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.]