DIY: Ribbon Belt with Button Closure

March 3rd, 2011 § 18 comments

Ribbon Belt in action


  • Shirt: Target
  • Sweater: thrifted
  • Skirt: Banana Republic
  • Ribbon Belt: by me!
  • Stockings: Calvin Klein via Filene’s Basement
  • Shoes: Tahari via DSW

Belts were my gateway drug into the world of style. I so envied the sleek/stylish/fun/creative belts that the other Chics wore, that I finally drank the Kool-Aid and got some for myself… and I’ve never looked back. I have pink belts, custom made belts, wide belts, skinny belts, obi belts, stretchy belts, scarf belts, metallic belts, and belts that are literally made out of metal. I have worn belts to define my waist, turn a dress into a skirt, and add color to an outfit, and I keep looking for new inspirations for using my growing collection. Needless to say, I love belts and today’s is no exception. In fact my entire outfit is based off of the colors in the belt. Pink, pale blue, gold and cream are picked up in my shirt, sweater, and shoes – unfortunately I did have to wear sheer stockings today because my brain couldn’t figure out a pair of tights that would work – Do you have some suggestions!?

Ribbon Belt closeup

I dug this fantastic vintage ribbon out of a box of sewing equipage that was my grandmother’s and have been meaning to do something with it for a while now. It is so fabulous with the bright pinks and greens, subtle blue, tiny gold detailing and stuffed (yes, with real batting!) damask flowers and butterflies that I knew I wanted it to mostly stand on its own, and making it into a belt was as easy as 1-2-3!

Click “more” for the DIY of How to Make A Ribbon Belt with Button Closure

Ok, seriously, this is super simple, and again, I’m sure someone else has done a tutorial about this as well, as I’m certainly not inventing the wheel with this one. Also, for a no-sew ribbon belt look at A.’s post here.

Ribbon Belt button clasp


  • Wide Ribbon – check out thrift stores or vintage shops for old ribbon or swing by your local fabric or craft store to see what they have. A great solid color could work too if no patterned ones are jumping out at you. The trick is to get ribbon that is stiff enough on its own that it will not end up curling into a tube around your waist. It needs to lie flat even when pulled a little at the ends.
  • Skinny Ribbon
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors
  • Needle and Thread
  • 1 large-ish button

Step 1:
Measure around your waist – make sure you are measuring right where you want to wear the belt because at least in this version it’s not adjustable. (I’d love to hear how people have made this type of belt adjustable too! Again, my brain is struggling right now.)

DIY Ribbon Belt - Step 1

Step 2:
Measure the wide ribbon and cut 3-inches shorter than your waist measurement, but with enough ends to fold over and sew down to make a clean edge.

DIY Ribbon Belt - Step 2

Step 3:
Measure out the skinny ribbon to complete the full waist measurement – one end needs to make a loop and the other is a doubled over piece that has the button sewn onto the end. Make sure that your button is big enough to catch in the loop and that your loop is folded in such a way as to hold the button facing out rather than flipping it down (you’ll see what I mean when you try)

DIY Ribbon Belt - Step 3

And that’s it! Enjoy your home-made ribbon belt!

Ribbon Belt in action

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§ 18 Responses to DIY: Ribbon Belt with Button Closure"

  1. poet says:

    That is such a great idea! If I ever come into the possession of a statement ribbon I know what I’ll do with it now.

    Ideas for making it adjustable:

    You could just make a tie from the narrower ribbon instead of a button + loop – though I know satin ribbon is slippery so it’s not quite sure how well it will hold then.
    Or you could make the loop part from a colorful or satin-encased piece of rubber band, which would mean at least a little bit adjustability.
    Or you could use a hook instead of the button and sew several eyes onto the wide statement ribbon… kind of like a bra closure.

  2. A. says:

    I think the sheer stockings are just right; there is no need to do any other color on your legs. More colors would have overwhelmed the belt, and the eye.

  3. Cardinal says:

    I agree with A. above that there’s no need to apologize for sheer hose. I am certainly a lover of opaque tights but I also wish “clear” hose weren’t so universally perceived as frumpy right now, because sometimes they’re very useful.

    I love this beautiful ribbon and I have an idea about how to make it adjustable, which I’ll try to describe in words. On one end of the belt, attach a very small ribbon loop, about half an inch. On the other end of the belt, sew a row of three or four buttons spaced about an inch apart. Put a long ribbon loop at the very end of the button end of the belt, push that ribbon through the small loop at the other end of the belt, and then fold it back to hook over the desired button.

