04 November 2010

The Girdy Belt Tutorial

I've been wanting to make a belt for quite a while now. I don't know what took me so long. I really enjoyed how this came together. It was one of those projects I had a general idea of what I wanted it to look like, but hadn't figured out the minutia to the end.

Now I think I might have to make a dozen of these or so. They would go well with the Billy Cardi*. Fancy or caszh. Front or back. I'm already dreaming of other color combos and fabrics.
What you'll need for the Girdy Belt:
1/4 yard faux leather
1/4 yard of lightweight contrasting fabric
1 yard of 3" ribbon or lace

I used a dupioni silk for my contrasting fabric. I made my baby dills some dresses years and years ago and had this small piece that I knew would come in handy one of these days. I love it when I'm right. The lace came from my ebay score. It is stretchy, which may or may not be desirable. Still debating on that one. But as I was deciding how to make a closure on the belt, Ryan suggested doing something turquoise. [I love it when Ryan gets involved in my projects.] I pulled this out and it happened to be 3" wide.
click for a closer view

Cut each piece as directed in step o1

o2 First up is folding under the edges and stitching the belt itself. I would suggest not pinning the edge, as it will leave permanent holes. In fact, I didn't use any pins on this at all, for fear of visible holes in the finished piece. I tried to tape it and sew it. That I would also NOT suggest. It was just easiest to sew it with the folded edge facing up, folding it as I went. So, make sure your bobbin thread is really the color you want to show.

I stitched each edge twice: once about 3/8" in and again just barely inside the edge [aka edge stitching].

o3 One note on the gathered fabric: I did not press it after folding it lengthwise before ruffling/basting it. It gives it softer, not so straight edges. If you want a crisper look, go ahead and press before gathering.

o4 Stitch the ruffle on each side of the top piece, not the actual belt, 1/2" seam.

o5 After you've gathered or ruffled the contrasting fabric and added it to the top piece, you are going to stitch it to the belt. Even though you are stitching just one edge at a time, fold under both edges to you can more accurately place it in the center, as it's hard to tell when one side is folded under.
If you absolutely feel the need to pin it, you could pin it along the line where you will be stitching to cover up the holes.

o6 Attach the lace/ribbon on each end, trim and zig-zag stitch all layers together. I originally tried to fold the edge under and stitch it, but that many layers of the faux leather would not fit under my presser foot. Ryan asked if I needed an industrial sewing machine. I said yes. But I also need my fingers, so I was content with the finish as is.


To the side, to the side

I wish my photographer would have told me to take the lens cap out of my pocket, and that my shirt needed pressing....
Now to the front, to the front

And don't forget the back!

Special thanks to Pearl's photography.

*I am so impressed with the Billy Cardis popping up! Post your photos to the Big Dill Flickr group and I'll post a Billy Muster!


  1. So pretty! I love your tutorials, if only to think , 'wow someday I should make that.'

  2. I LOVE this! You have great fashion sense. I pretty much stick to children's clothing, but every so often I'll find something that gets me excited to sew for me.

    Have a great day,

  3. Katy - That is absolutely DARLING! I love it! I'm imagining what colors would look best on mine already. Great work!


  4. Cute! I love the idea of pairing something so fancy with a simple T & jeans - thanks!

  5. So cute! I'm loving it- thanks for the tutorial and ideas on how to wear it!

  6. Enter this belt in the belt contest at alemonsqueezyhome blog!

  7. This is fabulous. And I will for sure share this on my round-up of belts next Friday. You could enter it as well--I'm sure I won't have many as the prizes don't compare to last time, but I needed to think of something for all the fabulous Amy Butler patterns I was sent!

  8. Thanks Christie and Heather! I've entered it!

    Crossing my fingers!

  9. jeez, woman. That is gorgeous but if I tried to pull it off it would be like putting up twinkle lights on the places I want people to look away from. Do you think if I make one for my three year old people will notice I'm living vicariously through her? Then again perhaps the closet full of sweaterdresses and leggings gives that away already...

  10. So pretty! I can't wait to make one of these to go with my Billies and my abundant lack of belts (ie I just bought my first one a week ago ha)

  11. This is fantastic. Thanks so much for the tutorial.

  12. What brand of shoes are those? They are adorable and I love the color...

  13. SO NICE! By the way, I have an old school Singer like the ones in your top photo!

  14. So cute! Just never know what you will come up with next!!

  15. I love the color combo that you chose. Very cute!

  16. This is so fab!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  17. Very sweet. Thanks for the tutorial!

  18. Gorgeous! I love the colourcombinations and the lace, very beautiful. I mostly love the dress up way of wearing it.

  19. Love it! Can't wait to try. Try being the key word! Do you think it would work with something other than an imitation leather for the base? I don't think my little machine would survive!

  20. lorchick @ ON{thelaundry}LINE-that is hilarious. You're funny, but yes, I think we all live vicarious through our kids at one time or another.

    Emily-Yes, more, more, more belts! (especially when they're so inexpensive and easy to make!)

    Chane'-they are Crow Vintage-thank you.

    Marianne-that's what I tell Ryan and remind him why he enjoys being married to me :)

    Valerie-Give your sewing machine a chance, but if it's still too temperamental with the vinyl, try using a very heavy weight interfacing (usually you have to sew it in, not iron it) on both pieces, belt and top piece.

  21. Love the tutorial! The projects that start with an idea and you have no idea the process between are the best. I think it's the freedom of no rule ;) Thanks again!

  22. This is really cute! I'm going to make one for my sister's christmas present. Thanks for the tutorial. :)

  23. oh so fabulous! I have a dress that needs this belt!

  24. This is really cute and stylish. Could this be made without leather or suede?


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