Monday, 12 September 2016

Denim Bennett dress with self fabric belt

Catchy title eh?

So the other day I shared with you guys the bonus sleeve pattern piece for the Bennett dress and today I thought I would go into more detail about the two sleeved samples and in particular how I made the denim self fabric belt!

I'll just quickly go over which details I changed on the linen dress. Not much really, but I did level out the hem on the longest version and add two patch pockets on the dress front instead of one. The only other thing I added (that is not part of the pattern) is to add belt loops either side of the bib. I never wear this style unbelted, so felt it was just a nice extra detail to thread my leather belt through and keep it from slipping.

With the linen version covered the changes to the denim dress were the same with regards to the pockets and hem, but I did add a self fabric belt. I really love this detail and it was dead easy to do, so here's a quick tutorial!

This is the same as another belt I made earlier this summer to wear with a jumpsuit, but that was an independent belt that went around my whole waist, where as this one hooks onto the dress.

The belt is gathered over some elastic with small hooks either end which attach to thread loops sewn directly to the dress. The beauty of the thread loops is that they are so subtle you can easily still wear the dress without the belt or with a different belt of your choosing.

I used 3cm wide elastic which I cut to length by trying on the dress and holding it around my waist. Even though elasticated I left it fairly loose, but nipped in.

1. Cut an 8.5cm wide strip across the width of the fabric and your elastic to size as per above.

2. Sew your length of fabric into a tube with right sides together and a 1cm seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down by half and turn back through.

3. With a safety pin on one end of the elastic start threading it through the fabric tube using your safety pin to guide it through like a needle. The seam of the fabric tube should be on the flat side of the elastic not the edge and this will be the back of the belt.

4. Before the elastic gets pulled entirely pulled into the fabric tube, pin the other end to the bottom end of the tube.

5. Keep pulling the elastic through gathering the fabric down. If it is feeling gathered enough before you get to the end of the tube put a safety pin into the elastic to stop it pinging back and cut the excess fabric off. I think I ended up with about 40cm excess because the fabric is fairly thick, but on a thinner fabric the full width may go over the elastic nicely!

6. Still making sure to not lose the elastic back into the tube fold fabric ends over the back of the belt and machine sew down. I folded a doubled 1cm fabric allowance over the end of the elastic (the elastic reaches the very end of the belt, but is not folded over).

7. Sew on some small dress hooks onto either end of the belt. I did two on each end, but neglected to photograph this step!

8. Next I sewed some thread loops to hook the belt onto. I did two sets to keep my options open. One set on the seam of the central bib and one set on the topstitch line. I used the end of a machine needle to gauge the loop size.

Now, I now feel it is my duty to say here that this belt is no more!!! It is very sad, but I lost this in town on Saturday and I know it is because the hooks were too loose. I should have just pinched them a bit more closed with some pliers and I knew it, but alas I did not action this thought in time. I have enough fabric for another crack, which I will definitely do, as it's one of my favourite elements of this dress. Maybe I'll even do some hand stitches to keep it firmly in place next time as I am unlikely to want to wear this dress without the belt (although I was wearing it today with a leather belt).

Mishap aside, I hope this tutorial was helpful!