I mentioned in my last post that I’d gone AWOL during March – the last entry on here being How To Make A Taggie Blanket. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it turns out I was making a blanket for my own baby… he or she is due this September! It’ll be our first, so we’re really excited, although I felt so tired and sick during March that there was no chance of anything appearing on here. I’m pleased to say though, 4 months in I’m feeling back to my normal self (almost) – so it’s all systems go on the blog front.
One of the things I’ve noticed since developing a bump is a distinct lack of maternity clothes on the high street. It’s not something I’ve ever noticed before (unsurprisingly) but most shops (H&M and New Look aside) only sell their maternity wear online. Desperate for a dress for a friend’s wedding, and not quite big enough yet for full-on maternity gear, I finally found a pretty dress in town that was loose enough on the waist to go over my bump. The problem was, there was so much fabric going on I needed something to pull it all in a bit, and no ‘normal’ belts were wide – or stretchy – enough.
While searching for a wide, adjustable belt online (they’re often called obi belts) I came across this brilliant post on the Craft Buds site, and have to thank the author, Mary, for such an easy-to-follow guide. I used it for the basic design of my belt, but tweaked a few bits and pieces as I went along. Fabric-wise, you need something fairly heavy – upholstery fabric is ideal – so before buying anything I thought I’d check my own stash. Lo and behold, I found a pelmet from a pair of curtains I’d snapped up in a charity shop a few weeks earlier (I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them yet but I’m obsessed with this kind of dusky pink/mink colour). Yes, I realise this effectively means I wore a pair of curtains to a wedding, but what can I say? Needs must!
To make the belt, I cut a length of fabric about 110cm long and 20cm wide – the minimum length you’ll need is your waist measurement plus 6 inches, although I doubled that to 12″ so that the belt can ‘stretch’ as my belly does. Make sure you measure exactly where you want the belt to sit on your waist.
Once you’ve cut it, place the fabric right-side down on the table and fold the top (long) edge down a centimetre towards you. Iron all the way along it to create a hem, and do the same with the opposite length – folding it upwards by a centimetre – then the two short edges, folding them inwards. That way, when you fold the piece of fabric in half lengthways, you can sew all the way around the rectangle on the outside of the fabric, without a rough edge in sight.
Next, to make the ‘tie’ part of the belt, choose a length of ribbon that works well with the main belt colour (you can also make this part – see the Craft Buds link above for instructions). My dress had come with a fabric belt that was a couple of centimetres wide and 120cm long, so I used this. 120cm is about the minimum length you’ll need for this design, but it’s worth buying a little extra length so you can make it to fit. Also, you can opt to go even longer and wrap the ties around your waist a few times if you fancy, or if you’ve got plenty of ribbon to spare.
Now, lay the main belt flat and place the ribbon across it, as below. You want to pin it so that there’s about a 6 inch opening at one end (I went for 12″ as I’d oversized my belt to start with to make it suitable for pregnancy). The bits that dangle off at either end should be about the same length. Once you’ve pinned it, it’s really important to try it on as the size of the opening will depend on your waist and there’s an element of trial and error here. Once you’re happy, sew each end in place on the machine, then hand-stitch at intervals along the ribbon to keep it in place.
And that’s all there is to it! To wear the belt, just wrap the wide part around your waist, with the flap (the bit on the left above) tucked underneath the other side. The ribbon should meet in exactly the right place to allow you to tie a bow and hold it in place. As proof, here’s a photo from the wedding with my lovely friend Sam – you can just about make out the belt beneath my glass of J2O (AKA my new best friend!)