How to make a sash belt for a dress

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A sash belt is an easy way to accessorise a dress. Perhaps your "little black number" needs to be accessorised for the office Christmas party. You can buy a silk brocade sash for about £20 or you could make one for less than half that cost. Even your standard summer dress could be more chic with a contrasting or brightly coloured sash made of a polyester/cotton blend. If you have minimal sewing skills, you can make the sash belt you need in less than an hour.

Buy at least 23 cm of fabric to make the sash. This will make a sash up to 10 cm wide and 115 cm long. This would be adequate for someone who has a waist size of 64 cm or less. 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 30 cm to the measurement for use with a belt buckle, and 60 cm if you plan to tie your sash. Decide how wide you want your sash belt to be. Double the width of sash and add 2.5 cm for seams. For example, if your waist is 76 cm and you want to tie your sash, you will need at least 138 cm of fabric for the length.

Cut fabric to the appropriate width and length. Fold the fabric lengthwise and, with right sides together, stitch a straight seam around 1.5 cm 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.

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 5 cm 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.

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