Belt Making, Part 2: Covering the buckle and finishing the belt

Rather than detail the entire process of my belt making experience, I’ll focus on the parts that were the most challenging for a beginner. At the end of this posting I’ve provided links to the tutorials that inspired me to give this a try. They are each complete in themselves and do an excellent job of presenting the entire beltmaking process for different styles of self covered belts and buckles.

Covering the buckle.

The Maxant Belt and Buckle kit comes with a large paper pattern that is sticky on both sides once the brown paper covering is peeled away. You have to peel one side off and lay it flat on the wrong side of the fabric you want to cover the buckle with.

Close-up of the buckle pattern after applying one side to the fabric.

Although the pattern acts as a stiffener and a backing for the fabric I’d recommend using a very, very lightweight fusible interfacing on the fabric to prevent the metal of the buckle form changing the appearance of the fabric. Next time I will definitely use a fusible interfacing plus the fabric.

A small, sharp pair of scissors is also needed to cut away the center part of the buckle covering.

After cutting out the fabric.

After cutting out the fabric, I then cut around the center of the pattern. This is where the belt bar will be. I wasn’t quite sure about The rest of what should be cut. So, I just cut along the sideways pointing “v” shapes.

Covering the buckle.

Covering the buckle was the tricky part since the fabric had to curve smoothly around the oval buckle. I found that I needed to moisten my fingertips just a little to make the fabric move along the buckle.

Buckle and bar from the inside after fabric covers the outside.

I finally figured out what else had to be slit and moved around the buckle to cover it. Here you can see how the buckle looks from the wrong side after all the fabric is manipulated into place. To prevent fraying I used some Tacky Glue on the inside edges of the fabric (inside the buckle). Fray Check would probably be a good choice, too.

Buckle backing after being snapped into place.

The buckle backing is then snapped into place. Mine got dented slightly when I used the small pliers to press down.

Front of buckle, pliers and prong.

The small pliers are then used to slightly crimp the middle of the belt’s bar. Then the prong is applied and the pliers used to secure it in place.

Back view of finished buckle.

The buckle backing covers all those loose ends neatly. The prong will be held in place by the belting after it has been inserted and stiched on the wrong side of the belt.

Finishing the belt.

My sewing machine was unable to stitch smoothly along the edge of the belt. I wouldn’t do anything to risk breaking the machine so I opted for running a small pick stitch along the outside edges of the belt. I used a double strand of poly/cotton thread and it worked out well.

Finished belt and buckle.

The finished belt worked out very well in terms of length and height. I also added a belt stay to keep the belt in place.

Thread loops as belt carriers.

To ensure that the belt stays along the waistline of the dress, I made two belt carriers from thread loops at each side seam. For a 3/4″ high belt I allowed 7/8″ for the carrier. It worked out well, Thread loops are delicate so extra care is needed when running the belt through them.

The tutorials that helped me in my belt making are:

Coletterie’s Beltmaking Tutorial

Elegant Musing’s Beltmaking Tutorial

A Fashionable Stitch’s Beltmaking Tutorial

Maxant Miracle Products Beltmaking Supplies