Friday, February 24, 2012

Braided Belt (w/ tutorial)

Tried making a macrame belt, but the jute I found just wasn't jiving. It wasn't soft or flexible enough for the knots specified by the pattern I was following. From a vintage 70s Macrame book my mother acquired on my behalf from a library sale. Guess they just don't make jute like they used to...

Anyway, brilliant idea, use fabric instead. And while we're at it, wouldn't it be easier to make thicker bands and braid instead of macrame? And why, look! I've got some leftover faux buckskin...

And a chance to try out my new finger-saving device, the simple bias-tape maker (not to be confused with the mondo-expensive electric ones). Initially started by using as an aid to press the strips into bands, which usually results in some near-burns of my poor fingertips. Then I realized, bam! It works better than a fancy hem-foot, no pressing required! LOVE IT!

Ahem... Anyway, onto a TUTORIAL, if anyone is interested in making their own spiffy braided belt.

  • Fabric (I used faux buckskin. A faux leather, heavy suedecloth or anything with little to no stretch would probably work best) Depending on the width of the fabric, you won't need much
  • Cutting Implement (rotary cutter and kit, scissors, or etc.)
  • Thread to match fabric
  • One set (two) D-rings (or the like)
  1. Cut 4 Strips, 1.5" in width. I had to piece mine in order to obtain a desirable belt length.
  2. Fold strips in half lengthwise. Press. This is the center line. Take raw edges and fold in to meet this center line. Press again. You have what looks like single fold bias tape. Turn this into something that looks like double fold by refolding along center crease and pressing. Stitch closed the open edge. OR Use handy dandy bias-tape maker and stitch fabric strips into straps/bands/whatchyamacallits
  3.  Align ends along strip of fabric, stitch ends in place (I basted and then zig-zag stitched).
  4. Braid.Key is to be consistent and try to keep smooth and even for entire length of belt.

  5. Finish ends by sewing them to a strip of fabric. Thread belt through both d-rings. Turn end of belt to 'underside' of belt and stitch, capturing d-rings in place.
  6.  To finish the other end, turn end towards underside, stitch end-piece fabric (that band ends are sewn to) in place, same as with d-ring end of belt. I added a decorative tip, which was really a fancy pendant
  7. Wear either by using d-rings or just tying. Mine ended up rather long so I can tie it, and let the ends hang decoratively. Enjoy!
Also goes well with hippie Tie-Dye dress

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