Cincher Belt: How-To and How Not To

I had a whirlwind of work the past few days- I came home from work last night and dropped into bed and slept for 14 hours.  Teaching saps my creative, emotional and physical energy like no other job I’ve had.   On top of that, Husband went away fishing for a few days and took the camera.  Though I wrote this last week, I couldn’t publish without pictures.

During the recent Accessories Wardrobe contest, I made a wide brocade belt based on the Jocasi belt above.  I hesitated at every step, sure I would create an unwearable mess.  Eventually I buckled down (heh) to finish it, sacrificing quality of construction to meet the impending deadline, as you do.

For one reason or the other, my blog-brain was not at the forefront during construction and I did not take pictures.

I started with the red brocade, a copper buckle, and the inspiration.  Long experience fitting my body shape tells me that wrapping a straight piece of fabric around my waist will result in unsightly gappage.  I used the princess seamed pattern from the Lotus cami.

I settled the question of width by measuring the buckle and multiplying by three.  This is somewhat arbitrary and based loosely on Golden Ratio principles.  I settled on 4.5″ width for my belt.    

Mark the waist on each piece, center the 4.5″ width over the marked waistline, and draw straight lines perpendicular to the grain line.

Mark the CF of each front piece, make sure the edge of the front piece extends an inch or so beyond the CF ling, and create a curved edge at the top.  I made a straight corner, then marked a dot 1/2″ in from the corner, and drew a curved line through that dot.


Side Front, I marked which side went to which piece.  Make sure to add consistent seam allowances, 1/2″ in this case.

My back piece had a dart, I brought in the side seam a little bit to compensate for it, reminding myself it needn’t be as perfectly fitted as a top.  The dart would have disturbed the pattern on my belt fabric.

Cut exterior, lining and interfacing from the same pattern pieces.  I recommend using a fairly stiff interfacing- I used some haircloth canvas left over from tailoring.  Timtex could also work well, or a medium heavy interfacing.  I though to bone the side seams, but I thought the curves might be too pronounced to handle boning.  

Attach interfacing to exterior.  I attached mine to the lining and regretted it, the lining does NOT want to stay inside the belt.

Make a little self-fabric belt.  This need not be as long as a regular belt, just two mini-belt pieces.   I centered them in the side front seam and stitched it in.  Then I sewed the exterior to the lining, leaving a hole for turning.

Were I to make this again, I’d pipe all the edges and interface the exterior rather than the lining.   I can’t seem to keep the lining from flipping out, especially since I interfaced the lining and it was heavy to begin with.  I’d probably pipe the side front seams, as well, to be sure the lines stood out.

I’d also make the little belt first, then triple the width of that for the width of the finished belt.  My buckle is much wider than the actual little belt, and so the bigger part of the belt overwhelms the small belt.  It’s all out of proportion and won’t stay in place when I wear it.  I suppose that could be fixed with a pair of hook and bar trouser closures. 

All in all, an interesting project.  I’m sure others could do much, much more and improve on the design.  I haven’t worn this yet and probably won’t until I wake up in a fit of whimsy and decide it’s Red Belt Day.

If you’d like more information, let me know.  I seldom write tutorials and have no idea what parts are important. 

Up Next: Advance 2599.  Pockets or paper napkins?  We’ll see.

I also made a Hopscotch Dress from the new Oliver + S pattern and made three aprons this weekend.  I’ll try to get some pictures of those this week.

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