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Sew a Sweet Cummerbund Belt

Gretchen Hirsch derived an elegant look from Simplicity SewStylish 1920: A top, skirt, and wide cummer-bund-style belt you'll see how to make here.

In the Spring 2012 issue of SewStylish, the story “Make It Your Way” features three easy design variations on the new Simplicity SewStylish pattern 1920.

Sewing celebrity and instructor Gretchen Hirsch was one of the artists who worked with the pattern. Gretchen’s take had a wonderful retro vibe – and a cute cummerbund belt we promised to tell you how to make here on SewStylish.com

Be sure to pick up the latest issue of SewStylish, and check out Gretchen’s blog, Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing and look for her appearances on programs such as It’s Sew Easy on PBS.

The Belt Pattern

The cummerbund is simply rectangles.

Cut four belt side pieces, each 3 inches wide by 10 inches long. You may cut the belt pieces on-grain or cross grain.

Use a belt side piece to cut two fusible interfacing pieces.

Cut one belt front, 14 inches wide by 13 inches long.

You will also need two pairs of wide hooks and bars, the type sold for waistbands.

Note: The pieces described here will make a belt that fits a 28-inch to 30-inch waist. To make a larger belt, increase the length of the belt side/back pieces by 1/2 inch for every inch you need to add to the belt.

Sew the Belt Sides

1. Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of two belt side/back pieces.

2. Pair an interfaced belt side with an uninterfaced belt side, wrong sides together. Align all edges. Sew along one long edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Pivot at the corner, and sew along the short end and the other long side. Leave one short end unsewn. Repeat with the other belt side pieces. 

3. Clip the seam allowances at the sewn corners. Turn the belt sides, using a point turner (or a chopstick or big knitting needle) to get sharp turned points. Press the belt sides flat. Turn in a 1/2-inch seam allowance on the unsewn short ends.

Gather the Belt Front

1. Fold the belt front piece in half lengthwise, with right sides together. Sew along one long edge with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press the seam open. Turn the piece right side out and center the seam between the folds.

2. With a 4 mm or 5 mm stitch length, sew 1/2 inch from the raw edges at each end of the belt front. Leave long thread tails. Pull the threads gently to gather the belt front’s width evenly, until both ends are about 2 and 1/4 inches wide, narrow enough to fit with in the open ends of the belt sides. Knot the threads to hold the gathering.

Connect the Belt Pieces

1. Slide a gathered end of the belt front within the open end of a belt side. Tuck the belt front far enough into the beld side piece to cover the gathering stitches. Hand whip-stitch through the belt side’s folded seam allowance to secure the pieces together. (Note: The interfaced belt side will face away from the body eventually – plan this before permanently sewing the second side together.)

2. Hand sew the hooks on the belt’s right end. Try to keep your stitches from going all the way through the the belt’s exterior.

Try on the belt and mark the placement for the corresponding bars. Hand sew the bars to the belt.

You’re done!


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