Vintage Sewing

"Have Belt Made"

January 20, 2008

Having been a slave to the shift dress for so long, I recently decided I wanted a comfortable cotton shirtwaist. So I sewed up a pattern in my stash that had long been ignored – Simplicity 5877. The pattern is from 1965, and is very Ladies Auxiliary, very Junior League, and I love it. It does need a belt, and will have one, if I can figure out how to make a matching one. The pattern instructions said to “have belt made or wear with purchased belt.” I’d love to know where I can go in this day and age to get a belt made for a shirtwaist.

  1. They used to sell belt kits in the notions area of fabric stores, and they are simple to make following the instructions. I even made one when I was 12. It involved a strip of stiff white stuff and a plain metal buckle. You cut a fabric strip and sewed it to the white stuff, then you did sort of a cut and paste to cover the buckle. I have no idea if the kits are still sold, but it might be worth a look.

  2. Hello! Nice work here. Wanted to say that it’s easy as pie to make your own. What you need is buckram – that’s the stiff white stuff a.d. wrote about. There are good instructions about how to cover it in Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing or probably any basic how-to-sew-everything book of that ilk. Essentially cut a wide strip, fold over, sew seam down the middle of the back. Easy. Finally a buckle, either new or a nifty old bakelite number, and you are belted.

  3. Cute dress!

    I just made a belt from a kit I found at the fabric store. It had a strip of sticky-backed fabric covered plastic that you press your fabric to, then sew up. The buckle was the same, it had double stick tape to press to the buckle and then you put the fabric over it. It was pretty easy!

  4. The current edition of Threads magazine has an article about specialty manufacturers who will make accessories (including belts) from your fabric.

    And of course my copy has waltzed off somewhere, but you could try their website.

  5. You can also purchase “belting.” Our JoAnn’s carries it in the notion section – by the yard. It is next to the elastic and velcro for purchase by the yard. Livebird’s instructions are perfect and it is pretty easy to do. Go for it!

  6. That is one of the cutest shirtwaists I have seen, and I have tons of vintage shirtwaist patterns!

    Is that view actually boxpleated before you attach the skirt?

    miss twist

  7. The dress looks great! You’ve been given a lot of great advice already about belts. I too recommend the Reader’s Digest Guide and belting material at Jo-Ann’s on the notions wall, near the velcro. I’ve bought belting but haven’t yet made a belt. I still need to buy a buckle.

    I have a cool vintage belt set that lets you cover the buckle with fabric too. I have to find the right project to use it.

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