Thank you for your comments on my recent post. I wore the dress to a wedding this weekend and confirm after a few hours on the dancefloor that it has excellent swishy movement! During my post, I promised to talk a little more about my fabric covered belt.
I used a quick and easy method of making a thin semi-flexible fabric belt with a pronged buckle. If you prefer something sturdier there are links to additional tools and directions at the end. My belt was made using an amalgamation of tutorials also listed at the end.
So! There are a few things I had out on my table when getting started:
- Belt buckle – I picked up mine from a car boot sale as it’s a great place to find vintage buckles. Alternatively eBay generally have a good supply of them.
- Eyelet pliers/tool – Generally any tool you buy will include a pack of eyelets. You might even find a full kit that includes a rotating hole punch (see below)!
- Eyelets – I also picked these up from a car boot sale, hence the funny storage tin.
- Seam ripper – if you don’t have revolving punch pliers to make 3 mm holes in your fabric, your seam ripper will be fine.
- Chalk pencils – so you know where to poke your holes!
- Finally some drafting tools – paper, pencils and a ruler.
Here are the highlights!
Measure your waist, adding about 8 – 10 inches to the length (You need extra for installing a pronged buckle and so your belt extends round you without looking short).
Then measure the bar for your belt buckle. Ignore the prong for now. This will be the finished width of your belt.
“Draft” a paper pattern that uses your length and width, then add seam allowance all the way around. The belt should be cut on the grain. Cut two of your fabric and one of stiff fusible interfacing. Sew it up around the two long sides and one short, trim seam allowances, turn the right way and press the heck out of it.
For the buckle, mark about 2 inches in from the unfinished edge at the centre width of your belt. You can either add a hole and an eyelet here, a tiny buttonhole or if your belt won’t get worn often just seam rip a little hole about 3 mm in size. Thread the prong of the buckle through the eyelet/buttonhole/hole. On the back of the belt, fold the free unfinished edge around the back of the buckle, turn under and hand stitch in place.
Mark your first eyelet at the point on the length where your belt will fasten (drape your belt around you to check) and be sure that your mark is at the centre width. Then mark additional holes at 1 inch spaces until you’re about 3 inches from the end of the belt.
Make the smallest of holes with your seam ripper. Insert an eyelet face up through the hole (aka the broader side is the top and that will show on the front of your belt). Insert the plunger of your pliers through the wrong side of the hole in the fabric, you will see it is now sitting inside your eyelet. (See below without any fabric in the way).
Press firmly and the back of the eyelet will be crushed securely around your fabric. Repeat until all your eyelets are in place.
If you’d like, you can add another small strip of the fabric to make a stay to hold the tail of the belt in place when it’s buckled. Measure out a piece 1/2” wide and long enough to wrap around whatever width belt you’re making and overlap neatly at the back. You can stitch the ends together in place so it will never move.
Or slip the finished ring over the belt and down towards the buckle end, just don’t let it slip off one day!
There you have it! Your very own fabric covered belt!
Additional supplies and tutorials
There is the option to use belting inside your belt which will be quite firm but I find those belts a little less forgiving after lunchtime. Also you will struggle a little more to punch the holes through belting and will definitely need to use metal eyelets rather than plastic ones. This belting is not nylon webbing for bags or seatbelts, it’s a flexible buckram strap and it sort of reminds me of the casing plastic boning comes in.
Rotating hole punches have the ability to punch through leather, fabric and card and can be set to punch holes of varying sizes.