Anything-But-Basic Belt

Anything-But-Basic Belt

The title of this post was originally going to be “the Basic Belt” but there are so many ways that you can dress this belt up that really, its anything but basic. However, if you make this particular belt (giving it your own whim, of course) its sort of the “belt starting point” if you will. This belt doesn’t have any really tricky maneuvers and doesn’t involve the use of eyelets or the prong. Instead, its just a buckle with a belt. Are you ready to jump in? I know I am. Let’s go!

Anything-But-Basic Belt

For your Anything-But-Basic Belt, you will need:
◊ A Buckle – one that has a middle bar
◊ Belt Backing – your waist measurement plus 6-8 inches
◊ Fabric – 2 inches longer than the length of the belting x triple the belting width (I used silk dupioni for this example)
◊ Needle & Thread
◊ Pliers
◊ Sew-on snaps (optional)

Let’s start with the belt backing. You’ll need a piece of belt backing that is your waist measurement ( I measure over the clothes I’ll be wearing the belt with) plus 6 – 8 inches. I opt for the 8 inch side of things because I like a little extra hang off. Next you’ll need to cut a point on the end (or any other shape you desire – round, blunt, 3-cornered, etc.). If your belt backing is wonky from the packaging, have a peek at this tip to see how to get it to ship-shape up. Put this aside.

Anything-But-Basic Belt

Cut your fabric. I typically chop this off the end of a piece of fabric on the cross-grain – but you can go with cross grain or straight grain. You’ll need to cut a rectangular piece that is triple the width of the belt backing (example: for 1″ wide belting, cut a 3″ wide piece) and that is also 2 inches longer than the length of your belting.

Let’s move onto the sewing and folding. There are so many ways to sew the fabric for a belt, but I’m going to start with my favorite way. I’ll be showing you all the other ways I know of too, so if this particular construction method doesn’t suit your fancy, don’t worry! To start, along one of the long lengthwise edges, press up 1/2 “. Now take your belt backing with the shiny side facing up and fold the fabric for the point at the end of the belt. Fold the fabric over the point by about 1 inch, then fold each side in on itself. Pin that in place if needed. Fold the unpressed lengthwise edge of the fabric over the belt backing and then fold the pressed lengthwise edge over that and pin in place as you go down the belt all the way to the end. You should have about 1″ hang off of fabric at the end. Next slip-stitch all these folds in place.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say this doesn’t take a little bit of time, because it does. But really not much. There’s a few things that I like about this method though. This method works especially well for fabrics that are fray crazy – like silk and wool. With this method, the back seam isn’t so bulky and eyelets go in a little easier and better. This method also allows you to control how tight the fabric is around the belt backing and sometimes when you do it by machine, the fabric is tight in some sections and not in others and makes the belting material go wonky.

Anything-But-Basic Belt

Optional tip: Before adding on the buckle, you can topstitch around the edges of the belt. This works great to keep the fabric in place and can also be a decorative touch to a somewhat boring belt. You can do it by machine or by hand. To do it by machine, simply use a sewing needle that is for thicker fabrics and slowly and carefully topstitch 1/8″ from the edge all the way around the belt. To do it by hand, pick a nice embroidery thread and have an embroidery needle, thimble and small set of pliers handy. Topstitch by hand 1/8″ from the edge all the way around pushing the needle through all layers with your thimble and pulling the needle up with your pliers.

Anything-But-Basic Belt

Time to add your buckle. Slip the end of your belting over the buckle’s middle bar, fold your excess fabric over the belting and hand stitch in place.

Anything-But-Basic Belt

Optional tip: Tired of belts that won’t stay in place? Here’s a tip. Try your belt on and hold in place, pin mark the inside of the overlap belting and a corresponding section of the under belt that’s near the buckle. Add a sew-on snap to the pin markings. To be able to wear your belt over thicker and thinner fabrics add a corresponding snap piece to each side of the original snap, about 1/4″ – 1/2″ away from each other.

And there you go friends! Have fun making your Anything-But-Basic Belt! I’ll be back with more belt fun later this week!

xoxo,
Sunni

  • Tasha - Ooh I love this one! Such a cute belt, the contrast stitching is a great touch. I’ve bookmarked so many of the posts in this series! :) ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - Great looking belt. This is a good series, and I look forward to the next installment.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - Super cute, I have a kit waiting to be made, this might be what it ends up like, thanks for the post.ReplyCancel

  • Tee - Very nice, I need a red belt, I will try this out! ThanksReplyCancel

  • Jeanne Marie - Aha! I love this method for wrapping the belt backing in fabric. This is definitely where I went wrong in a very early attempt at beltmaking. My current project cries out for a matching belt, and I’m feeling brave after reading this. If I have enough fabric leftover, I’ll give this a try. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - It’s totally easy! I really like this method, even though it does take a bit longer, but the end result is well worth the effort.ReplyCancel

  • Natasha - Thanks for the great tutorial. I have never made a belt before and am inspired to give it a go! Thanks..ReplyCancel

  • Anjomo - Love the tutorial! Looks like I could actually manage to make my own belts. Just one question: I’m not sure how to cover the buckle. Did I accidentally skip that part while reading? If not, is it self-explanatory or are you maybe covering it (em…this part of beltmaking) in a later post?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I’ll be covering this in a later post for sure! So easy! I’ll also be adding how to cover a buckle that didn’t come with its adhesive pattern too!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Very cool, your visuals are incredibly helpful!

    Actually as an avid reader for over a year now, I have to say all of your tutorials have been great. You really have a knack for teaching this type of thing.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - Hi, great tutorial…..On the basic belt construction, just wondering if you were going to explain how to cover the belt buckle with the fabric?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Susie!

      You bet! Sorry I haven’t been around this week, but I’ll be returning next week with a full load of tutorials including how to cover a belt buckle. Easy peasy!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - I absolutely adore anything with top-stitching. Beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - Wow Sunni, your belt looks so cute. I wonder if it will be as cute, when I try to make one.ReplyCancel

  • Allie (icepinkstars) - Okay… I have decided… I *HAVE* to do this! :) What a great tutorial! Very easy to understand, and it makes me excited about trying something new. I’ve never made my own belt before.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne Marie - My belt kit arrived this week! I’m very excited. Once I finish the skirt and top project I’m currently working on, I’ll make the belt to go with it. The top has a peplum, so it cries out for a belt. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda S. - AWESOME!!! Great post – I have never seen this done before. You’ll be showing how to make the actual buckle too, right? Also, please include tips for making your own sticky transfer as all the vintage ones in my stash are long since dried up. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Seraphinalina - That is awesome! I never would have thought of adding snappers to keep it in place, such a great idea. So often I have admired a matching belt in seeing finished garments but never really took the next step of doing it too. I could follow those steps!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - Thanks so much for putting together the belt kits and this awesome tutorial. I just finished mine last night to go along with my recent Rooibos creation: http://www.whatsupcupcakeblog.com/2011/09/ginger-belts-and-self-stitched.html

    I need to stock up on some more of your belt supplies because I think I’m addicted to making belts. :) ReplyCancel

  • Hand-Covering a Buckle - [...] that don’t. The kind that have a middle bar can be used as a buckle slide – like in the Anything-But-Basic Belt – or a traditional buckle with a prong. The kind of buckles that don’t have a middle [...]ReplyCancel

  • Lavender - Great tutorial! I picked up a vintage kit at a yard sale last summer, and will be sure to make my first belt soon :) ReplyCancel