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Reversible Ribbon Belt

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Belts are fun to make. They're fast and easy, and use just a tiny bit of fabric or, in this case, just a few yards of ribbon! This particular project is double the fun because the belt is reversible. We show you two different ways to stitch and turn so the belt ends are finished and the side seams super flat. Try one for your own wardrobe, as a gift for any occasion, or as an item to make and sell.

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

39" Small

41" Medium

43" Large

45" Extra Large

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Cut both ribbons to your finished length plus 1" for seams. We made a small belt, so we cut both ribbons to 40".
  2. Place the ribbons right sides together, aligning all the edges.
  3. Pin together at one end.
  4. 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.
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  5. Turn right side out and lightly press the seam.
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  6. Thread the sewn ribbon through the belt buckle.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Stitch a vertical seam as close to the buckle as possible. We were able to get about 1¼" from our center buckle bar.
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    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.
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  10. 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.
  11. Flip the two un-sewn ends of the ribbon so they are right sides together.
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  12. 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".
  13. Turn right side out. Your belt is now secured on both ends and open on both sides.
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  14. Using your Zipper foot in order to get as close to the ribbon edges as possible, edgestitch along one side.
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  15. And the other.
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  16. Press lightly. Wear one side today, reverse and wear the other side tomorrow.

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. Once both sides are stitched to within 3" from the end, trim the ends as needed so they are perfectly flush.
  3. Twist the ribbon so it is right sides together and stitch the ends together with the ½" secured seam as described above.
  4. 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.

Online Resources:










Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5200 and the Baby Lock Melody.


Comments (10)

TATA said:
TATA's picture

I chose several ribbons from Renaissance for holiday gifts.  What would someone suggest for belts worn on the hips or lower waist by the young women.  Size???

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ TATA - the sizes we listed above are the ones we found to be most standard:

37" Extra Small

39" Small

41" Medium

43" Large

45" Extra Large

Kirstin said:
Kirstin's picture
I LOVE your idea wordygirl. It's green, it's personal.. fantastic. Who wouldn't want to get a gift wrapped in a gift using the beautiful ribbons used in this belt. smilies/cheesy.gif
wordygirl said:
wordygirl's picture
I'm loving the idea of making a gorgeous belt and wrapping it around another gift--the belt is the bow is a 2nd gift!
PNW said:
PNW's picture
Jacquard ribbon like Sew4home used is more expensive than say a grosgrain, or printed ribbon. I've used Renaissance jacquard ribbon and they are gorgeous. A belt like this would cost a LOT to buy in the store. It's fantastic! I'm going to make a bunch to have hand for gifts (and for myself smilies/cheesy.gif)
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Michele K - There are certainly less-expensive ribbons out there, and you can use any type. The Renaissance Ribbons are super high quality and you can find various designs from as little as $2.35/yd upwards to $6.50/yd. The good thing is you only need a little over a yard for each side.