Hello, readers! There has been some discussion in the past on this site regarding plus size belts and the lack of options. I love wearing belts with my dresses and buy most of mine either from Macy’s or on Amazon. However, sometimes I like to wear a belt that exactly matches a dress or make myself a belt that’s unlike anything I can buy. When you make your own belt, you aren’t limited by your size and the possibilities are endless.
The tools I used for this project are as follows:
- Fusible interfacing
- 15/16″ Fashion buckle
- 30″ T-Square ruler
- Clover 5-in-1 sewing gauge
- Chaco liner
- Schmetz needles
- Dritz glass head pins
- Gutermann thread
- Fray check
In addition to these tools, you’ll also need either scissors or a rotary blade/mat — whichever is your preference. An awl also comes in handy as does a bodkin or loop turner and a point creaser. A hand sewing needle is also necessary if you are hand sewing the eyelets on the belt.
You can use just about any fabric to make your belt. It just depends how you want it to look and how sturdy you want it to be. I like to make mine to match my dresses and usually use the same fabric that I’m using for my dresses so that it matches perfectly. You also don’t need much fabric for a belt, and you can often cut it out with your pattern pieces.
Note: I used rayon twill to make this belt and had planned on making it with a green canvas, but I couldn’t find the shade I was looking for, so I used a remnant from a recent project. Wawak had sent me jean needles for sewing with canvas, but as I changed fabrics, I used Schmetz microtex needles instead.
Measure the buckle to find the width you need for your belt and double that measurement. Add seam allowances for each side and use that figure for the next step. Alternatively, you could use the width of the inside of your buckle plus the seam allowance and cut the fabric out double thickness.
Lay your fabric out and mark the width needed for your belt. I layed mine out single thickness for this belt. The T-square works really well to keep the chalk mark straight. Cut your waist measurement plus about 6″, depending upon how long you want your belt.
Take your fabric piece and cut out your interfacing to match your fabric piece. Of course you get a better edge when you use a rotary blade. I used lightweight interfacing for this belt. As my belt buckle is slim, I didn’t want to use interfacing that was too thick for this belt-making method as it would be difficult to turn it later on. I’ve used thicker interfacing and sew-in interfacing as well as hair canvas to make belts. All of them work with varying thicknesses and levels of sturdiness.
Iron or sew your interfacing to the fabric pieces.
With right sides together, pin your belt in preparation for sewing. I cut a diagonal line on this belt — you can do whatever is your preference.
Sew the belt using the seam allowance you previously decided on. This belt has a fold. If you cut your belt out double thickness, you would have two seams. You can either sew the end or leave it open. It’s easier to turn with an open end, but your belt end will look better if it’s sewn shut first. If you leave both ends open, you can turn the seam allowance in, pin it and sew it when you top stitch the belt.
Turn your belt to the right side.
Iron your belt.
I like to topstitch my belts to finish them and make them sturdier. You don’t necessarily need to do this step. Alternatively, instead of sewing the inside and turning the belt to the outside, you could iron the seam allowance down on the sides of your belt pieces. place wrong sides together and top stitch over the edges. This method works well for thicker fabrics and interfacings.
In addition, I also like to use belting for a sturdy and more professional looking belt. I have some old packages of belting that are pre-cut that I both inherited from my grandma and have found in thrift stores. The box above I got at Joann’s on clearance, which was originally sold by the yard. I’m not certain if they still carry it.
You can apply belting following the instructions on the box. When using belting, I prefer to sew my belts following the methods I’ve showcased here, and then slipping belting into my fabric casing. Depending on the width of my belt, I then sew a narrow topstitch on the edges (just missing the belting) to keep the belting in place.
Attach the belt to the buckle. This buckle has a bar to wrap the belt around. You can either sew through the belt with a stitch showing on the outside or hand stitch on the inside of the belt if you don’t want stitches showing. When I use belting, I always hand sew on the inside as you can’t stitch through the belting.
Most buckles don’t have a bar to wrap the belt around and instead, just have a center bar where the hook is attached. To account for the hook, either sew an eyelet or a buttonhole for the hook to go through.
Fancier belt buckles aren’t that easy to come by at stores like Joann’s, I’ve found nice ones on Etsy and at antique stores. Alternatively, you could re-purpose buckles off of old belts. My favorite buckles are covered ones as they look great on retro dresses. Covered buckle kits aren’t easy to find. I inherited some from the 50’s/60’s that were my grandma’s and since I’ve used up most of those. I’m always looking for more. I’ve found many in thrift stores and some on Etsy.
For the final steps, you need make the belt holes. Mark where you want to place them and then sew eyelets for the holes. I usually use an awl to cut the holes out, but I’ve seemed to misplace mine, so I used scissors. I’m not the greatest at sewing eyelets. Perhaps you have a stitch on your machine that sews them, none of my machines have that feature.
I’ve started using metal eyelets on belts, which make them look more professional and mean that I don’t have to sew the eyelets. I believe you can find eyelets in most sewing stores. I have several boxes and kits plus a setting tool that my mom gave me from her sewing stash. I also found the package in the photo above at a thrift shop. Eyelets are really easy to apply and work best with belts that have belting, thicker fabrics and sturdier interfacing.
And there’s my finished belt. The eyelets aren’t as great as I’d like them to be, which I attribute to not using my awl to punch the holes. Below are a few examples of other belts I’ve made.