Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY Beaded Ribbon & Elastic Belt

So here we are, 23 days into the new year and I'm, oh, 30 days behind. I made this belt for a dress I bought on sale at Anthropologie for Christmas Eve. It's a pretty dress that I justified buying because a) sale, duh, and b) I can cross seasons with it (wedges in the spring! tights and booties in the winter!), but it was just missing a certain je ne sais quoi when paired with the year's fanciest holiday season.

And then I decided it was missing a belt. Anthropologie had a few, but I was envisioning something silver and they just didn't have one I loved. Plus I wasn't totally willing to pay upwards of $40 for a strip of fabric that really isn't all too versatile. I wasn't really sure where I was going with this, and in hindsight I can see a few areas for improvement, but overall this was an easy project and the end result looks all right.

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Silver beaded belt & sparkly earrings

Here's what you'll need:

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1 roll of wide ribbon in the color of your choosing
1 package of elastic, thick enough to give the belt some stability but thinner than the ribbon's width (color: up to you, it will only be showing in the back)
1 snap, or more if you want to make the size adjustable
Sewing machine
Sewing needle & thread (for beads)
Optional: decorative button & hot glue gun

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Measure around your waist (or hips) where you'd like the belt to sit and cut the elastic to this size, minus an inch, and cut two pieces of ribbon about three to four inches shorter than your measurement.

Pin the ends of the ribbon.

Pin the elastic to one of the strips of ribbon at the top, place the other ribbon on top and then add a few pins down the middle to secure it before you sew.

This is what mine looked like pre-sew.

I used the sewing machine for this part and didn't put too much effort into making it straight or clean looking (again, there are areas for improvement on this project). I did sew through the elastic so that it wouldn't move or stretch, except for the back part where it will snap closed.

I don't have process photos, but I hand-stitched beads to the front part of the belt. I did each "column" of beads at varying lengths and tied the thread on the back side. This way, if the thread of one column breaks, only a few beads will fall off at once and can be easily repaired. You could switch the bead design here, use sequins or even a strip of lace for a different look.

Button from Joann's

On the back, I folded over the ends of the elastic and sewed them to clean up the ends, then sewed on the snap pieces to each side. For a finishing touch, I hot-glued a rhinestone button on the outside because a snap isn't the prettiest of closures. Because I advised cutting the elastic a bit shorter than the waist measurement (and then folded over the ends), it stretches a bit and holds well in place, but it shouldn't be too snug!