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Half Hour Wonder: Fab Fall Belts

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Belts are all over the torso this year. From hip huggers that add shape to a shift, waist-cinchers for a pretty feminine look, and empire waist belts for a figure-enhancing trendy look. Pick your position, cut, sew and go. These 30-minute wonders are easy and satisfying to make; a classic plaid adds a lovely touch of fall to your wardrobe, especially when mixed with something unexpected.       

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Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Your size, and how you will wear your belt, determine the fabric requirement. Measure yourself where you will wear the belt (at, above or below your waist) and add 10 inches. The belts we made will fit an average-sized woman and were cut from the full width of 44" wide fabric, resulting in a finished belt 41" long (including the buckle).  It fits 31" around, which rides below the waist and leaves a tail on the belt of about 7 inches.

  • Our belt used ¼ yard of 44" fabric per belt. The wool-like cotton plaid came from JoAnn's British Frenzy collection. In-store we found more options than are shown online. This belt is best made from a mid-weight soft/drapable fabric like wool or flannel.
  • 2¾" x 2¼" lucite buckle with 1¼" center bar. Ours came from The Ribbon Spot.
  • All purpose thread in color to match or contrast with fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Instructions for ONE belt. The belt with the rounded end is Belt 1 and is shown in brown plaid. Belt 2 has a 45º slanted end and is shown in blue/gray plaid. The instructions for the belts are identical except for the ends.

Belt 1

  1. Download and print the pattern Belt Tip Cutting Template.
    IMPORTANT: You must print these PDF files at 100% with the most recent version of the Adobe Reader. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut TWO 44" x 3¾" strips. We  selvedge edge so you don't have turn it under to hem.
  3. Pin the two strips right sides together. Pin pattern to one end. 
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  4. Trim as shown below to get the rounded end.
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Belt 2

  1. Cut TWO 44" x 3¾" strips. We  selvedge edge so you don't have turn it under to hem.
  2. Place the two strips right sides together.
  3. Trim one end at a 45º angle as shown below:
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  4. Pin the two strips together.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Going forward, the instructions are identical for Belt 1 and Belt 2.

  1. Using a ½" seam, sew the two strips together along three sides, leaving the buckle end open for turning.
  2. Trim end and clip curve on Belt 1 and clip corners on Belt 2. 
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  3. Turn belt right-side out. Use a chopstick (or similar) to assure your corners and curves are fully turned. Press. For help with turning and pressing see our Quick Tip: Tiny Tube Turning With A Hemostat.
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  4. Press belt flat. Topstitch ¼" from the edge, still leaving the buckle end open.
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  5. Insert the belt about 2"around the center bar of your buckle and pin. No need to fold under to hem if you were able to use the selvedge edge. If you weren't able to use the selvedge, turn under slightly, just enough to conceal the raw edge. Because the belt is wider than the center bar, you can form a small pleat or just let the fabric gather up for a soft look.
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  6. Stitch straight across to adhere the flap to the belt. This is a little awkward because of the buckle. I was able to do it by stoping and manipulating the buckle as necessary. If you need to stop and adjust, be sure to leave your needle in the down position.
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Hints and Tips

Because this fabric had some body and was similar to wool or flannel, we didn't use interfacing in order to allow it to drape. If you are making this with a quilting weight cotton or a knit, you should consider using a lightweight interfacing.

Other machines suitable for this project include the Bernina 380 and the Elna 7300.

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Comments (11)

Nichole said:
Nichole's picture

I am soooooo into belts right now and this is my FAVORITE one yet!  Thanks so much for the fantastic post.  You are  my new friend!

Katzber said:
Katzber's picture
As a seamstress of over 40 years, I must comment that your instructions for your projects are very well written and go beyond just "making" something. All the tips for a professional result at great.

I've seen a lot of project instructions that make me cringe and result in shoddy projects. Yours are great. Thanks.
OhStitch.com said:
OhStitch.com's picture
I must try this! This would make the cutest Christmas gifts! Plus, I could save by using scrap fabric
Bits S said:
Bits S's picture
Saw this online this morning. Bought the lucite buckle and quarter yd plaid flannel after work (under $5). Made it in 25 minutes. Wore it to dinner over a sweater. Got lots of compliments!!
Amber Williams said:
Amber Williams's picture
Love it! I have to do this with my sewing students. Thanks for the great tutorial.
Eva V. said:
Eva V.'s picture
My to-sew list gets longer and longer every time I check in here smilies/shocked.gif I love this project... now to find the timesmilies/cheesy.gif
Boosmith said:
Boosmith's picture
Another great project!! I will be making these along with the key FOBS this weekend!

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