Thanks to our friends at Renaissance Ribbons for providing the stunning designer ribbon for this project. At the end of the article is a handy "Where to Buy" list of retailers who carry Renaissance.
To figure how much ribbon 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 her measurements, we found several standard sizing charts. Most use the following finished lengths:
37" Extra Small
45" Extra Large
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 2160DC)
- Zipper foot (optional, but very helpful for getting in close)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1¼ yards of 1½" wide ribbon for side A: we used Pink/Green Kaffe Fasset's Pink/Green designer ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons
- 1¼ yards of 1½" wide ribbon for side B: we used Laura Foster Nicholson's Black Fun Square designer ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons
- ONE oval lucite buckle with a 1½" center bar: we used a black oval ribbon buckle from Renaissance Ribbons
- All purpose thread in colors to match both ribbons
- Measuring tape
- Seam gauge
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Cut both ribbons to your finished length plus 1" for seams. We made a small belt, so we cut both ribbons to 40".
- Place the ribbons right sides together, aligning all the edges.
- Pin together at one end.
- Stitch this end, using a ½" seam allowance. Re-stitch the seam two to three times to reinforce as this seam will be a stress point against the center bar of the buckle.
NOTE: The beautiful ribbon we used is a woven jacquard, which means, once cut, it is prone to raveling. To protect my seam, after stitching, I went back and used a tight zig zag about ¼" in width to secure the threads. Finally, I trimmed any remaining threads right up against the zig zag.
- Turn right side out and lightly press the seam.
- Thread the sewn ribbon through the belt buckle.
- Adjust so your sewn seam sits against the buckle's center bar. Then align the ribbon wrong sides together. It must be VERY even and flat.
- Pin the ribbon together at the top near the buckle.
NOTE: If you use two ribbons that are very different in color, as we did, decide which ribbon will be on the top and which will be on the bottom during sewing and thread your sewing machine accordingly. For example, I decided I would sew with the green Kaffe Fasset ribbon on top, so I used matching green thread as my top thread and a black to match the Laura Foster Nicholson ribbon in my bobbin.
- Stitch a vertical seam as close to the buckle as possible. We were able to get about 1¼" from our center buckle bar.
NOTE: If you have a zipper foot, this will help you help you get as close as possible. But, you will still need to manipulate the buckle to keep it out of the way. I did it by stopping, with my needle in the down position, and adjusting the buckle as necessary.
- Carefully align your two un-sewn ribbon tails. It is very important that the two lengths of ribbon are even, the edges are flush and there are no twists anywhere along the way. You may need to trim one end or the other to make sure they are flat and even.
- Flip the two un-sewn ends of the ribbon so they are right sides together.
- Stitch these ends together exactly as you did above: stitch a ½" seam allowance, re-stitch two-three times for strength, overcast the raw edges of the seam allowance and trim to ¼".
- Turn right side out. Your belt is now secured on both ends and open on both sides.
- Using your Zipper foot in order to get as close to the ribbon edges as possible, edgestitch along one side.
- And the other.
- Press lightly. Wear one side today, reverse and wear the other side tomorrow.
Hints and Tips
An optional way to stitch the sides
Sometimes, ribbon can slip and slide as you're sewing. If you are worried about the feeding system on your machine keeping the layers even, here's another option for construction.
- After Step #9 above, don't stitch the ends first. Instead, edgestitch one side together and then the other, stopping about 2-3" from the end on each side. Stitch the same direction on each side. This is possible because you are using a Zipper foot, which allows your needle position to be either left or right, depending how you attach the foot. Any 'slipping' that is going to happen will all be forced one direction, towards the end of the belt.
- Once both sides are stitched to within 3" from the end, trim the ends as needed so they are perfectly flush.
- Twist the ribbon so it is right sides together and stitch the ends together with the ½" secured seam as described above.
- Twist back right sides out and finish each side seam.
Where To Buy Renaissance Ribbons and Buckles
Renaissance provided us with a selection of six online retailers and one store who carry good selections of their beautiful ribbons. The ribbon we used is brand new, so it may not be featured in all outlets.
TREADLE YARD GOODS
ST. PAUL, MN
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5200 and the Baby Lock Melody.