When I started this project I envisioned a hybrid of this and this belt, and I think that’s pretty close to what I achieved.
Leather (I used a recycled thrift store jacket)
Fabric (less than 1/4 of a yard)
3-inch wide belt backing
1-inch buckles (2)
Leather punch (optional, but it helps a lot!)
Some notes about sewing leather or vinyl:
It is essential to use a leather needle! Your stitches will look like crap if you don’t. Also, it helps a lot to use a teflon-coated sewing foot on vinyl, although I’m not sure how necessary it is on leather.
Remember that if you make a mistake on leather or vinyl, there’s no getting rid of the needle holes, so sew carefully! Practice on scraps first to get the hang of sewing with these materials, especially if you’ve never used them before. Don’t hesitate to walk the needle around curves to ensure you get a straight line. You can’t pin leather in place, so I use bulldog clips to hold everything together while I’m sewing.
1. Cut a piece of belt backing about 3 inches shorter than your actual waist measurement. So if your waist measures 27 inches, cut your belt backing to 24 inches.
2. Cut a piece of leather to the same dimensions as your belt backing.
3. Cut a piece of fabric 1.5 inches wider and 1.5 inches longer than your belt backing.
4. Fold over and iron a generous 1/4 inch hem on the edges of your fabric.
5. Create a stack, with your fabric on the outside (right side out), then the belt backing, and finally the leather on the inside (right side out). Fold the edges of the fabric over the leather and sew around the perimeter, encasing the raw fabric edges.
6. Set aside your fabric-covered belt and get out your leather. Print out the strap template at actual size. Trace and cut out two pieces that have straps the full length, and two that have shorter straps that only extend to the starred line.
(Don’t worry if your dimensions look different–I changed the strap sizes after I took this photo.)
7. Sandwich the end of your fabric belt between two corresponding pieces of the leather strap piece. Hold everything in place with bulldog clips.
(This photo is from my first unsatisfactory attempt at this project. I forgot to take a new one of this step.)
8. Sew together the leather layers.
9. Take the shorter straps and punch a hole 1.25 inches from the ends. Put the buckle stick (surely there’s another name, but I don’t know it) through the hole and position the buckle. Fold the ends of the strap down and sew.
10. Cut two pieces of leather 2.75 inches by 0.5 inches. Wrap these around your leather strap below the buckle and hand sew a few stitches on the back of the loop.
11. On the longer set of straps, punch holes for your buckle. I did five sets of holes, an inch apart.
12. Wear your belt with pride!
Looking for more tutorials and DIY projects? Check out my DIY Projects page!
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