  4. Marcy says:

    The sheer stockings look great! It’s not always necessary to have color on every part of your body, plus the sheer color looks refreshing for spring.

    Love, love the belt.

  5. Jen says:

    I think the sheer stockings work as well. I would consider navy if the skirt is grey as an alternative. If the skirt is navy then, stay sheer or even an opague beige could work.

    Love the ribbon you chose. In order to make it adjustable, you may consider usinf skinny, metal free hair elastics for the loop parts. I’ve sone something similar to make a ribbon into a head band in the past where you just loop two hair elastics together and then glue (or sew) the ribbons around the ends. You could do that or, to keep the button because I think it’s a nice touch, sew the button on one end and sew in a contrastiong color hair elastic to the hem of the ribbon on the other. Of course this is not completely adjustable but it allows for some flexibility for repositioning without sacraficing the look. Maybe you could cut one of the hair elastics, thread it through the button and then know it and sew the know into the ribbon hem thus allowing for twice as much stretch but that would depend on the size of the button hole.

  6. Jackie says:

    That’s adorable! Did you make a belt out of that pink ribbon too?

  7. Alicia says:

    This is wonderful! I agree with the above posters, sheer tights look great with this because it allows the belt to be the focal point. You look gorgeous!

  8. ATH says:

    I love it. I never wore a belt before I started reading this blog, and it has really inspired me to experiment! That ribbon belt is fantastic.

    I also love the way you folded back and tucked in the cardigan. Can’t wait to try it.

  9. Diana says:

    What a great belt, and such a cool DIY! Thanks!

  10. admin says:

    Thanks to everyone for the great ideas about how to make this more adjustable!

    Jackie – I was waiting until I put up this post to get ideas for the pink ribbon you see in the pictures.

    I’ll definitely be trying some of the suggestions people have submitted. Thanks!


  11. i love the way this DIY turned out!! i’m really not so great at DIY stuff, and yet i have a big bag filled with fabric scraps that i intend to do ‘something’ with. i think you’ve finally given me that something to do with it all.

  12. Jannell says:

    This is a GREAT look, I love the belt, but what I’m really loving is the tucked in cardigan with the pencil skirt here. It looks fantastic on you :)

  13. EJ says:

    Love the belt… that vintage ribbon is beautiful. I think you would be better off with one solid colour from the waist down… it looks like your skirt is navy, so I’d recommend navy skirt, tights, and shoes. Here are my reasons: 1) Having solid blocks of colour on top and bottom (more or less) highlights the belt much more than what’s happening at present, and this is an outfit that’s really all about that belt. Cover your legs with one hand on your computer screen and see what I mean. 2) You are petite, and your little frame isn’t handling all that is going on here. It’s like you tried to pull almost every colour in the belt into the whole outfit. I’d leave the gold to the jewelry… reign in the colour scheme a little. 3) I can’t believe I’m in the minority here, but I dislike sheer hose for all but black-tie occasions, and sometimes even then. The sheer hose just aged you about 10 years… sorry. :(
    The pink ribbon is also beautiful! I’d shop for a cool, sparkley, vintagey buckle on ebay or something and wear it very dressy with a solid sheath dress or over a velvet top/blazer. (You might need to give it some body by sewing it to a stiffer backing.)

    • LP says:

      Wow, that’s a lot of rule-based criticism. I happen to disagree with every bit of it, and like almost everyone else, I think she looks lovely just as she is. Navy skirt, tights, and shoes might make her look like she’s wearing some type of uniform.

    • Sarah says:

      I think EJ has made some really good suggestions! The belt is super cute and I wish it was more of the focus of the outfit but all of the colors going on do seem to detract a little.

  14. Shaye says:

    I have a suggestion for turning a flimsy ribbon into something substantial enough to work for this totally genius project: iron-on interfacing! The great thing about interfacing, which is available at any fabric store, is that it comes in all sorts of different weights. Sew-on interfacing is certainly your best option for a really thick, sturdy backing, but even iron-on interfacing would lend weight to a ribbon that tends to curl. It would also cover up the loose threads of the embroidery on the back side of a ribbon like this.

  15. [...] Check out L.’s awesome ribbon belt with fastener and how to make it yourself here: [...]

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