Hot! The Wooden Bead Belt

The African Belt

Fabric:Thrifted Stretchy Velour
Pattern: McCall’s 3926 for neck and sleeves
Year: 2012
Notions: bit o’ thrifted stay-tape for shoulders
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: January 8, 2012
Wear again? Yes!
Total price: $2.00

I have had this gorgeous belt around for years and I have never worn it once (because I had nothing to wear it with). It was a present from a dear departed family member who traveled the world and brought back unusual gifts for her family and friends. This week’s challenge to use an accessory as an inspiration was very exciting. I looked at the belt and looked through my stash. With the help of my darling youngest daughter, we came up with a kind of Bohemian inspired look.
I used a very soft and stretchy velour fabric and the top of McCall’s pattern 3926 to cut a neck and simple sleeves. I basically used my serger to sew the whole thing, even the hem! As I was making it, my husband would tease, “What is that? Is it a cave-woman challenge?” Later, when it was finished and the belt was in place, all I heard were “ooh’s and aah’s”.
I marked the hem with my vintage “Pin-it Skirt Marker”. What a nifty Christmas present from another lovely daughter. You measure from the floor up and with the shoes you will be wearing so that your hem will be truly even. Since I was using my body double, I measured after the belt was on. I’m so happy with how it turned out. I never would have thought about making a dress to go with a belt! Thanks to all for the creative ideas and inspirations!



Barbara is a resident of Northern California. She loves to sew and has pledged not to buy retail clothes for the year of 2012. That means she has to make her own, or buy it at a thrift store. I hope she doesn't spend too much on fabric. When she shops for fabric her eyes light up as she imagines the possibilities! She's like a kid in a candy store.


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  1. Oooooooh! I LOVE that belt! Your dress is perfect for it! The boots match so well, too. And great pics!

  2. Love that dress Barbara, it really suits you! Good luck with not buying clothes in 2012 challenge.

  3. Very nice! This came together so well!

  4. It looks fantastic with your belt!! I adore your whole ensemble!

  5. I love this dress! It looks like such a versatile piece.

  6. I love this dress, it looks fantastic with the belt and boots.

  7. This is very attractive. Lovely.

  8. Barbara, this is a perfect match for the belt! It’s just gorgeous!

    I love your pledge too, about not buying retail clothes this year! It’s so liberating not shopping! I have to buy underwears and stockings once a year and that’s about it!

  9. OMG I love this whole outfit! And your photos are adorable too.

  10. That belt is too cool to be unworn, and the dress is the perfect backdrop. It’s simple and flattering. It looks just like the Burdastyle Anda pattern, which I have….so I may take a stab at something similar.

    This new Sew Weekly format is giving me lots of ideas; I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing, considering how little free time I have!

  11. This is an adorable and perfectly matched outfit from the shoes (love) to the belt (love) to the necklace (love). Cave woman–bah!

  12. Cool outfit, and great pictures!

  13. What a good look, I’m glad you can wear your belt now, it’s pretty awesome.

  14. So simple and yet so perfect for this belt. And it completely works for the boots too. Fabulous start to 2012.

  15. Fantastic idea to use that belt, I have things like that I just don’t know how to wear and the dress looks great. Love the boots too!

  16. That belt, t h a t b e l t ! My gosh it’s so gorgeous and now you have a simple and very gorgeous dress to team her with. Brilliant.

  17. Fantastic outfit! Now you can let that belt shine.

  18. I love the outfit, and you look great in it, not remotely cave woman! Funny, I’ve pledged not to buy any more fabric (until I use what I have).

  19. That is a perfect simple backdrop for the belt to shine! It’s so fabulous; it really deserves to be worn often. Also, can I just say that I covet your boots?