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ScrapBusters: Patchwork Strip Belt

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I tend to end up with quite a few little pieces in my scrap bag. It can be hard to figure out what to do with them, but it's just as hard to think about throwing away these itty bitty pieces of loveliness. Today's darling patchwork belt is a ScrapBuster dream project for small random scraps or leftover charm squares. The finished accessory is a great way to add a zing of color to a plain summer sheath. Our design features a double ring buckle. We used a set of faux bamboo rings, but you could use just about anything. One alternate idea we had was to re-purpose an old circular broach. Remove the pin from the back and use the bejeweled ring as the front with a plain flat ring at the back.

Our belt finishes at 2" x 47" length, which allows for a nice, long tail. Based on your size, and how you want to wear your belt, you could lengthen or shorten for the best fit. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ¼ yard or scraps of TWO coordinating 44-45" cotton fabrics; we used two prints from the Marmalade collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics - Cotton Bloom in Tangerine ("Floral" in the instructions below) and Cotton Sugar in Tangerine on Cream ("Graphic" in the instructions below)
    NOTE: We used just two fabrics for our patchwork; you could certainly use more.
  • TWO 2" diameter buckle rings; we used faux bamboo rings purchased locally  
  • ¼ yard or scrap of lightweight fusible interfacing; we used 950F Shir-Tailor® by Pellon
  • All purposed thread in a contrasting color for topstitching/quilting; we used dark orange
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

Our belt has a cool alternating pattern, which is integral to the design. Therefore, for our instructions, we will refer to the "Floral" print and the "Graphic" print throughout. This will make it easier to keep track of when you use your own set of coordinating prints.

  1. From the Floral print, cut the following:
    SEVEN  4½" x 3" rectangles for the back 
    SIX  4½" x 2" rectangles for the front
  2. From the Graphic print, cut the following:
    SIX  4½" x 3" rectangles for the back 
    SEVEN  4½" x 2" rectangles for the front
  3. From the interfacing, cut enough 2" strips to equal 48"+. We cut THREE 2" x 20" strips from our 20" wide interfacing.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Belt front

  1. Collect the thirteen 2" rectangles. Line them up in an alternating pattern, starting with the Graphic print. 
  2. Pin the rectangles right sides together, along the 2" sides, end to end
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch all the short seams.
  4. Press the seams towards the darker Floral rectangles. 
  5. Find the 2" strips of interfacing. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the back of the completed front strip. Fuse the first strip in place, then just barely overlap the next piece and fuse it in place, continuing until the entire length of piece fabric is covered. Trim away any excess interfacing.
  6. On one end, trim off 2".
  7. Then, cut this trimmed end into a point at a 45˚ angle.

Belt back

  1. Collect the thirteen 3" rectangles. Line them up in an alternating pattern, but this time, start with the Floral print. Pin the rectangles right sides together, along the 3" sides, end to end.
  2. As above, use a ¼" seam allowance to stitch the rectangles end to end. 
  3. Press all the seam allowances open. 
    NOTE: It's easiest to press the seam allowances open on the back strip so it will be less bulky to fold the fabric around to the front in the following steps.

Assemble front and back

  1. Place the back strip flat and wrong side up on your work surface. 
  2. Place the front strip flat and right side up on top of the back so the two pieces are wrong sides together. 
  3. The front strip should be centered top to bottom so there is ½" of the back strip showing along both long sides. 
  4. The straight-cut end of the front and left end of the back should be flush. 
  5. All the vertical seams should be perfectly aligned front to back. 
    NOTE: The front and back fabrics are offset, which allows the Floral back pieces to be folded over onto the Graphic front pieces and the Graphic back onto the Floral front, creating the pretty mix and match effect of the finished design.
  6. At the point end, the back will extend beyond the front. Measure ½" from the front strip's point and draw a point on the back strip.
  7. Cut the back strip along the drawn lines.
  8. Cut off the tip of the back strip's point.
  9. On the opposite end (the straight-cut end) trim ½" from the front strip. Remember to pull the back strip out of the way so you are just cutting the front strip.
  10. Make a narrow ¼" double turn hem along all sides of the back, creating mitered corners at the straight cut end and the point end. 
  11. If you are new to this technique, see our tutorial on Narrow Hems with Clean Corners
  12. In summary, you first fold in the raw edge of the back to meet the front. This is the first ¼" turn. 
  13. You then fold in an additional ¼", concealing the raw edge and wrapping the back over the front. 
  14. At each corner, you fold in on the diagonal... 
  15. ... creating the clean corners. 
  16. Again, these corners are well diagrammed in our tutorial
  17. We used LOTS of pins to keep our narrow hem in place. Remember to remove them as you sew. 
  18. Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin. We used a dark orange.
  19. Topstitch a skant ¼" or approximately ⅜" from the outside folded edge all the way around the belt, pivoting at the corners and the point. The hem itself is ¼", so your topstitching must be just smaller than this in order to catch the inside fold.
  20. Press well.
  21. Insert the straight end of the belt through both buckle rings. 
  22. Pull it through to the back about 2" (remember, in our design, the hem is meant to show on the front not the back). Pin in place. Because the belt is slightly wider than the rings, it will gather softly.
  23. Stitch straight across to adhere the flap to the belt. 
     
     

Contributors 

Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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