Monday, April 17, 2017

Making an 1860's Silk Belt

Happy Monday! I hope you all were blessed with a beautiful Easter weekend. We had a very nice one with perfect weather, despite a gloomy forecast to the contrary. Perhaps a bit too much chocolate and too many starburst flavored jelly beans but the children were very satisfied with their sugar overloaded diet. ;)

I finished up my sheer plaid dress on Friday, setting on the skirt and fasteners. I made another silk belt to go with my silver buckle and I am so happy with how it came out! I love green!

The buckles have some weight so need a structured belt to support them. I thought I'd do a mini tutorial on how I made mine, especially if I need to reference this again in the future. This method is based on instructions from The Sewing Academy (oh how I miss the olden days when online sewing forums hadn't yet been replaced by FB groups!) and produces a really nice finished product.

There are 4 layers of material involved: silk, interlining, buckram and lining. Here are my materials:

The silk is the "African Green" taffeta from and is so lovely! For interlining I used a scrap of cotton muslin, the buckram is from Jo Anns and the lining is cream colored silk.

The buckram is cut to the dimensions of the finished belt. The silk and interlining are cut 1" larger. The lining is cut 1/2" larger.

The lining is pressed under just over 1/4" all around the edges. The silk is placed on the interlining and is treated as one.

The buckram strip is placed on the silk/interlining and centered.

The edges of the silk/interlining are pressed up around the buckram, all around the edges.

Then the lining is pinned to the inside to cover the buckram and seam allowances. . .

. . .and then slip stitched to secure it to the belt.

I used these really great hook and eyes to close the belt. These are fairly large and very sturdy.

Hooks sewn on!

And then the belt is threaded through the buckle to finish it off.

I'm using this one to keep my fichu closed at the waistline of my new dress. I can't wait to have the opportunity to wear this! Fingers crossed for fine weather this weekend!


  1. I love the belt. It is a beautiful green. The entire ensemble looks incredible. I'm in awe of your ability to sew with little ones. I always had a difficult time sewing when mine were younger.

  2. Your belt is stunning! I admit I am surprised at the hook and eye closure at the back, I would have done it the hard way, had the overlap through the buckle, then hook and eyed the end of the flap to the belt to keep it in place. Love your way, neater, cleaner and ultimately, more slimming as it eliminates that little bit of overlap. Every smidgen saved on a waistline counts enormously! Love the buckle, and the shade of green against your fashion fabric.

    Very period. I think we tend to get caught up in our modern day 'matchy-matchy' mentality. I began to get more compliments when I used items that didn't match our modern sentiment on coordinating items/trims etc. I use the same darned reticule, gold velvet with scarlet embroidery, with every dress. Same peach/violet parasol with every dress. And somehow, it feels much more authentic. I'd never try this in my 'real' world. Fun to know you not only can get away with it in the 19th century, but that you ought to really go for the gold as well in that regard.

    Well done, as always!

  3. Beautiful!! I think is the best dress you've made so far!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!