Embellishing Accessories with Repurposed Ribbon Belts

Embellishing Accessories with Repurposed Ribbon Belts

When I was a teenager, I had grand plans that involved collecting snippets of vintage jacquard ribbon (and non-vintage, if pretty enough) to decorate “all the things”, such as handbags, headbands, and t-shirts. But I quickly found out that the gorgeous ribbon I coveted so much was expensive…and my plans fizzled out. Fast forward a couple of decades, and I’m back at it with an alternative (and thrifty) plan: What if I repurposed ribbon belts from the thrift store to embellish all the things?

Ribbon belts at Goodwill thrift store are perfect for upcycling and repurposing as embellishments for tote bags and hats by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Oodles of ribbon belts…

Ribbon belts…or maybe fabric belts?…are as common as picture frames at thrifts. At about $1 each…with a single belt running approximately 1-yard long…it’s a pretty amazing deal as far as “fancy” ribbon is concerned. And yes, maybe they won’t be embroidered jacquard…but even the colorful stripe-y ribbon belts can be gorgeous. So, I decided to give it a go to see what happened when I paired up ribbon belts with other thrifted accessories, namely straw tote bags and sun hats. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Embellishing straw hats and tote bags from the thrift store with upcycled ribbon belts by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Blank “accessory canvases” ready for embellishment!

Gathering the ribbon belts was a little too fun, as I kept discovering new ones to add to my growing collection…some of which were like narrow silk neckties. Here are a few of the belts I found…

Goodness, I’ve collected a few too many…

Setting aside the silk versions for another day and project, washing the belts was my first priority. All I did was fill a bowl with hot, soapy water…soaked them for just a few moments, and then rinsed them out, squeezed as much rinse water out as I could, and then hung them from clip hangers in my laundry room to dry.

Cleaning thrift store ribbon belts before repurposing and upcycling into new accessories by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Just a quick-n-easy soak before upcycling!

For my first repurposed ribbon belt embellishment, I paired up a pretty green & blue ribbon with a plain straw sun hat. I wrapped the belt around the hat, snipped off the excess from the buckle end, and ironed out the wrinkles. Then, I applied strips of permanent press-down fabric tape to the entire length.

Upcycling a thrift store ribbon belt by using fabric tape to attach it to a straw hat for embellishment by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Keeping it easy with fabric tape!

I carefully wrapped it around the hat, removing the paper backing from the tape strips as I went. And ta-da! A ribbon belt embellished hat.

Upcycling a thrift store ribbon belt by using fabric tape to attach it to a straw hat for embellishment by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

I love it!!

Here’s another hat I worked with, first wrapping the belt around to measure out the amount I needed…

Wrapping a ribbon belt around a thrift store hat to upcycle and repurpose it into decoration by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

That was so easy- let’s do another one.

And again using fabric tape to keep it in place. Worth noting- once I trimmed off the buckle-end excess, I attach the ribbon to the hat starting with the raw/cut edge. That way, I can overlap the clean, hemmed end of the belt over the raw edge to make my life easier (no hemming) and keep it looking as neat and tidy as possible.

Creating new one of a kind accessories with upcycled ribbon belts, straw hats, and tote bags by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

See? No fraying edge in sight.

Onto my next repurposed ribbon belt project! Following this tutorial from Martha Stewart, I created a ribbon rosette. I purposefully selected a thinner (not to be confused with narrower), softer, more flexible ribbon belt for this project.

Creating a ribbon rosette using an upcycled and repurposed ribbon belt from the thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

A pretty rosette!

I finished up my ribbon belt rosette by super-gluing a vintage button to the center and stitching on a bar pin to the back. Easy as can be!

Creating a ribbon rosette pin or brooch using an upcycled and repurposed ribbon belt from the thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Fun for your lapel or to also add to a hat or bag.

And for my final ribbon belt craft, I selected this nautical-colored belt to become a single stripe on a straw tote bag. Because the straw of the bag was bulkier than the hats, I figured that fabric tape wouldn’t be enough. So, a needle and thread would be required for this project…

Adding a ribbon belt stripe to an upcycled straw tote bag from the thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

One nautical stripe, coming right up!

I *did* use fabric tape, too, though! After measuring and snipping off the buckle end, I used fabric tape to hold it in place on the bag- no pin holes! Then, I gave it a few stitches here and there to make sure it was perfectly secure.

Adding a ribbon belt stripe to an upcycled straw tote bag from the thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Gosh, that looks good, right? Just one stripe does the trick.

Voilà- brand new accessories for just a few dollars and limited effort (I created all of these in a single afternoon). And I’m completely obsessed with creating more- I’m a total accessory junkie (hats, scarves, jewelry, bags) and absolutely LOVE the idea of creating an entirely new look that is one-of-a-kind like this.

Creating one-of-a-kind accessories, such as tote bags and hats, with upcycled ribbon belts from the thrift store. Simply repurpose ribbon belts as embellishments for other accessories in a matter of minutes by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

A collection of personalized accessories…

What do you think- will you be giving ribbon belts a second look at the thrift from now on? And for even more upcycled/repurposing sewing project ideas, please check out my entire collection here before you go.

Craft on!

S

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PIN ME!How to upcycle ribbon belts from the thrift store as embellishments for repurposed straw tote bags and hats into unique, one-of-a-kind accessories by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

Comments

  1. So clever and fashionable!

  2. Uh Oh….now I will be searching for ribbon belts……your imagination is amazing.

  3. I loved your projects and Martha’s rosettes! I often find ribbon on clearance, at GW, etc and have a HOARD! And fool that I am, have been cutting up belts for years to make back door mats for the dollhouse people; their dogs like them, too! Want to try those rosettes!

  4. I love what you did here. Very creative, talent, and creative. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So good. Yes, yes! Who would have though what a HUGE difference it makes on that bag. Brilliant as usual!!

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