Sunday, 11 September 2016

DIY Belt

I have noticed that I have some funny ideas what you can sew and what you just have to buy. Sometimes they don't make any sense. For example I just ordered pile of fabrics to make new outdoor clothes for kids without any hesitation that I couldn't make them. But I have never actually considered making myself a belt. Why? I have absolutely no idea, it is just one of those things that you get so used to buying that you never think twice of it.

How did I end up making one now? One word: need. I needed new belt and I knew what they would cost in the shops, also I didn't want to go to city just to buy one. So I re-thought my ideas about making belts and simply did one. Just in case you have had the same weird idea, here is a complete tutorial how to make a belt. You don't even need any fancy or expensive tools!

You need:

fabric for the belt approximately 10 cm x 150 cm (depending the size you want the belt to be)
fusible interfacing equal amount
4 eyelets with parts to fasten them (usually come with the eyelets)
scrap wood

First choose your fabric. Of course recycled fabric works well here; table cloths and curtains are usually bit stronger fabric and will make beautiful belts too. I recommend not to use anything too light but it doesn't have to be very heavy either as you will support it with fusible interfacing. I used old, cotton table cloth.

Then you of course need the buckle. Where do you get them for free? From old belts of course! If you don't have any, go to second hand store and you are bound to find one for cheap. Or ask your friends, usually someone has broken or too small belts which you can break and take the buckle. Nothing breaks those metallic ones, usually it is the fabric/leather that suffers the time first. Also if you find a belt from second hand store with beautiful buckle but the belt is too small/big, just buy it and re-make it!

I had mine from a belt that I bought together with pants. The pants I have discarded long time ago but luckily I kept the belt. The belt is twined and not very usable as it stretches in use so I cut the buckle out.

Did I throw away rest of the belt? Of course not, you never know when you need it...

Measure the length of the belt and add about 20 cm extra + seam allowances. I added 3 cm to other end and 4 cm to other end. Then check the width you want to use. I recommend making as wide belt as possible. I took the jeans I was going to use it with and measured from there. I ended up cutting 7 cm + seam allowance wide.

Then cut the fusible interfacing to cover the whole belt, minus the seam allowances. Iron it on.

I wish I had a press to do that, it would be so much faster and shoulder friendly than with just an iron!

Iron the long edges turning the seam allowances in and also the other end of the belt (the one with 3 cm seam allowance).

Fold in half, iron.

As you can see, other end is folded in, other end is raw. The raw end (with 4 cm seam allowance) is the one that will be attached to the buckle so no need to fold it just now. Stitch around.

Next step are the eyelets. Here are the tools for this step:

Scrap wood is just working surface, it doesn't matter what you use, just make sure it won't be needed because hammering the eyelets on their places will cause marks on the wood.

Fold the fabric around the buckle and press with your fingers so you can see where the fabric folds:

See the red circle? That's marking the spot I marked for my first eyelet. It is on second fold covering the buckle and the eyelet here is needed so that part of the buckle is able to come through. Like this:

The package of eyelets I had, said that you could make the hole with the eyelet itself by hammering it on the fabric:

My fabric with double interfacing inside was too hard for it and all that I managed to make was a mark. But I used that mark to cut the hole with scissors.

See how I have drawn small crosses inside the circles? That's how I cut the holes. Be very careful, the hole has to be tight, if it is too big, the eyelet won't stay and the fabric will start fraying in use. It isn't even matter of millimeters, it is a matter of parts of millimeters between success and complete failure. Use the smallest scissors you have got. BE VERY CAREFUL!

Cut and try if the eyelet goes through, if it goes through there is no need to cut more, if not, just very careful small snip and try again.

Here too eyelets are through and you can see hole for the third one.

Add the other part of the eyelet:

Place the lower fastening tool under the eyelet and the whole thing on your scrap wood. Place the taller fastening tool on top of it all:

Start hammering. It won't go with one or two hits (of course you might have more muscles than I have, then it might), just try it and see if the top part of the eyelet is already bent enough to keep the eyelet still. Try pulling it and turning it to see if it is completely fastened. If it is proceed to the next step, if not, hammer some more.

Fasten the buckle:

Now your diy belt is almost ready. It can even be ready if you don't mind part of the belt hanging or you made it just the right length. If not, make a loop for the end of the belt:

Stitch and fasten to its place. First measure where you want it to be by closing your belt:



I try to think new ways to upcycle fabric and this belt was definitely one! It would be nice to hear if you have any no-reason ideas what you can't make yourself? Have you overcome them or are they just in planning - if doable at all?


  1. You could back that woven belt with some grosgrain or fabric and it would stop it stretching. I need pillow-slips and for some reason I would just rather buy them even though they would be a fast make.

    1. That's good tip! I will keep that in mind when using that as a strap somewhere. :)

  2. I have never thought of making my own belts. You make it look so easy. I think I'd have to practise doing eyelets on some scrap fabric first, though.

    1. It was easier than I ever thought it would be. :D Even the eyelets didn't cause any problem, only you have to hammer them very tight. So if I ever have a project where I need more of them I will just buy eyelet package with piercing tool and fastening part for my Prym pliers that I use for fastening snap buttons already.