
  3. Turn belt right side out using a safety pin to pull the fabric through. Push the pin through the tunnel, working it forward until you can grab it on the opposite side, and pull the belt right side out. We also have a tutorial on Turning Tiny Tubes using a hemostat.
  4. Roll the tube to center the seam to the back. Press seam open, adjusting as you go by finger pressing the seam ahead of the iron (read more about pressing velvet/velveteen in our tutorial Working with Velvet and Velveteen).
  5. Attach the safety pin to your elastic and work it through the belt. Pin one end of the elastic to the velveteen ½” from the end to keep it from pulling through.
  6. Once you have worked your elastic through, pin the opposite side in position 1½” from the edge of the fabric tube. Your elastic should end approximately ¾” from the each end of the tube.
  7. Fold back the raw edge to form a tiny hem. To do this, fold back the edge ¼” and finger press in place. Fold back and additional ¼”, encasing the raw edge in the fold. Pin in place. 
  8. Sew close to the edge (through elastic). This is a thick piece; my Janome had no trouble, but you may need to assist with your hand wheel and go slowly. 
  9. Find the wide hook and eye. Thread your hand sewing needle. Securely hand sew the hook to the underside of one end of the belt about ½” from the edge.
  10. Now, try on the belt, positioning as you would wear it. Place a pin where the eye part of the closure is most comfortable. Securely hand sew the eye to the front side of the belt at the points indicated by the orange arrows in the photo below:

Making the flower

  1. Fold your flower strip in half legthwise, right sides together and pin just the short ends. Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew these ends, backstitching at the start and finish.
  2. Turn right side out and pin the long open side closed. By hand or machine, sew a gathering stitch (or basting stitch) about ¼” from the edge. Back tack at one end only.
  3. Gather by pulling on the thread (if you used a machine basting stitch, pull on the bobbin thread) until the length of the glathered edge is 14″. Knot the thread on one end.
  4. Find your felt circle. Pin the end of the flower strip to the outer edge of the felt circle. Thread your hand sewing needle with thread to match the velveteen.
  5. Wrap your flower strip around the felt circle, spiraling smaller each time as you overlap the previous layer. Use a simple runing stitch to attach the strip to the felt. This is difficult to photograph in gray on gray. For a clear view of how to spiral the fabric onto the felt, take a look at the section “Assemble the Flower” in our Spring Flower Pins tutorial. The finished back looks like this:
  6. Fold over the bottom petals and slightly crush and spread with your hands to give the flower more of a rose petal look and to flatten flower a bit.
  7. Sew a rhinestone button in the center of the flower. This is doable, but a little awkward if you use a shank button. Our Quick Tip: Warp Speed Button Sewing will make the process faster and easier.
  8. Sew the finished flower to the belt so the flower hides the closure as shown in the photo below:



Project design, sample creation and instructions: Alicia Thommas 

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