Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colorful Belts, Cravat/Ascot, and Shoes!

I decided that I needed bespoke colored belts to go with my fun summer shoes. Because I couldn't really find these in stores, I decided to make them myself. As it turns out, it's not actually too hard to make these, although I may choose to use a different type of construction or closure on future belts for better performance (I think the belting may be too stiff for the silk, plus the D-rings create a good deal of wear).

The red shoes
First of all, I decided to make the red belt to go with my red shoes. I was wearing a polo and didn't have room for a red bow tie or cravat/ascot. As a result, the red shoes would have looked very odd without any other red in the outfit. Therefore, red belt to the rescue. As it turns out, I was on my way out the door when inspiration struck, so I took a piece of shiny polyester (I can't remember the exact type of fabric) and folded it over about four times and stitched either side of of it all the way down the length. I then made a loop at the end and inserted the D-rings. I later figured out that the D-rings need to be really close to one another or else they tend to undo themselves by rotating around each other when tension is applied.

Then I decided to finally wear my super awesome blue/orange shoes that I got a few months ago. However, the colors on their own are quite intense, so I wanted to make sure the look was well coordinated in my outfit. To keep the look simple, I wore the colors with my seersucker suit, so that the backdrop is mostly white, and therefore subtle against the bright colors.

The blue shoes with orange trim
For the belt, I used 100% silk in the color of the shoes. Realizing that the silk should be supported, I created a tube and inserted belting into it. I used the belting to measure the size of the tube and then went back a second time to make sure it was small enough.

Silk tube in progress next to belting used as liner
I went over it again to make sure I stitched close enough in
Then I cut the excess
When the edge was cut off I used a zigzag stitch on the edge to prevent fraying
Then I turned it right side out 
And stuffed it with the belting material
For complete instructions on how to make a 100% silk cravat, like the one below: please see my other blog posts on cravats. Sadly, I didn't take pictures of all the steps, particularly the first few. The reason for choosing orange silk is that I figured it would work nicely with the similarly colored trim on the shoes, therefore bringing the color up through the outfit. 

Trimming excess edge off seam in cravat/ascot
Adding zigzag stitch to edge to prevent fraying
Sewing completed, including hemming the ends 
Time to turn it right side out
Not pictured: once the cravat/ascot is right side out, it is necessary to steam it flat.

The resulting outfit at the office [Photo credit: Sally]
And same outfit at the end of another day [Photo credit: my girlfriend]

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