Hi All! It’s been ages since I did a Picture Tutorial. I’m excited that this is my first Picture Tutorial with my new branding, Roxanne Stitches. I thought my method for creating a Self Tie Belt was worth sharing because it’s easy and gives professional results.
My latest dress included a self tie matching belt. This was the dress I made in participation with the McCall Patterns Shirt Dress Sew-Along. I made my belt extra long since the dress was a Maxi length. A shorter belt may have looked skimpy and it was easy to add the length I wanted.
These narrow tubes of fabric can be tricky to turn right side out and even trickier to press smooth and evenly at the seamline. In the past it’s been a struggle to press the seamline flat and even on these kinds of belts. Here’s a simple method in a Picture Tutorial that address the steps of turning and pressing a self tie “The Easy Way”.
- The fabric for my belt was cut in 2 sections and joined at the back seam. After joining the 2 sections I press the seam open to make it as flat as possible.
- Start at one angled end and stitch the fabric tube closed until about 5 inches before the joined seam. Backstitch, but don’t cut the thread. Just slide the fabric tube down a few inches and start to sew the fabric tube closed again with a backstitch. Continue sewing the fabric tube closed all the way to the other angled end.
- Trim the fabric tube to 1/8″ BUT NOT AT THE OPENING. Leave the full seam allowance intact in the area for turning later.
- Measure your fabric tube from the seamline to the fold of the fabric. My fabric tube measures 2 1/2″.
- Using a piece of poster board, measure out 2 3/8″ to create a template. This is the measurement of the width of the belt minus 1/8″.
- My belt has an angle at each end of the fabric tube and that can be frustrating to get sewn, turned and pressed with a professional look. To achieve nice angles, copy the angle of the sewn seam onto the poster board template.
- Here’s my method to turn the fabric tube through the area left open near the center of the belt. Starting at one end of the belt, fold the end into itself and then insert a wooden measuring stick to push the end of the fabric tube right side out through the opening. Follow this process on the other end of the fabric tube. Once each end is sticking out of the opening, gently pull the entire fabric tube through the opening.
- Insert the poster board template into the opening making sure to match the angle of the poster board to the sewn angle at the end of the fabric tube.
- Push the template down to the end and gently push out the point. Position the template inside the fabric tube evenly from seamline to foldline. Now press the belt flat.
- Slide the poster board template with your fingernail through the fabric towards the center opening. Press flat along the way until you come to the center opening. The template holds the fabric at a consistent width while pressing thus giving the belt a consistent, professional look. Remove template. Turn the poster board template around and insert it into the other side repeating this process.
- Finishing: At this point, the belt can be topstitched around the perimeter of the belt which will close the opening or can be handstitched closed.
Here’s my finished Self Tie Belt! It’s hard to see against the actual dress in the above picture because it matches perfectly!! Hope you give my method a try when you make your next matching Self Tie Belt.
A few of notes of caution:
Be careful when trimming the seam allowance at the end points.
Use only white poster board for the template. Since you will be steam pressing your fabric belt carefully, you don’t want to transfer any color that might be on your poster board. That goes for marking the template for cutting as well. Use a pencil.
Your stitching line must be consistent along the seamline to be able to use a poster board template. If your stitching line varies more than and 1/8″ along the seamline, the template WILL NOT slide easily inside the fabric tube and your belt may end up wonky, uneven and will be frustrating instead of helpful.