I've been seeing a lot of these fair-trade made-in-Peru embroidered belts in catalogs this year. Sundance Catalog has snowflake designs; Uncommon Goods has florals. Hand-embroidered and pretty but, at $65 to $68 each, definitely out of my price range. They're really very simply constructed—a length of cotton webbing and a buckle—it's the embroidery that's making them so expensive. But hey, we know how to do that ourselves, don't we?
If you want to try something like this yourself, I'd use the lighter weight webbing (the heavyweight, like I use for my key fobs, will be difficult to pass a needle through), a heavier needle with a larger eye, and a thimble to protect your fingers. Sketch your basic design with white pencil—I don't think you need to get too detailed—freeform might yield some "happy accidents". Because you want a lot of impact, use all six strands of embroidery floss or, better yet, wool—the kind used for crewel embroidery. I think you can do most of the embroidery in chain stitch (single rows or several rows packed closely together) and French knots. I'm not sure how to do the grommets but there's probably a tool for attaching them. Or you could do a D-ring type belt and you wouldn't need them at all.
Some other things you could liven up with embroidery—add some flowers to a plain woolen hat or scarf or embellish a secondhand sweater with some flowers scattered across the front.
Stitch School, which used to be an occasional feature on my Primrose Design blog, now has its very own space on the web. You'll find the same tutorials, including step-by-step instructions and photographs, that you've come to love, and I'll be adding new stitches periodically. I'll also feature subjects related to hand embroidery.
I'm a freelance graphic designer with a home-based business crafting pillows and home accessories from vintage materials. I also resell some of the vintage treasures I find on my flea market trips, so look for buttons, trims, aprons, sewing patterns, accessories, cute baby things, and linens on my web site and Etsy shop.