In our trip to Bukovina, we found Maria, an 80 years old Romanian peasant who was selling bright waist belts at a crafts fair. Her waist belts caught my eyes. She is sewing waist belts with folklore motifs for over 20 years.
She works 4 to 5 hours a day. It takes up to seven days to finish a small waist belt for young boys , of app. 3.12″ in width and 2 weeks for an adult waist belt of double width size, app. 6″. These waist belts are worn by young men at different village celebrations and events.
The embroidery is the visible part, wrapped around the waist, covering the plain material.
For materials, the floral motifs are sewn with cotton on a velvet fabric. Imagination is the limit for ornamenting the waist belts and these basic steps should be more than enough to get you going:
1. The velvet is cut to the desired length and width.
Total length for S/M : 58.5 inch
Embroidered part length is 35.1 inch
2. The raw edges of the garment are sewn with black yarn, to prevent them from falling apart.
3. Crochet the edges of the belt with bright color.
4. Draw a leaf and a flower on a piece of paper.
Maria is drawing oak leafs and roses, but choosing the ornaments is up to you. Then, you must trim the excess paper and keep the pieces.
5. Draw their contours on the material with chalk.
At this point, you set the distance between the leafs and flowers and sew the contours of the leafs and flowers with the desired colors.
6. Fill the insides of the leafs and flowers.
7. Fill the distance between them with embroidery stitches, stars, sequins, beads, branches.
Before, the peasants had to create the fabric on a loom, by counting and hand picking in the warp.