Monday, October 14, 2013

The Beaded Belt

To continue the theme of Beginning at the End, one of the first things I decided to start working on was the belt.

The original buckle I brought home with me from Britex is lovely, but once my ideas started percolating, I decided it was not going to be an absolutely perfect match to my overall vision.  I have a couple of thrifted belts covered in beads which get a whole lot of wear, as seen here and here.  My idea was to somehow replicate a similar look with beads that would coordinate with the gala fabric.  Thankfully, my local Michaels had a couple of choices.  I have learned from knitting with beads that if they match too closely, all of the extra work is lost.  Subtlety is wonderful, but if I am going to spend hours and hours with a needle and thread, I want the effect to be seen, right?!

There were a few tests.  My original idea was to somehow follow the damask pattern of the fabric – but it looked terrible.

Obviously, a tambour hook is a more time efficient way to apply beads to fabric.  I would love to learn this technique in the future, but this is not the project to learn a new skill - I am doing my best to keep my frustration to a minimum.  People spend years mastering tambour embroidery and beading, and someday I hope to, but not today!  (I also would love to learn tatting at some point as well!  Why are there not more hours in a day!!)   

But hand sewing?  I can handle that!

In the end, I basted a piece of silk organza to the back of a strip of fabric, and added some grid lines to help keep everything within the 1” plus that I need my belt to be.

I chalked in a slight curve for the first row of beads, after that, I could just follow the line of beads.

The piece started like this . . .

and then this . . .

and finally became this . . .

There are a few silver beads that I had lying around that are peppered throughout for a bit of added dimension.

The belting I purchased was too wide, so I trimmed it down.

A tube of muslin was made to cover the belting and give me something to stitch to (all those beads make it rather dangerous to use a machine to stitch the belt, and probably impossible to turn it right side out, so I am wrapping it around the belting!).

One edge is catch-stitched to the muslin covered belting.

And the other edge folded under and stitched in place.

Now the edges need to be dealt with, but at least I will not be scrambling around on the day of the event trying to finish the darn belt!

[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October.  I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months.]


  1. Wow! This is fabulous! I love the idea of a beaded belt! So lovely!

  2. Wow. Just wow! Can't wait to see it on the dress!

  3. This belt is terrifically pretty! Awesome, skillful, amazing work, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this. It all looks lovely!
    Looking forward to seeing the whole outfit

  5. You are Lauramaezing.

  6. I am sitting here in disbelief. Utter disbelief. Beautiful work as always. I wait every year for the gala dress. I cannot wait to see the finished product!

  7. Wowza!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's incredible! Can't wait it see the finished outfit!

  8. Gorgeous! So how long did the beading take?? Do you ever sleep? This is really wonderful...

    1. I am sort of keeping track of my time on this project, but will wait until the end to add everything up! The beading has been an adventure, to say the least! Instead of knitting while watching television, I have been beading.

  9. This is fabulous. Such a lot of work but it looks stunning.

  10. Wow. It's a great belt. So glamorous.
    Also, I'm baffled. You "want to keep your frustration levels down" and you start such a big beading project? In my experience, even small amounts of beading are enough to make me very impatient and frustrated... I'm very, very impressed with your work.