A sash belt is an easy way to accessorize a dress. Perhaps your "little black dress" needs to be accessorized for the office Christmas party. You could purchase a silk brocade sash for about $30, or you could make one for less than half the cost. Even your standard summer sheath could be more chic with a contrasting or brightly colored sash made of a polyester/cotton blend. If you have minimal sewing skills, you can make the sash belt you need in less than one hour.
Purchase at least 1/4 yard of fabric to make the sash. A quarter yard of fabric will make a sash up to 4 inches wide and 45 inches long. This would be adequate for someone who has a waist size of 25 inches or less. Purchase a 1/2 yard if your waist is larger. You may have to seam two strips of fabric to make your sash belt long enough. It is always better to have too much fabric than not enough. Buy matching polyester/cotton thread, and a buckle or d-ring if you plan to use one on your sash belt.
Determine the length of your sash belt. Measure your waist and add at least 12 inches to the measurement for use with a belt buckle, and 24 inches if you plan to tie your sash. Decide how wide you want your sash belt to be. Double the width of sash and add 1 inch for seams. For example, if your waist is 30 inches and you want to tie your sash, you will need at least 54 inches of fabric for the length. If your sash will be three inches wide, cut the strip of fabric 7 inches wide. It may be necessary to seam two 7-inch-wide strips of material together to have a length of 54 inches. Most fabric comes in 44- to 45-inch widths, although some is available in 54-inch widths.
Cut fabric to the appropriate width and length as determined in Step 2. Fold fabric lengthwise and, with right sides together, stitch a straight seam 1/2 inch away from the edge of the unfolded side. Turn the sash belt right side out. Press the sash with an iron heated to the appropriate fabric setting. Turn in the raw edges on each end of the sash and hand stitch the unfinished edges together. Use small stitches that are not easily seen.
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Follow the package directions for adding a D-ring or buckle to your sash, if directions are included. For a D-ring closure, fold about 2 inches of the sash over the straight sides of the rings. This will create a tab. Hand stitch or machine stitch the tab closed at the base of the tab. Add a straight line of stitching close to the D rings to keep them in place.
If you use a lightweight fabric, it might be necessary to use a fusible interfacing to make the sash a little sturdier. Another fabric option could be a length of wide ribbon (at least two inches in width), backed with fusible interfacing.
Keep fingers close enough to the sewing machine needle to correctly guide the fabric, but far enough away to avoid puncturing your fingers with the needle.
After grading students' compositions for many years, Valerie Anders has retired from the classroom. She began writing professionally in 2010 with several articles published in the "Pender Post." Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University and graduate courses at Auburn University and Bob Jones University.