Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I actually made something and I bought a dress

I've been wanting to make a bow belt ever since I saw the tutorial over at Casey's Elegant Musings. I loved the original patent leather belt that the design was based off. I looked for some vinyl at the fabric store but they only had thick furniture weight in matte colours. I also kept a lookout when opshopping for a leather skirt or something which I could cut up and use. I didn't have much luck until the other day when I found the skinny patent belt in the picture below. I had bought the large patent belt ages ago but I didn't wear it much because it was too bulky. The colours were a perfect match so I figured I could use the small belt as the base and cut up the big one to make the bow.

I cut a strip along one side so it had one of the rows of stitching from the original belt on it. I planned to do another row of stitching along the other side but after sewing some practice bits with a leather needle and a teflon foot I wasn't sure that my machine (an 80s Brother) would cope with it. My Elna is in getting a service at the moment otherwise I would have used that. I have read that people use Supermatics to sew leather shoes together. I am impatient and I didn't want to wait the 10 or so days it will be before I get my machine back so I just decided not to do the other row of topstitching. Once I folded it up into the bow it wasn't actually that noticeable that only the top edge was stitched.

Peg to hold it while the glue was drying

I used some random glue we had at home that said it could be used on leather. Since I didn't actually have do any sewing, it was simply a matter of gluing all the pieces together and letting them dry. I glued a button in the middle because I tried a tab but the thickness of the material made the bow look all squashed and funny.

The flash on my camera makes it look like there are marks on the bow but it's just the light.

Handmade Bow Belt

I expressed my love of toile a couple of posts ago so when I saw this dress at Small Earth Vintage I just had to buy it. The exchange rate is actually quite good at the moment (for once) so browsing Etsy is dangerous.

I really need to stop slouching

I forgot to take a close-up of the toile fabric but you can see it and the belt slighter better in this picture.

I'm really pleased with the way the belt turned out. I want to make a ton more in all different colours. Maybe red next time?

I'm still working on my purple wool dress at a snail's pace. I can't seem to work up the energy to sew it quickly because, with the warmer weather, I'm probably not going to be able to wear it until next Autumn anyway.


  1. Love it! I totally vote red. Red belt on a yellow dress, now that would be warm weather appropriate! x

  2. Cute! I love a good bow belt. I made one from black cotton using a tutorial on tilly & the buttons. I think I need to make another in red! Gorgeous dress too. I bought a new vintage dress last weekend and I can't wait to wear it this weekend. It is yellow and summery! I love it.

  3. Reana Louise- Thanks. Yes! That would be perfect. I was actually planning a yellow dress for summer. Now I just need to find some red vinyl.

    Kat- Thanks. You should definitely make another one in red. Can't wait to see your new vintage dress.

  4. We've both been making belts then hehe. I LOVE that dress - Small Earth Vintage is a great seller :-) And that looks lovely on you. Bet you'll get heaps of comments when you wear it!

  5. I adore that dress on you and the bow belt is just genius! x

  6. LOVE the dress, I am sure you will get lots of wear out of it too! I am assuming you want a fire engine-ish red as opposed to say an ox blood red?

  7. Esz- Yes, beltmaking is fun. They sure are, I pretty much want to buy everything in the Small Earth Vintage shop. Thanks.

    Vix- Thanks. I want to make a whole pile of bow belts now.

    Brumby- Thanks. Yeah, I was hoping to find a shiny, patent-y fire engine red. I think they have some vinyl in at Fabric Vision at the moment so I thought I would have a look there.

  8. O,bloody hell I love that frock!!! You just look TOO delicious in it!!! Etsy is EVIL! I really want a 30's frock,but it's over $200 and I just can't justify that!!!
    The belt is fantastic!!I have a lovely bow belt that Vix sent me,I must wear it!maybe with the frock I bought at Two Squirrels today.......!!!

  9. That belt looks very nice with the dress. I actually made a belt with Casey's instructions, but it's not very good. I made it from genuine leather and it would have needed sturdy supportive material inside. Even though I used the leather in double, it is so soft that it folds in half when I wear it. I'm not satisfied how it turned out, perhaps I need to do some fiddling with it. Maybe replace the backside leather with sturdy vinyl or something...

  10. love the belt and the dress even more!