Alma Blouse: A Trick to Sewing the Tie Belt

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a little trick to sewing the tie belt on the Alma Blouse. The actual trick is very short to explain, so I thought while I was at it, I’d demonstrate how to make the whole tie belt! You can add a tie belt to any blouse. Thread a contrast tie belt through the belt loops of your pants and shorts, or tie it around the waist of a solid dress for emphasis. Whatever you plan to do with your fabric belt, the construction steps are basically the same.

You might wonder why there is a seam in the belt. One, because it’s easier to cut out. One really long belt piece uses up a lot of fabric. Two, because there is limited space on the pattern tissue, not enough to stretch the belt out as a single piece. If you want to eliminate the seam, simply place the seamline of the belt pattern piece on the fold for a one-piece belt.

First, let’s sew up the seam in the belt.

Press seam allowances open.

Fold the belt right sides together, lining up the long edges. Sew this seam from end to end, leaving a space of about 4″ (10cm) close to the middle of the belt.

Trim corners, as shown. I rearranged the trimmed-off pieces in place to show you where they were cut from, it makes a pretty photo!

Turn the belt right side out. This part takes a while, so sit down, make yourself comfortable and gently ease the belt right-side out. When it’s turned, it will look like this – a fabric sausage!

Press that fabric sausage flat.

Now, the last step in the instructions tells you to slipstitch the opening closed. You could do that, but I try to avoid hand-sewing on a casual blouse like this. I have a faster method!

Here’s the opening we left – press it in place, turning the seam allowances in evenly with the rest of the belt.

What we’ll do is sew very close to the edge of the fold of the opening, and backstitch at both ends. Start at the end of the fold, backstitch, and sew to the other end, getting as close to the fold as you can without falling off the edge.

Here’s what it looks like, close up:

It looks noticeable in this photo, and it will if you look for it, but once we’re wearing the belt it will be hardly visible! Especially if your fabric is darker, or if it’s a very busy print.

On a casual blouse, I prefer this speedy step than slipstitching. It’ll take way longer to look for a hand-sewing needle and get it threaded. If you have purchased items with tie belts in your closet, take a look – they might use this method instead of hand-sewing the opening closed!

I thought I’d share this time-saving trick, as I know we’re all fitting sewing time into busy lives. What do you think? Would you prefer to slipstitch or do you like this method?

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17 Responses to Alma Blouse: A Trick to Sewing the Tie Belt

  1. Dana August 14, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    Hi Tasia. Just wanted to say thanks, my Alma pattern arrived today! I look forward to making mine in version A as we are going into Summer here in Australia. I don’t usually wear belted blouses like this, so I have a question re the above. In the above post your trick is sort of like top stitching a small section of the belt, could you (or would you) top stitch around the entire belt? Or would it look too “flat”? Maybe too Karate Kid?

    • Tasia August 14, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      Hi Dana! Yes, you could definitely topstitch around the whole belt if you wanted to! If you stayed close to the edge the effect would be more subtle, and if you left more space (say, 1/4″) then the stitching would be more noticeable. I think because the belt is narrow, we’re not in danger of it looking too Karate Kid – having angled ends on the tie, and tying it in a bow help avoid that look!

  2. Funnygrrl August 14, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I avoid handstitcing as much as I can. I love this method and have used it. I thought I was cheating. ;)
    Thanks for the helpful tips!

    • Tasia August 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      It’s not cheating, it’s a totally viable alternative to slipstitching. :) but it’s always nice to see someone else doing it, too!

  3. nothy lane August 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I avoid handstitching too. I think I will top stitch around my belt too. I just picked up my pattern in the mail, and I am excited to get started.

    • Tasia August 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      Nice! Topstitching will create a stronger edge, and probably make it easier to press after washing too! Glad the pattern arrived safely.

  4. Kristen August 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    I personally don’t mind hand-stitching, but I don’t mind saving time, either! I also think it’s easier to fold in the seam allowances after getting everything right-side-out if I press the fold when it’s still inside out. Being able to fold the whole seam allowance over and press the edges just where the opening will be makes it much easier to fold them in – I usually use this for pillow covers, but it’s the same idea here! (Actually, I usually forget to do this and then wish I had, especially if I used a smaller seam allowance!)

    • Tasia August 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      Interesting tip! You just press both seam allowances to one side, and then it’s easier to press them inwards after the belt is turned? I’ll have to try that.

      • Kristen August 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

        I kind of press them each to their own side, if that makes sense… It’s a little hard to explain but easy to do! I fold each raw edge towards the fold along the stitching line, wrong sides together – almost as if you were pressing the seam allowance open, but just one half at a time and not actually “opened” (so that you aren’t pressing weird creases into the rest of the fabric). Hope that made sense. :)

  5. Jennifer August 15, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    Hi Tasia – I just ordered the Alma blouse pattern – I’m so excited. Thanks for this tip!

    • Tasia August 15, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you for the order, and I’m glad you enjoyed the tip!

  6. Jessica August 15, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    I love edge stitching things closed…hand stitching is so not my thing. And you’re right – you can barely see it in the photo!

    I also really love that fabric still…if only I could find it online! I know it’s Telio, but it’s been hard for me to locate in cyberspace – have any tips?

    Also, that’s one awesome ironing board cover.

    • Tasia August 15, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks – it’s actually the standard IKEA mini-ironing board cover. You know, the small tabletop ironing board? That’s what it is!

      I know in the comments of the Telio post that the Telio representative said you could email if you wanted to know where to find a particular fabric – that might work! Someone also mentioned they found the exact same fabric at Dressew (a Vancouver store but they don’t sell online). I’ll see if I can find the email..

      • Tasia August 15, 2012 at 9:20 am #

        Hi Jessica – here you go:

        “If you wish to find some of our featured fabrics in fabrics stores in your area just contact us at generalinfo at , we’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions.”

        I thought it was awesome that they offered to answer inquiries. I hope you find the fabric!

        • Jessica August 16, 2012 at 8:03 am #

          Thank you! I’m in the US (would’ve been helpful if I’d mentioned that), so hopefully they’ll be able to help!

          • Jessica August 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

            Just thought I’d follow up…I emailed Telio and they were very kind and quick with their reply! Unfortunately, the fabric is sold out, (final yardage sold to a brick and mortar shop in Canada) but they said two websites sell some of their other fabrics in the US: Fabric Depot and Vogue Fabrics. :)

  7. soisewedthis August 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    I also just ordered the Alma blouse pattern today! This will be my first Sewaholic pattern, and I’m looking forward to sewing several different versions of it! I’m bookmarking these posts to go back and reread when I start.