Hiya! Mandi here! I love transforming a simple outfit with a pop of color or an unexpected pattern. The easiest way for this dress-wearing gal to do it? A fun little belt! They're not the easiest to find in stores, though. At least, not the kind that suit my kooky fashion flavor. I decided to whip up a few belts that coordinate well with several dresses of mine, and guess what? It took less time to make these belts than it did to pick out the fabric! (I always spend waaay too long looking and end up buying much more fabric than I'll ever have time to use later! Oops!)
-belt buckle (you can find these at most fabric and craft stores. I found my vintage ones on Etsy.)
-fabric (I bought 6" widths of fabric for each of my belts, or 1/8 yard + 2 inches)
-medium to heavy-weight interfacing (does not need to be fusible)
-thread (get a color that matches the main color of your fabric)
-1 large safety pin
Step One: Measure the circumference of where you plan to wear the belt, whether it will be on your waist, hips, or somewhere in between. Add about 6" to this length, to include hem allowance for around the belt buckle, to close the other end of the belt, and also for the belt flap to overhang a bit.
Step Two: Cut out two strips of fabric and one strip of interfacing to the length you determined in step one. The width of these strips should be 1" wider than the inside width of your belt buckle.
Step Three: Pin together the strips of your fabric as shown above, with layer one on the bottom face up, layer two in the middle, face down, and the interfacing on top.
Step Four: Stitch together the strips, removing the pins as you go along. Keep the first line of stitching slightly less than 1/5" from the edge. It might be helpful to measure and draw the second stitching line before running it through the machine to make sure you're sewing it to the right width. For the second row of stitching, I wouldn't rely on the distance from the edge of your fabric strips to ensure a proper width of the final belt.
Step Five: Use sharp fabric scissors (or pinking shears if you have them) to trim away the excess fabric alongside the stitching. Before you do this, lay your belt buckle over the stitching to make sure the lines are the correct distance apart.
Step Six: Flip the belt right side out using a large safety pin. Hook it into the fabric, and push the pin through the "tube" of fabric and out the other end. It will require smoothing of bunched fabric along the way.
Step Eight: Tuck one end of the belt inside the "tube," and stitch it closed.
Step Nine: Loop the unclosed end of the belt through the belt buckle. Tuck under the end and stitch it down to the belt. I hand stitched this because the space was too tight to use my sewing machine. Make sure the line you stitch is placed so that it is hidden by the belt buckle.
The most difficult part of making these belts, in my opinion, is just cutting the fabric to the right width, keeping the edges straight, and making sure your stitched lines are the right distance apart. The rest is really easy! My favorite belt that I made is the animal print one, and the corduroy fabric stays put really well with this style of belt. I think next time I'll try stripes! -Mandi