You will see this simple belt on a lot of my dresses. I prefer to have the belt as a seperate piece to the dress for a few reasons. Firstly, I would rather not have a fixed bow on the back of little girls dresses. I imagine them falling asleep or sitting in a chair and having an uncomfortable knot stuck in the back. To untie it means having straps dangling every which way. Secondly, if the belt is seperate, you can adapt the shape of the front and your little lady can change belts if the mood strikes. Lastly, so I can save on fabric. Having the belt in three pieces means I can use one width of fabric, from salvage to salvage. You can use one length if you prefer.
Making the Ties
Cut the length of the your belt in half to make two ties. Fold in half lengthwise and sew a 0.5 cm ( ⅜”) seam along the side edge, stopping 5 cm ( 2") from the end. Lift the foot of your machine, turn the belt and angle up towards the corner of the belt. Repeat with the second belt tie. Trim off excess fabric from the corners, turn out and press.
Attaching the ties to the front.
Now we are going to attach the ties to the front piece of the belt. The measurements for the front pieces are given in the measurement chart. Iron your belt front in half lengthwise and find the centre, snip the fabric at that point. Place the ties in place and pin on both ends. Make sure you place the tie seams facing down. It is easy to place them in opposite ways if you don’t take care at this point.
Start sewing a 1 cm ( ⅜”) seam down the side of the belt catching the tie in teh side seam. When you reach the bottom, lift your machine foot (with the needle in the down position) and turn to sew along the bottom edge of the belt. Go carefully and make sure you don’t catch your ties. Once you are around 2 cm ( ¾”) from the centre front, backtack. Repeat on the opposite side leaving an opening large enough to turn your belt out.
Finishing your belt
Once you have finished sewing, trim the corners off, turn out your belt and press. After you have pressed the belt you can sew around the front enclosing the opening on the bottom of the belt. If you would
prefer not to top stitch the front piece. you can hand sew the opening closed.
You can play around and adapt the shape of front of your belt to suit your designs. I like to trim my belts with cluney lace and some ladies use piping around the front. You could even add some felt or fabric flowers.
Adding a side seam to your Blue Jays
Fold your Blue Jays pattern in half to find the centre. The pieces won't match up evenly along the top. This is due to the rise in the back of the shorts.
Add a 1 cm ( 3/8 " ) seam allowance to the front and back side seams.
Cut out 2 x back pieces (mirror image) and 2 x front pieces (mirror image).
Overlock / Serge the front and back centre seams and crotch.
With right sides of the fabric together, sew down the back centre seam, using a 1 cm ( 3/8" ) seam allowance. Repeat with the front pieces.
Press the back seam open.
If you are adding ruffles to the back of the shorts, you will need to do so before you join the side seams.
With the right side of the fabric facing in, sew the front and back shorts pieces together at the side seams.
Join the shorts at the crotch and add the waistband and leg cuffs as per tutorial instructions.
Attaching the waistband.
I have updated the Blue Jays pattern and I am sharing the waistband construction here on the blog. I hope this will be useful for the ladies who found the original tutorial confusing. If you would like more help, please feel free to email me at patterns.bobkin.com.au