Hey there, readers!
Do you like to wear belts, but have a hard time finding a belt in your size? Or do you want to wear belts that coordinate with your me-made garments? Then this tutorial is for you!
- Measuring tape
- Needles & Thread
- Sewing Machine
I’ve been making belts for several years and this is my favorite method. It’s also the quickest and easiest for me. I will also describe how to sew belts using two other methods.
1. Measure inside width of buckle. Double the buckle measurement and add seam allowance x 2 (there will be two pieces of fabric, so you need double the seam allowance that you plan to sew or your belt won’t be wide enough to fit flush on the buckle). I’m using a prong buckle. If you’re using a slide buckle, you will follow the same method, except that you will forgo the hole for the prong describe in #12.
2. Use your waist measurement + the inches you want your belt to overlap + seam allowance + a couple of extra inches to wrap around the bar on the buckle (read #11 for more on this). The easiest way to figure this out is to take a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist and overlap it to your preference. The overlap on my belts vary.
3. Make a pattern by dividing your total from #2 in half as you will be cutting on the fold. Your pattern will be the length from #2 (divided by 2) with the width measurement from #1. I cut this belt on the bias, so I added another half inch to the length as I wasn’t able to cut on the fold and sewed a center back seam.
4. Cut out fabric and interfacing on fold. I used midweight fusible interfacing for this belt. Depending on the weight of the fabric and what kind of belt I’m looking for, I have used lightweight interfacing and no interfacing. If you want to use a heavyweight interfacing or belting, you will need to skip to the end of this tutorial as it will be very difficult to turn the belt with heavy interfacing.
5. Apply interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. You can use fusible or sew on interfacing.
6. Fold in half, right sides together and sew the short ends and long side (not the fold), leaving an opening in the center of a few inches. One end will be straight, but you can add a point or a slant on the other end if you wish.
7. Trim edges and turn. If you sewed a 1/4″ seam allowance, you will only need to trim the short ends and corners.
9. Sew middle opening. I stitch this by end, but you could also skip it if you’ve pressed the seams inside and just want to top-stitch over it to enclose.
10. Optional: Top-stitch. Sometimes I don’t top-stitch the belt, depending on the fabric that I’ve used. I think top-stitching helps keep the belt together.
11. Wrap one end of the belt (not the end that you added a point if you added one) around the bar of the belt and figure out where you want the end to stop and pin it. Sometimes I add enough length on my belt that I wrap the belt end past the buckle with enough clearance so that I can sew it down with my sewing machine.
12. Mark the center where the prong would go. Remove pin from #11. I sew a small buttonhole, but you could also cut a slit and finish it by hand. Insert the prong and pin the end down again. If you’re using a slide buckle, you would skip this step.
13. Sew belt end down. I did a short end on this belt and sewed it by hand. If you prefer, you can sew it by machine if you made your belt end long enough.
14. Put your belt on and figure out where you want your belt holes and mark them. I usually mark one and then sew one in front and one behind it. I sew my belt holes using the smallest buttonhole on my machine. If you have an eyelet stitch on your machine (not even sure if that’s available — it’s not on mine), than use that stitch. You can also make eyelets using an awl and hand sew them.
15. Optional: You can sew a loop and a carrier to your belt to keep the belt end confined.
Two Layer Method
Instead of making a belt pattern that is double the width, you would cut out two belt pieces using your belt buckle width measurement + belt length measurement adding seam allowances to both the length and width. When I make belts in this manner, it’s because I’m using heavy interfacing. I will usually cut out my belt, fuse or sew my interfacing, iron the seam allowances on my belt (all around — long and short ends), pin and top-stitch the two belt pieces together. After that, the steps are the same from #11 on.
One-Piece Center Back Sew Method
This method works well for using belting and is the method described on the back of my box of belting. Follow steps #1-3 and cut out fabric. Cut belting to fit and add a point on one end if you wish. Press down seam allowances and wrap belt fabric around belting with the long ends meeting in the center on one side, which will be the back ( I usually pin this and remove pins as you iron). Iron back and front. Hand stitch the back center seam. Follow steps #11-14, except that you will be using scissors, an awl and hand sewing. I don’t use my sewing machine for belting.
For slide buckles you don’t have a prong to keep the belt in place and I used to make the belts long and wrap the end into my belt and loop it. A friend recommended sewing velcro to the ends to secure it. This method works really well for me. You could also sew on a snap or two, but I prefer the velcro as it’s more adjustable than a snap.
I used a covered buckle kit for this belt. They’re difficult to find, but I bought mine in the NY Garment District. I’ve also found them at thrift stores and on Etsy.
Voila! You’ve made your own belt!