Got a minute? Make a belt! These cuties go from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. They’re a fun way to spice up your summer shorts and shifts. Or, create a handcrafted gift that is sure to impress. (We’ll never tell you pulled it together at the last minute!)
The base of our belts is 1” Dritz Belting. It’s 100% polypropylene and comes in 20 cool colors. To this we added a single line of decorative stitching down the center for the perfect fashion kick.
We recommend selecting a dense decorative stitch pattern in a wide width; we used a 9mm width on all our samples. If your stitches are broken into categories, “Satin Stitches” is a good place to start.
As with any time you use decorative stitching, you want to try a variety of possibilities prior to starting your project. Test the pattern as well as the stitch width and length, and don’t forget to experiment with different weights of thread. It all makes a difference, and the only way to tell for sure if it’s right is to test, test, test. It’s good to do your testing on a scrap of the actual belting if possible in order to get the best idea of color contrast.
For our five samples, we used the following combinations:
- Citrus Orange Belting with Mettler 50wt #1074 using Janome Skyline S7 Satin Stitch #1 (9.0/.30) – 50wt is a finer thread, so we reduced the stitch length to increase the density.
- Royal Blue Belting with Aurifil 40wt #1114 using Janome Skyline S7 Satin Stitch #10 (9.0/3.0) – a slightly heavier thread with beautiful coverage and a lovely sheen.
- Gray Belting with Sulky 30wt #1834 using Janome Skyline S7 Decorative Stitch #16 (9.0/2.5) – we loved the look of this large stitch in the heavier thread.
- Peridot Belting with Aurifil 50wt #2225 using Janome Skyline S7 Decorative Stitch #16 (9.0/2.5) – in this case we reduced the default stitch length setting just a tiny bit in order to retain the true shape of the heart and allow a hint of the belting to peek through between the stitches.
- Foam Blue Green Belting with Sulky 30wt Blendable #4106 using Janome Skyline S7 Decorative Stitch #30 (9.0/2.0) – a variegated thread adds an extra boost of color without ever changing the spool.
We used the same buckle on all the samples: a military style slide buckle kit from Dritz that includes the buckle as well as two metal end caps. It is very easy to apply. The only extra tool needed is a set of needle nose pliers to securely crimp the end caps.
We all love decorative stitches, but it can sometimes to tough to remember to use them. Here’s your chance to pull out some of the boldest options to stitch in your brightest colors.
One or more of these quick and easy belts would be such a fun gift! There’s a size chart below to use as a reference if you can’t measure the intended wearer(s) of the belt. Why not make several in mix and match colors? Then, wrap them all together in a colorful scarf or bandana.
Fashion in a flash!
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies shown are for ONE Belt.
- 1⅛ – 2 yards (one package) of Dritz 1” Belting; see the standard size chart below
- ONE Dritz Slide Buckle Set
- Contrasting thread for decorative stitching; see our list of thread types above
- Pressing cloth
- Measuring tape
- Lighter or matches to seal the ends of the belting
- Needle nose pliers to gently crimp the belting end caps
- To figure how much belting you’ll need, measure your waist or hips (or that of the person for whom you are making the belt), depending on where you want to wear the belt, then add 12“.
- If you are planning to make this belt for someone else and can’t get his/her measurements, we found several standard sizing charts. Most use the following finished lengths:
37″ Extra Small
45″ Extra Large
- We started with 41” lengths for all five of our belt samples.
- The Dritz Belting is polypropylene, so the raw ends can be finished by melting. Simply pass the cut end through a small flame one or two times to melt.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- The belting is likely to have creases from being being wrapped around the packaging. Using a pressing cloth, iron and steam the length of belting to remove the folds.
- As described in the introduction above, you should have already spent some time selecting and testing your decorative stitch options on belting scraps.
- Set up your machine for decorative stitching.
- Thread the machine with your chosen thread in the top and bobbin. Again, you can review the five different types of thread we used for our samples in the introduction above.
- Attach a Satin Stitch foot or similar. A clear view foot is your best option for decorative stitching.
- We used the markings on our machine’s needle plate to center the foot on the belting. You could also draw in a center line to follow with a fabric pen or pencil.
- Drop the needle and start stitching, beginning as close to cut end as possible.
- For the best and most consistent stitching, we recommend using a Start/Stop button control rather than your foot pedal if you have this feature on your machine. This guides the fabric (the belting in this case) evenly and at a steady pace; all you need to do is lightly hold the belting at either side, allowing it to slide past your fingernails. Although you may think you are delivering even pressure with a foot pedal, it’s very easy to drift into a sporadic slow-fast-slow pace, which can put stress on the fabric and thread and cause the stitches to form less perfectly.
- Continue stitching, allowing the belting to spool out behind the machine. Finish the stitching close to the opposite cut end – just as you began.
- When finished, again using the pressing cloth, iron and steam the belting.
Attach the buckle and end caps
- Find the Dritz Slide Buckle Set, which includes the buckle itself as well as two end caps.
- Slip each cut end of the belting into one of the end caps and squeeze the cap the secure. Make sure the end is slipped all the way in and is straight against the inside of the end cap. We like to finger press the cap closed to start.
- Then, cover the metal with a scrap of fabric.
- And gently squeeze closed again with needle nose pliers at each corner.
- Flip the buckle wrong side up. Open up the clamp on the buckle and slide in one capped end of the belting.
- Make sure the belting is far enough through so you can get a good “bite” into it; you don’t want to have the clamp too close to the end cap. Close the clamp and press to secure.
- Along each side of the buckle is the end of an interior sliding bar. With this bar in the lower position, thread the opposite end of the belting through as far as necessary for the best fit.
- Slide the bar to the upper position to lock in place.
NOTE: As another fitting option, if the eventual belt wearer is not available during construction, you could pre-cut (and stitch) the belting extra long and not adhere an end cap to the loose end (not the buckle end). Then, when the wearer is available, have him/her try on the belt and cinch it up for the best fit. Trim away the excess belting and apply the second end cap to this newly cut end to finish.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas/Liz Johnson
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Liz Johnson