- 1/8 yard each of two cotton fabrics that compliment each other (the kind used for quilting, often referred to as "calico") ** See Important Note on Sizing under Step 1 below
- 1/4 yard of medium weight fusible interfacing (usually comes about 22" wide - I used Pellon, available at Jo-Ann Fabrics) ** See Important Note on Sizing under Step 1 below
- thread that matches both fabrics (load bobbin with same thread)
- slide style belt buckle - the one shown was purchased from jcarolinecreative.com
- tape measure
- sewing machine
- hand sewing needle
- pen for marking
- Optional: rotary cutting supplies
** Important Note on sizing: Most cotton fabrics are 44 to 45 inches wide. If you need a longer belt, purchase more fabric and cut 2 strips from each fabric. Join ends, matching any obvious prints, and press seams open. If you do not want this seam to be at the center back, plan it so that the seam is closer to one end or on the side, before cutting in Step 4. You may also need to purchase more fusible interfacing.
Step 2: Measure the opening of your belt buckle. This is the width that you will be cutting your interfacing. Add 1 inch to this number. This is width that you will be cutting your fabric strips.
Step 3: Press your cotton fabrics, but do not open up the fold. If you have rotary cutting supplies, cut one width of fabric strip from each of your cotton fabrics using the measurement determined above - remember, this is 1 inch more that the width of your belt opening - or 2 strips if making a longer belt.
If you do not have a rotary cutter, you will need to draw your lines before cutting as follows: With the fold of the fabric closest to you, draw a line perpendicular to the fold using your yardstick and pen, close to the raw edge of the fabric. (To make sure that your line is perpendicular, you may want to use another ruler to create a T-square.) From this line, measure the desired width and make a tic mark with your pen in 2 or 3 places. With your yardstick, line up the tic marks and draw a second line parallel to the first. Cut on lines. It is less important that the fabric strips are perfectly even.
Step 4: Trim your cotton fabric strips to the length determined in Step 1 (remember, this is 9.5 inches more than your waist/hip measurement), lengthening strips as needed as mentioned above to adjust sizing.
Step 5: Cut 4 strips of interfacing the width of your belt buckle opening as in Step 3 (cut 5 strips if your belt will be larger than 43 inches). It is very important that all of these strips are cut to the same width, because this will be the base of your belt.
Step 6: Center one strip of interfacing on the WRONG side of one of your fabric strips, exactly 1/2 inch from the end of the fabric (it does not have to be perfectly centered, just eyeball it) and fuse according to the manufacturer's instructions. Note that one side of the interfacing has tiny dots of glue on it. Make sure that this is the side facing your fabric; you don't want to fuse it to your iron!
Step 7: Lay your second strip of interfacing on wrong side of the same fabric, overlapping the ends about 1/4 inch. Quick fuse the join. Smooth out the interfacing to the end of your cotton fabric and trim off any excess. Fuse the remainder from the join to the end, adding any extra needed to adjust for sizing as noted above. Turn fabric to RIGHT side facing you and iron once more. Repeat this step with your other fabric strip.
Step 8: With the WRONG side of the fabric facing you, fold the edges inward and press, being careful not to fold the interfacing. Do this with both fabric pieces. Turn fabric with RIGHT side facing and press again.
Step 9: Take your two strips and pin the fused ends together with the RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER, making sure all edges match.
Sew the ends together using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.
Trim seam to just over 1/8 inch to reduce bulk.
With RIGHT side facing, press seam towards one side (you don't need to open it).
Step 10: Time for a sneak preview! Slide each end of your fabric through the belt buckle opening, and pin the two sides together close to the buckle end.
Try on your belt and see what you think!
Step 11: Fold the extra 1/2 inch of fabric over the edge of the ends of your belt (this is the 1/2 inch you left unfused in Step 6) and press.
Find the center of your belt and mark with a pen (top view in photo below):
Fold the corners towards this mark as though you were making a paper airplane (bottom view in photo above). Press with iron.
Beginning with the points, match the two ends of your belt together with wrong sides facing each other, and pin down the center all the way to the buckle. If one side of your belt is a little wider than the other (as mine is), make sure you do your top-stitching on this side (one of my fabrics was a little heavier that the other, and this slight variation made a difference).
Step 12: Beginning at the end of your belt, just before the angle of the point, begin top-stitching with your machine as closely to the edge as you can (1/8 inch or less). I use the edge of my presser foot as a visual guide.
Keep sewing in a straight line towards the buckle end as far as you can go. You will not be able to sew all the way to the buckle. DO NOT TRY TO FORCE IT! When you feel the buckle hit your presser foot, stop and backstitch.
Now go back to the place were you started, backstitching a few times, and proceed down the other side of the belt towards the buckle, stopping at the same point as the opposite side. Trim all threads. You're almost done!
Step 13: Thread a sharp needle with about 20 inches of the same thread you have been sewing with and knot the end. At the same place where you stopped sewing before the buckle, insert the needle between the two layers of your belt and pull so that knot is buried. Be sure to trim off any tail from the end of your knot. Following the same lines you machine stitched, use a double running stitch to sew the remainder of your belt together, ending about 1/4 inch shy of the buckle and working several extra stitches at the very end to make it secure (this means doubling back more than once).
Do not fret if your stitches are not perfectly straight and even; once you have your belt on, you won't even be able to see them!
Put your new belt on and dance around the room singing: "I made it! I made it!". Take belt off, turn to the other side and repeat!