Monday, January 25, 2010

Chanel style belt

From Chanel, Spring/Summer 2010 RTW
How cool are these gold chain belts by Chanel this season?  Often a designer piece inspires me to have a go at reproducing the "look" myself.  It's not that I'm setting out to reproduce a designer item exactly, but ....  well if I could afford Chanel this would be a completely different story but the real deal is sadly not within my reach.  Realistically.  So my only option is to scrabble together something myself.
Here is what I started with, 1.5m each of thick, medium and thin chain, a packet of jump rings and a packet of gold charms.  I didn't really know in my head how ornate I wanted my end result to be, so I overbought a bit...  I also took the large lobster catch off one of my own necklaces (it didn't need it as the necklace could be just slipped over my head)

Started out by just draping the large chain loosely around my waist, to sit at just mid hip/waist height, and attached the lobster catch (modelled on Bessie, here, but I did the fittings on myself)

Then I started looping and attaching the medium chain across the front, joining with jump rings.  After a few of these they started to drive me mad.  Jump rings just cannot cope well with the thickness of the links in chains, besides being really difficult to get on they also become very distorted.  I got some of this 32 gauge jewellery wire I already had, and started "sewing" the chains in place instead with lots and lots of "stitches" (at least 10 per joint, for strength).  This worked heaps better.

I draped and stitched all the medium chain and left just the end hanging loose.

Then I started with the skinniest chain, and ...hmmm.  Breakage after breakage later and me getting increasingly frustrated ... at this point I considered abandoning the whole project.  Jewellery making is not my this point if there had been a Chanel shop around the corner I might have just stormed in and maxed out the credit card out of sheer bloodyminded-ness....  However venting one's rage using the family finances is rarely productive, and anyhow there is not a Chanel shop around the corner.... sensibly, instead I decided that was that and the belt was finished.  I'll find something else to do with the remains of the skinny chain.
I selected one charm to attach to the end of the chain.  I used a "thongs" (or flipflops) charm, just for an Australian touch.

And voila...  After sleeping on it, I'm actually quite happy with the end result.  I can see it over a pair of tight pants, in fact I'm fantasising right now about customising a pair of bootlegs Chanel style as well....

Final verdict?
Well, if you can afford to buy a real Chanel belt, then what are you waiting for.  The real Chanel belt is probably a beautiful piece of real jewellery, and will be far far superior, for sure.  
You need patience and perseverance to work with these fiddly jewellery components, give me sewing anytime...   However, all said and done, I'm happy.  My version will look nice for a season or two, as long as I take care of it and don't tie it into knots in the meantime.


  1. I like the chain belt itself,and it's a great idea. For myself I would try to match it with darker, or a bit more edgy clothings, as I don't like white and gold together. But it looks very good on you.

  2. Your chain belt turned out very nice.

  3. Awesome!! You've done a brilliant job. I find jewellery really hard (and I'm terrible at accessorising, so I generally just don't bother with it).

    Hahaha I did a jewellery making unit at uni and it was a bloody disaster. You should thank your lucky stars you didn't have to saw a piece of copper with a tiny little saw or have to solder anything. HIDEOUS. The lecturers said that my soldering sample should go on the "wall of shame".

  4. You did a great looks fantastic. I love the flip-flops :)