Looking through a 1969 Vogue Magazine recently I noticed tassel belts, like the one below, shown in many of the fashion editorials. The late 60s and early 70s was the height of the hippie culture’s influence in fashion, so bohemian type accessories were a big trend. Of course, I was instantly intrigued! Thinking they wouldn’t be too difficult to make, I set about making a list of “ingredients” I would need to try and whip up a couple for myself.
So off I went to Joanne’s and Michael’s. Luckily these stores are conveniently located within a 5 minute drive from my house. I had everything I needed in no time. But many of these items can also be purchased online, from websites that sell jewelry making supplies.
Ingredients for Making Beaded Tassel Belt
•Braid-Decide on length by measuring your waist and adding at least another 1/2 yd or more depending on how long you want the ends to fall.
•Jeweler’s wire cutters, needle nose and round nose pliers
•Metal end caps- These come in many different shapes and sizes and you’ll need to find ones that are the same size as your braid for a snug fit. Here are some examples.
•Lobster claw clasps
Step 1-Depending on the thickness of the braid you chose, it can be a little stiff. Remembering my husband soaks the boat dock lines in water with fabric softener to make them more pliable, I figured I’d try it with the braid. Soaked overnight in a tub of water with Downy and it worked like a charm to make the braid softer and easier to wrap and tie.
The ends of the braid/rope will be taped off after they cut it for you to keep it from fraying. Once you untape you’ll want to tightly wrap about 1/2″ of the ends with matching thread. That will keep the ends nice and tidy for when you insert
mash them into the end caps. I used E6000 and globbed some inside the caps before pushing the braid ends in.
Step 2 Use your eyepins and jump rings to attach your beads and tassels together in a combination of your liking. I purposely purchased tassels with end caps attached with rings so I could just hook my eyepins or jump rings onto them.
If you prefer thread tassels, you can buy them instead, but there has to be some type of loop at the end to attach the beads to. I also found this great tassel tutorial if you want to make your own tassels from embroidery or crochet thread. These would look really cute with this type of belt too.
TIP-When using pliers to open eyepins and jump rings always open them on an angle.
Step 3– Once you’ve got your beads threaded on the eyepin wire the way you like, close the straight end of the eyepin by making a loop with the round nosed pliers. Leave it partially open to attach your clasp or any other finding that you prefer. Then use the pliers to fully close the loop.
I decided to incorporate lobster claw clasps, thinking it might be nice to be able to switch out different bead/tassel configurations to match your outfit. You could even clip a different one on each end and really shake things up!
On the black braid I attached the lobster claws to the end caps, but on the teal braid I attached the lobster claws right to the beaded tassel drop. Either way really works fine for being able to detach and reattach. So it’s a personal preference thing.
And here I am wearing the finished products. I decided to go all out boho with an embroidered Johnny Was tunic worn over a pair of 1970s floral print palazzo pants.
These were really super easy to make and did not take long at all. And the opportunities to get really creative are endless! Different widths and colors of braid, different kinds of beads, tassels etc. The sky’s the limit. I also think this would be a really fun project for a girly craft
wine drinking night. Will have to put that on the calendar!