One of the many selling points of a vintage-style dress is the addition of a matching or co-ordinated fabric belt with a cute buckle. But as much as I love the look, I’ve always gone for the belt-free view just to avoid the extra work. What a shirker!
Until now that is. Until I made the Sew Over It Joan Dress. Apologies up front for the lack of said Joan shots but Mr O has done a bunk again and left me void of quality photography services. She’s all class is Joan, and no selfie is going to cut it, I’m afraid. Hoping to nab some shots in the next few days, though.
I found this cute little buckle, at my first visit to the Hammersmith Vintage Fair a few years ago. I’m not entirely sure how old it is or what it’s made of but it’s a weighty metal, inlayed with tiny turquoise and teal mosaic pieces. Shamefully I don’t even know what kind of leaf it is. Sycamore, grape vine? Any Girl Guides out there? It’s not cannabis thank goodness. That would be far too tacky!
The eureka moment to use it came in tandem with another when I remembered the lovely jade green wool crepe I’d squirrelled away for a vintage Hardy Amies number that I (ahem) put into Karen’s (DidYouMakeThat) Sewlution Jar just as many moons ago. So what a result. A pattern gifted by the lovely Alex at Sew Over It, perfect fabric in stash plus the prize jewel of a perfectly coordinated buckle!
So here’s how I made it. . .
Fabric (waist measurement plus 4 inches x width to fit in buckle, plus seam allowance)
A length of Petersham waistband stiffener, 1 inch shy of fabric length and width to match
With right sides together, pin fabric along the length, marking a gap either side of the centre point for turning. Sew along length with a regular stitch and then change to a longer length stitch or basting stitch for the gap:
Trim seam but leave the full allowance along the basted section:
Roll the seam from the edge to the centre of the tube and press the seams open:
Unpick the central basting stitches to open the gap:
Turn the tube right side out, pulling each end through the central gap. You can do this by attaching a safety pin at one end and pulling through or if you don’t have one already, I wholly advise you to get one of these loop-turners! You just clip one open end and push the fabric over itself, like so:
Give a good press, making sure that seam stays open and pressing the gap closed too.
Insert the Petersham belt stiffener by attaching a large safety pin to one end and feeding through the central opening to one end. Repeat for the other end.
Ladder stitch the central and end openings closed and give another press:
Top stitch on the right side. I find the stitch-in-the-ditch foot works a treat for this:
Take a moment to admire said top-stitching. It’s the little things, you know! 😉
Fold over and hand sew one end to the buckle. All buckles differ but same in principle:
The next step is totally unsympathetic to any vintage techniques but I make no apologies because it works for me. I hand-sewed velcro to the other end to make it adjustable:
It’s foresight you see. There’ll be a few Christmas dinners before the year is out and I’m erring on the side of caution. Should have been a Girl Guide!
Hope you found this tutorial of some use I’ll be back soon to show how it in situ, on Joan!