Monday, October 18, 2010

Adjustable Belt Tutorial

Today's post is on belts. When shopping for belts, I always have to choose if I'll be wearing it at the waist or the hips, as few belts will fit me in both places well. On a dressmaking project a few months ago, I sought an editing eye from Mike to see if a belt was needed to complete the look. We both agreed a belt would look better, but we disagreed on where the belt should sit. I wanted it high up on my (mostly nonexistent) waist, and he thought it would look better on the hips. Since I was making the belt myself and was planning on using a 2 piece vintage belt buckle, I came up with a way to make the belt so I could wear it however the mood struck.
My fist adjustable belt.
For this project you will need the following:
1 hook
1-2  round-ended eyes (depending on width of your belt)
bias tape
(or if you have hook and eye tape, you can omit the above)
ribbon (a yard will be enough in most cases)
a 2 piece buckle
a needle and matching thread

1. First you will want to look at the opening on your buckle (the part where you will thread your ribbon through) and make sure that it is wide enough to allow the thickness of your ribbon plus an attached eye to pass through together. (the eye will lay pretty flat so this is usually not a problem).

2. With clothing on (preferably the outfit intended for the belt) measure your hips and add 5". Cut your ribbon to that measurement.

3. Sew one end of your ribbon onto your buckle, using about 1/2" to fold under for a clean looking finish.

4. If using bias tape + hook and eye method, cut 3 lengths of bias tape that are just barely UNDER the width of your ribbon. If using hook and eye tape, cut the same). I used double fold bias tape here.

5. Sew either 1 or 2 eyes in between your bias tape depending on how wide your ribbon is. (I only needed on here as my ribbon was only 1/2" wide). Do this to two of your bias tape lengths.

6. With the third length of bias tape, sew the hook on, sewing the bias tape closed over after so that the whole hook sticks out as below.

7. Slip the second half of the buckle onto the other end of your ribbon. (make sure the right side of the buckle is on the right side of the ribbon.)

8. Fold 1/4" of the ribbon under on the wrong side and sew the piece of bias tape with the hook to the folded end of the ribbon that you just slipped the buckle over. Make sure that the hook is facing the right way. The curve in your hook should be even with the end of your ribbon, sewn to the wrong side.

9. Holding the belt around the narrowest part of your waist you plan on wearing it, mark with a pin where the sewn on buckle end meets the ribbon. (I sewed my fist eye about 22" from the buckle secured to the end of the ribbon. This will depend on your waist measurements)

10. Where you have pinned, sew one of your eye/ bias tape lengths to the wrong side of the ribbon, using tiny stitches that will barely show up on the right side. Make sure that your eye is facing the right way so that the hook, when folded over towards it, will catch.

11. Readjust the belt now around your hips where you measured previously, holding some of the extra length on the hooked end folded under. There should be about 4" left (give or take) and adjusting this length, pin where your last eye/ bias tape piece should go. (Mine was 4" from hook to eye, so that folded over with the buckle in the middle, it was the exact measurement of my hips).

12. Sew the last eye/ bias tape piece where you pinned to the wrong side of the ribbon, making sure your eye faces the same way as as the first. (Remember, tiny stitches!)
I used a slightly contrasting thread so that you could see where I stitch.

Now you have an adjustable belt, made to fit your hips or waist by simply hooking to one eye or the other.

I hope this made sense, feel free to leave comments with any questions you might have, and share with a friend! This is an easy 45 minute project!


  1. Weird, I was thinking of belts last night whilst falling asleep. Nicely done.

  2. great tut, will definitively try it. thanks

  3. How very clever. Now I don't have to make two belts for my prized antique buckles.

  4. Wonderful tutorial on how to use these fabulous old belt buckles!