Recently, a new belt design has become fashion: a wide belt, often with sequin-ornamented lace combined with a skirt, often a pleated skirt.
Basically, this belt has a "banana shape" following the round parts of the body. The widest part in the back may be 28 - 35 cm (11 - 15 inches), becoming more narrow towards the front.
The belt must be considerably less wide than the skirt, and the proportions have to be considered.
As cover, you can apply ready-made sequin lace (expensive), but its handling is a bit tough. Some machine needles may break before the precious piece is finished, and the loose sequins and beads along the edges have to be fixed or they get lost. Sometimes, this material is scratching along interior seams, especially inside the top and the gauntlets.
In most cases, I search for a nice lace without sequins, which is sometimes quite inexpensive. This is lined perhaps with a contrasting color (Jersey). Instead of lace, you can apply gold or silver brocade. Or elastic velvet, of which I prefer the more expensive quality; but the cheaper one is also ok. You can embroider and ornament this velvet as you like.
Now first decide where the belt shall be closed: at the side or in the middle. Then cut a normal body as for an Egyptian belt and try on to find out, whether you need any darts.
Then place this belt with the outside on the lace or elastic velvet. If it is elastic, it has to stretch in the width. Now decide on the approximate length and cut (incl. seam allowance). Cut the lining material (Jersey?) to the same shape, of the cheaper elastic velvet I simply take two layers.
This cloth is sewn on the belt body, with the top and side edges folded over and fixed. If you use the machine for this, the stitches are visible, so in most cases I sew it by hand, it is not that much work.
Now you may wonder: why such an inlay for the belt?
Because it provides enough stability; in my opinion, a belt merely consisting of the cover would not have the required stability.
And why not enhance the complete belt? That would change the "flow" of the cloth and it would be difficult to make darts or to gather up the belt in the front part.
However, you should consider one thing beforehand: the inlay is slightly visible from outside under a unicolor cover, such as elastic velvet, its contours appear. It is advisable to hide it under fringes or well placed embroidery.
Now try the precious piece on, it should sit perfectly along the top edge. In this state, it may rather resemble a mini flared skirt, but don't worry: in most cases, the belt is too long in the front and can be shortened here a bit. At the same time you can check whether the length plus seam allowance is okay. Then, darts have to be pinned along the bottom edge, in most cases app. 5 - 7 cm (2,5 - 3 inches) are enough, evenly distributed all around. It is up to you whether you finish the darts by hand or machine.
The bottom edge is folded over and fixed.
Then you can start the embroidery. I use to follow the design of the lace, mostly any flower ornaments or florish. Enhancing these design features is enough, no need to embroider too tightly.
Rhinestones have a very nice effect if glued in loose distribution or in selected points.
Both ends in the front are gathered up, which has a very nice effect. For this purpose, I use my beloved button hole yarn, I pull it through, gather the end up to the desired width and sew it fix (very tightly). Then I place the gathered end on the bottom part next to the underlapping end.
I have come to the decision to sew the bottom ends of the belt together and to step in. So I am sure that nothing "important" is visible. The fastener consists of 2 hooks and eyes and 2 thick snap fasteners on the gathered end.
I like to make my own big sequin ornament to be placed on the fastener (plus sometimes a smaller one for the middle of the top). It is nice to have fringes along the bottom edge of this ornament, so that the belt fastener is almost invisible.
Now decide where you will apply fringes, and how many. You can fix some only to the ornaments, along the bottom edge of the belt, and/or in diagonal lines on the (interior) belt body. In my opinion, it is not advisable to sew them only on the thin lace or cover material, at some point of time it will rip. Most common are 10 cm (4 inches) fringes for this belt design. Proposal: see left.
Then a skirt must be found. There are ready-made half circles of pleated royal chiffon, very suitable for this purpose. For sufficient volume, at least 4 or even 5 half circles are required. You can also cut these half circles yourself (see "Skirts"). That needs some calculation for finding out the size of the hip cut-out, since the finished skirt shall be sewn on the bottom edge of the belt.
For me, polyester georgette is too transparent as skirt. Also royal chiffon is not sufficient for me, therefore I had the idea to wear 2 skirts of these two materials at the same time. The royal chiffon as underskirt (it is a bit less transparent) and the polyester georgette on top. Now you can play with the colors, as contrasts (sun yellow under turquoise) or both shades of the same color (dark red under apricot). Anything you like.
I close the seams for the upper skirt only for 15 - 20 cm (6 - 8 inches), so that the underskirt becomes visible when you spin.
After cutting and sewing the two skirts, I sew both together along the top edge. Then I measure along the bottom edge of the belt the size of the hip cut-out and prepare a 5 cm (2 inches) longer, narrow (app. 1 cm, 0,4 inch) seam ribbon to which I fix the skirt with straight stitches. For better stability, it will be necessary to form some thin folds; the delicate chiffon or fine georgette is too sensitive for the following step.
For an invisible seam, I sew this skirt by hand with button hole yarn on the seam ribbon on the bottom belt edge from the inside. It is easier if stitches may be visible, then you can use the machine with straight stitch. Perhaps you hide them under sequins?
In the chapter "Skirts" you can read how you get an even skirt length.
The top and the gauntlets are made of the same material as described in separate chapter. If you use stretch fabric (velvet) for gauntlets you don't need a zipper.
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