Kelli from Presser Foot joined us on the blog before with her tutorial for beautiful fabric flowers, boutonnieres and more. You can tell from her tutorials that she’s not only a talented sewist, but she’s also a fabulous photographer (it’s her day job).
For more information on the dress Kelli is wearing below, see her post on Presser Foot (she made it, of course). Kelli used leather cording and rope with her sewing machine for her belt, but you could also use the same technique with your favorite fabrics. Have fun!
- about 12 yards of leather cording
- about 12 yards of rope
- rubber bands
- belt buckle
- leather machine needle
- thread and needle
- strong scissors (like kitchen scissors)
- flat hair clip or barrette
* The finished belt is about 1 yard long. If you want yours longer you will need to compensate with the length of your leather and rope.
* If your machine can’t handle leather you will either need to make the belt out of all rope, fabric or hand stitch all sewn pieces.
Cut six pieces of leather cording at 2 yards each. Cut six pieces of rope at 2 yards each. Divide into four groups of three pieces each as shown. Wrap the tops with rubber bands and gather up the bottoms with rubber bands to make it easier to handle (you will let this out slowly as you braid).
Gather the tops of the four groupings and put them under something heavy. It needs to be heavy enough that you can put some resistance on the cords and they won’t come loose. I used a basket with some heavy books in it.
Creating your four strand flat braid. Each grouping is numbered one through four from left to right. Take group one and put it over group two.
Take the same strand and put it under group three.
Take the same strand and put it over group four.
Continue with the next grouping going from left to right. This time you will use the leather grouping which is now in position 1 (but was formerly number 2).
It’s that simple. Keep weaving the furthest left grouping over, under, over. You will know you are doing it right when it makes a sort of striped or candy cane affect. After every five or so cycles stop and tighten.
Keep braiding until you are the desired length. If you ever need to stop and take a break add your hair clip to keep all groupings in their correct order and the braid nice and flat and tight.
Once your braid is the desired length place your hair clip at the end. With your leather needle in place, machine stitch a straight line across the braid. (If your machine can’t handle the leather you can also hand stitch, but you may need a set of pliers to assist).
Cut your first edge about 2 inches to the outside of your stitch line.
Get your buckle (you can get these at a craft store, but I just used a thrifted belt and cut off the buckle). Put the rob of the buckle through the middle of the braid closest to the stitchline.
Fold the remaining edges over the buckle and secure to the back of the belt. You can either do this by machine or needle and thread. I found that it was too thick so I used needle and thread to secure it to the back. Don’t worry if this doesn’t look perfect. When wearing the belt this will always be covered.
Fixing the end… Try on the belt to make sure that it is the right length. Mark your desired end point. Take your two leather groupings and cross them in the middle. Stitch over the place where they cross.
Clip the leather close to the stitch line.
Take your two rope groupings and tie a knot right over the ends of the cut leather.
Flip your belt over and cross the two leather groupings on the back of the belt.
Stitch in place. Clip close to stitching once secure.
This is what the end of your belt should look like:
And now we are finished. It’s perfect for throwing on over that spring dress or skirt.