Sewing adventures: How I made a belt and a headband out of a ribbon

My recent mini-break in-between summer and fall terms translated into time for house projects, as well as time to get caught up on sewing projects. When Sam bought me this embroidered ribbon earlier this spring, as seen in this monthly budget post from April 2017, I mentioned that “I plan to use the ribbon to make a regular belt plus a headband… projects for the summer!” And that plan came to fruition! 😀

This ribbon is so pretty, isn’t it? The embroidered design feels both delicate and bold at the same time.

Librarian for Life + Style | Red floral ribbon closeup

I have made a simple belt and a headband before, out of fabric leftover from hemming a dress, back in 2013. You can read those posts here and here.

Figuring out fabric for a double-sided belt

Because I had done it before, it was easier to make a start, as the ribbon served as one complete side to both the belt and headband, and served as the guide for the width of the other side.

The first step was to decide on the fabric for the other side of both the belt and headband. I could have gone with two different fabrics, but in the end, I really liked how this leftover plaid fabric paired with the red embroidered ribbon. Plus, plaid has its own straight lines, which makes it so much easier to line up the fabric, as well as cut and sew along the fabric.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

Making a simple belt with D-rings

The ribbon my husband brought me measured 72 inches long. Based on the belt I made previously, I knew I needed 48 inches for the belt, and I needed 22 inches for the headband. That left me with an extra 2 inches of the ribbon — perfect!

The plaid fabric I chose for the other side of the belt was not 48 inches long, so my first step was to cut and piece together two different pieces of the same plaid fabric and sew them together. I matched up the pattern, making sure the backs of the fabric pieces were on the outside and sewed a straight line down the two pieces. Then I stretched out the fabric, exposing the seam, and then I ironed it flat.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

While ironing the plaid bits of fabric I had sewn together, I then was able to use the lines in the plaid fabric to fold over and iron flat each long side. Again, the lines in the plaid made it so much easier to keep everything lined up!

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

Then I pinned the ribbon on top of the plaid fabric that I had folded and ironed. It really made it so much easier having a ribbon serve as one side of the belt, as it was already hemmed in a sense! I just had to fold over and iron down the short ends of the ribbon.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

Next I used red thread to sew along the entire length of fabric, from one end all the way around. I made sure not to sew over the embroidered bits in the middle of the ribbon, so I sewed along the edges of the ribbon side, not the plaid side.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

And then, of course, ironing everything flat again! Really, so much of sewing involves the iron!

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

With my long bit of fabric all sewed up, all I needed to finish out this simple belt was to attach the D-rings to one end.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

And here is where my perfectionism kicks in! If I had simply folded over one side of the fabric over and through the D-rings, then one side of the fabric would be visible on the other side. So to work around that, I first folded over one side of the fabric and sewed straight across, as seen below.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

I then folded that bit back over to the other side, so the fabric patterns matched up again. Then I slipped in the D-rings to secure them in the fold. This bit is better explained visually, seen in the pic below.

The ribbon was exactly the width of the D-rings!

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

I then sewed a straight line across the folded-up bit of fabric as close to the D-rings as I could get. This double thickness by the D-rings made for a very secure hold for the rings. And then for a final finishing touch, and for extra hold, I sewed an X across the folded-over section. This finishing touch really does make a difference and makes everything look a little bit more professional.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

And here’s the final result, a double-sided ribbon belt! The D-ring closures make for a simple belt design, as you just fold the ends of the fabric in and around the double rings.

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a belt out of ribbon

And here’s a collage of both sides of the belt — and two different ways to arrange the tie belt, whether or not you want to expose the contrasting fabric. (Sorry for the poor lighting and quality of the collage below — I took the pics in our walk-in closet.)

Librarian for Life + Style | Tie belt collage

Making a simple headband with a hair elastic

For the leftover 22 inches of the ribbon, I followed the same steps above that I outlined for the belt — only I had much less fabric to cut, iron, pin, and sew along the edges. 😀 I also left open each end of the long rectangle of double-sided fabric, in order to leave room for the hair elastic.

The hardest bit was in securing the hair elastic along each end. Basically, I slipped the hair elastic in-between each open edge, and then I sewed lines on either side of the hair elastic to close everything up, for a more secure hold. And I was so tired by the end of making the headband that I forgot to take photos of those steps!

But here’s the final result of the double-sided headband:

Librarian for Life + Style| Making a headband out of ribbon

Do you like my new ribbon belt and headband? Gotta say, I’m pretty psyched how these projects worked out! And if I make another belt, I am definitely choosing a ribbon for one side again! It really made everything so much easier to manage! 🙂


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