Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Boy Belt in a Snap Tutorial

Since P has gotten a little bigger and is wearing more pants with beltloops, I've been wanting to make him a belt. Toddler size belts are in limited supply out there. The other day, I noticed this one of my husband's, it gave me a few ideas.

Palmetto Navy and White Belt

You've probably seen belts like this, made of simple woven cotton belting covered with fabric and sometimes sports insignias. I thought it would be a relatively easy thing to reproduce with some neat variations to make it a little more young and fun. I went with a striped, linen look fabric, but it would also be really fun to use a bright print, embroider designs or use fabric paint to stamp or stencil.

I've included two different 'routes' in this tutorial. Both are very quick, less than an hour, but one is much simpler and the other is a little more involved. Either way, you'll end up with a great toddler belt that no one will believe you made!

Here's what you need:

     *If you want to take the simpler method, use two, one inch d-rings and no snaps.
       If you want snaps, also pick up some gel super glue or liquid stitches.
     *I used one inch wide belting, you could go a little wider for an older child (with
       bigger pants ;).
     *I just realized the picture below could be a bit confusing, the cardstock is three
      quarters of an inch wide and for the belting length take your child's waist plus 5 or
      6 inches.

Prepping the Fabric
Take the fabric for the belt front and back and the cardstock strip to your ironing board. (P.S. If you're going to be using the snaps, choose a fairly thin cloth, mine is really thin, linen-look. I only needed 1/8 yd). Center the cardstock on the fabric, fold the edges over and iron.

Do this for both pieces of fabric, now you have two lovely, straight strips of single fold bias tape (although it's not cut on the bias) that are exactly 3/4" wide.

(Sooo...obviously what I should be sewing is a new ironing board cover...)

Attaching Fabric to Belting:
Take the shorter piece of fabric, starting at one end of the belting, center the fabric and pin in place.

Set your machine to a dense zig-zag and stitch across the raw end as shown. (I tucked the sides in a little so that the stitches will be hidden behind the fabric on the other side.)

Return to a straight stitch and edgestitch all the way around the shorter fabric piece, attaching it to belting. Next, take the longer fabric strip, center and pin in place on the other side of the belt. Sew around the edges. Trim ends if needed.

End Tab:
Now grab your 2" x 2" square, it's going to be a tab to cover the raw end of the belt that has fabric on both sides.

OK! If you are taking the simple route, this is your last step!! If you are going it the other way, you're almost to the tricky part :).

SIMPLE ROUTE (D-Ring Belt Buckle):
Thread the raw end of the belt through TWO one inch d-rings (photo below only shows one, but they're attached the same way).  Fold the raw end under and sew across the fold, forward and backstitching securely. That's it! You have a cool, grown up boy belt with tons of easy variations. Different colored belting, bright fabrics, you name it! To fasten, thread tabbed end through both d-rings, then (reverse direction) around the first d-ring and through the second. Easy to adjust and it keeps those pants up around the waist instead of the knees!

Attach ONE one inch d-ring to the raw end of the belt, shown below. On to the next step!

(Ignore the fact that I started out using a 1 1/4" d-ring here)

I recommend starting with one snap stud and decorative prong cap on the tabbed end of the belt. The side with the shorter piece of fabric is what will show when the belt is pulled through the d-ring then back over itself to snap closed. So the decorative side will be on the shorter piece of fabric. Go ahead and set this snap. (See my tips for snap setting further down the page).

Now, try the belt on your child, while he is wearing a pair of pants with belt loops. Pull the end until it fits, make a mark where the snap socket side should go (this is going to be the tightest setting on your belt). Go ahead and set the socket snap in place

Where you add the other snap sockets so that the belt has adjustable lengths is up to you, tape them in place then experiment before you set them. I used decorative prong caps (with sockets or studs) anywhere that they would show. I like the look of them across the front of the belt.

*The bottom belt was my first sample, see how the Dritz snap setter indented the cap? I like the top belt better, using matching prong caps where they show turned out nicer.

Snap Setting Tips:
1) Don't try to use the Dritz snap setter recommended for size 24 snaps. It only works for one side and bends up the snaps horribly. Go with the spool of thread/hammer method described on the snap packaging. I found that if I started with light taps as I rotated the spool of thread (the snap is only in contact with those four plastic spokes) the snap closed more evenly and securely. Then several hard taps, still rotating the spool.

2)  The snaps are the part I love most from my original idea/sketches of this belt, they look so cool and industrial. BUT...there are a few limitations and endless variations on snap placement. The problem arises when a snap hits squarely at the d-ring. There are ways around it, but it limits the adjustability of your belt (this is a little hard to explain until you start fiddling around with snap placement, you'll see what I mean). If you decide to depart from my recommendations below, definitely tape them in place and experiment before you do anything permanent.

3) The belting is quite thick, but the snaps go through it pretty well. Thin fabric helps, but I had some snaps pull out of my first belt trial. After adding a few little dabs of super glue to the prongs, they worked perfectly. The gel is good because it doesn't bleed.

Rather than setting all the snaps at once, you could just add snaps as your child grows...although I could see myself doing that and having a Sunday morning that goes a little something like this :

Husband: "Are you ready yet?"
Me: "Yes, just one second, where's the hammer?"
Husband: "Hammer, what are you doing? We're going to be late and P's pants are falling down."
Me: "I. Know. That. Just get in the car, I'll be right there."

So cute! I'm going to have fun experimenting with patterns and colors. This could be a great women's belt as well!

P.S. If you make one, let me know how it went. Leave comments or add photos to the Flickr pool, "You Sewed!"

(I was browsing Elsie Marley's tutorials and saw she posted a really similar belt for boys on her site. I swear, I think the third belt down in the first photo is the same fabric! I like her solution to the snaps...)

No comments:

Post a Comment