The hardest part about making this belt is choosing which stitches to use. It is luckily also the FUNNEST part.
Nine times out of ten, I am not making a muslin. But when it comes to testing out techniques, threads, interfacings, or stitches on scraps, I’m so totally down. I spent over an hour playing with test stitches. Highly enjoyable with a side order of meditative! Get your zen on and let’s make a decorative fabric belt!
We’ve got: buckle options, tricot fusible interfacing, medium weight denim, 75/11 embroidery needles, and some contrasting thread. I went with a standby from my Neutral Neon stash. People, always have neutrals on hand.
Plus you’ll need the usual suspects; machine, scissors, pins, feet, tunes. I suggest a vintage Fleetwood Mac vibe.
After trying out most of the maxi stitches in George’s (my machine’s) 9mm decorative arsenal, I surprised myself by falling for this wavy honeycomb-ish stitch, 5.5.8. It’s just under an inch wide, and when stitching it out, George moves the fabric side to side as well as back and forth. IT IS SUPER COOL. These maxi stitches require a switch of the foot, a disengage of the IDT, and the use of stabilizer, which is all suggested for you right on the screen. Don’t have maxi stitches? Just load up on your rows of decorative stitches! I used 4.4.12 and 3.4.2 to surround the main maxi stitch.
WIDTH: Measure the opening of your buckle to determine the width of your belt, adding seam allowance. I chose this crazy slot buckle that’s been in my stash for ages. The opening is 2 ¼“, plus 3/8” SA, giving me a width of 3”.
LENGTH: is up to you and your chosen weapon—if you’re going for a slider buckle like the circular one pictured, then you’ll want at least 12” longer than your waist measurement, so that you’ll have a nice chunk of belt to pull oh-so-stylishly through the buckle. My slot buckle takes up a good portion of the finished measurement, but I gave myself wiggle room and went with 3” wide x 36” long (my actual waist is 29”).
(Side note, I think we understandably try our best to save as much fabric as possible, but when you’re working on even simple pattern-less pieces, it’s nice to give yourself some wiggle room. An exit strategy, if you will. Whoops, that row is straight, but it’s not centered is easily remedied when you have enough width to mark a new center line! Ask me how I know. So give yourself some width insurance too, if you like.)
Okay! Cut two of your long rectangles, and interface both pieces. We want the belt nice and sturdy.
I gave myself a center line in chalk… and why yes, that is an ink line you see.
Give yourself a nice permanent starting line! This is where you’re going to begin each decorative stitch, and you want to start each row on the same line, so you don’t need a disappearing chalk line halfway through the race! We’ll cut this off later.
We’re only decorating one side of this belt, even if you’re using a slider buckle. Take one interfaced piece over to your machine and let’s stitch!
Since the machine moves the fabric side to side past the edge of the stitch during maxi stitches, it’s nice to have a marker to gauge your forward progress! A couple of inch wide chalk lines did the trick. Every so often, check to make sure the edge of the maxi stitch is lining up with your chalk line.
Though I ended up straight, I didn’t end up exactly centered (which is why I should have taken my own advice and given myself wiggle room in the width as well), but so long as you use your first row of stitches as the guide for your next row, it’s not the end of the world.
The multi line foot is excellent for doing just that, you can see through the whole foot and line those stitches up just right. You can also use the recommended feet that come with the machine, as the insides of those feet are clear plastic.
Use the mirroring button if you’d like a balanced piece, it flips the stitch for you.
Right sides together, pin and sew, on the long sides only. (If you’re using a slider buckle, also sew one short end at an angle, and make sure it’s not the ink marked end!)
Admire. It is always good to pause and admire.
Grade the seam allowance—my material is a bit heavy, so I graded the “lining” side, because I didn’t want a little ridge to show up on my belt once turned.
Turn it right side out, and give it a good steamy press!
Okay, time to hack off that ink line. Let’s hear it for wiggle room!
Get in there and clip the seam allowance diagonally, about 3/8”.
Turn the raw edges in…
Press & edgestitch closed.
If you’re using a slider buckle, you’ve already machine finished three sides, turned right side out, and edgestitched the last end closed. Thread that edgestitched end through your buckle, and whip stitch closed by hand. Then laugh at the rest of us ‘cause YOU’RE DONE.
Weirdo slot buckle peeps, let’s truck on.
Thread one end through a slot and secure it with a pin. Thread the other end through the other slot, and adjust until your belt feels snug. Cut off excess if needed, then go through the previous steps to finish that end as well.
On each end, starting close to the slot, whip stitch all the way around…
…you can keep those stitches on the “lining” to keep it looking snazzy…
Carefully press, avoiding the buckle. Admire. Seriously, we don’t do it nearly enough, in my opinion.
All in all, this belt takes under an hour. It took me double that, because I HAD to play with all of the decorative stitches. I have a feeling that once you start playing with those stitches, you’ll happily lose an extra hour too! You may thank me in advance for this happy hour. I do love to enable happy hour.
MARCY HARRIEL Oonaballoona
I’m oonaballoona (oona for short) aka Marcy Harriell (Marce for short). But I’ll answer with wild abandon to any name you call me…especially if you’re calling me to cocktails. I started sewing when I started blogging, during a temporary trek to tinsel town. Before the move to Los Angeles, a wise friend advised: Get a hobby. Blogging kept family close…sewing kept my sanity intact! Eight years later, back in New York, this “hobby” has turned into an obsession. When I’m not acting (the civilian side of oonaballoona) I’m stitching in the city, right next to my very best friend Ruggy.
Sewing machine: PFAFF® creative™ 4.5
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