How to Embroider a Leather and Ribbon Beltcomments (8) November 8th, 2008
This embroidered leather ribbon belt is perfect for gift giving—or treat yourself to a little luxe! When it comes to accessorizing my wardrobe, I'm a little inept, but I love belts. All you have to do is buckle or tie one on and you're instantly pulled together! I designed a leather and ribbon belt that can dress up eveything from jeans to your favorite chiffon tunic. The great part is that it can be worn high at empire waist level, cinched around your waist, or low on your hip. Tie the silk ribbons behind your back or wrap them around to the front for a pretty complement to the embroidery. I was inspired by an article I saw featuring costume-jewelry bracelets that were made into belts by attaching ribbons to the ends...this is a great idea, too! If you have any such treasures, you can use them instead of the embroidered leather for a little more sparkle! If you are going to embroider your center medallion, use one of the designs you already have or visit www.jsterndesigns.com for the design I used here. A great source for silk ribbons is Hannah Silk Ribbons.
Here's what you'll need:
- Two small pieces of leather (One should be heavier uphostery weight (for embroidery) and one should be lightweight (for backing). Both should be at least 3 inches x 7 inches to accommodate the embroidery design.)
- Embroidery design
- Polyester embroidery thread (rayon frays and breaks more easily)
- Metallic embroidery thread (optional to add a little sparkle)
- Heavy cut-away stabilizer
- 505 Temporary Adhesive Spray
- Small sharp scissors
- Seam ripper
- Craft knife
- All-purpose sewing thread to match the leather
- 4 yards of hand-dyed silk ribbon (or ribbons of your choice)
If you have embroidery software that allows you to digitize your own original designs, this would be a great project to practice with. Here is my sketch that I used to create the embroidery for the leather. I used a template that had various sized circles to make my design.
Once you import the design to your embroidery machine, put in a size 12 leather or metallica needle. Hoop a heavy cut-away stabilizer and use temporary adhesive spray to stick the scrap of leather into the hoop. Put the hoop on the machine.
Embroider the design. If you have a baste in the hoop feature, use it! Normally when you're working with leather you wouldn't because of the holes that are left by the needle. For this project, we are going to trim away the leather around the design, so it's okay to baste—the holes won't affect the final project.
Trim all your threads on the top and back side of the embroidery design with small sharp scissors. If you clip the bobbin thread behind the basting stitches, the top thread will pull out easily.
The next step is to remove the stabilizer. If you used my embroidery design, the heavy cut-away stabilizer will tear away easily because of all the perforations made along the edge by the needle. (I used a bold backstitched outline.) If you are using another design, gently pull at the stabilizer to test if it will rip. If it doesn't tear away easily, use small sharp scissors to trim very close to the outside edge of the design.
Place the leather that will be used for the backing face down on a paper towel. Spray it with temporary adhesive and stick it to the wrong side of the embroidered leather, covering up the bobbin threads.
Change to all-purpose thread and program your sewing machine with a short straight stitch (1.5 to 2.0 mm). Stitch around the outside edge of the embroidery design, about 1/8 inch from the outline. Use an open-toe foot so you can see where you are stitching.
To make loops to thread the ribbons through, stitch around the inside edge of the crescent-shaped spaces at each end of the embroidery design.
Use a craft knife to slice an opening in the crescent shape. Make sure it's big enough to get the tips of your small sharp scissors into.
Use small sharp scissors to cut a smooth opening large enough to thread the ribbon through. Don't worry if your opening didn't come out perfect...the ribbon will hide most of the cut edge.
All you have left to do is thread the ribbon through the openings. Check out all the different ways you can use the ribbon at the beginning of the post!