Ashley Lotecki is a Canadian illustrator, surface pattern designer and sewing enthusiast who loves creating whimsical and quirky designs. Ashley was a contestant in our first Super Online Sewing Match, and she stops by with tutorials like the Travel Sewing Kit and Make Your Own Spool Organizer. Ashley’s work is featured in film, video1, digital media and print projects, and she also has an extensive surface pattern design portfolio including her own fabric designs.

Ashley is giving away a fat quarter of the fabric used in her tutorial, Little Chef Piggy in cotton twill from her own collection. Hop over to Ashley’s Facebook page to enter to win!

This Crafter’s Utility Belt is a must for craft shows or intense, creative sewing sessions! Ashley shows you how to make her easy, reversible belt and she also has a PDF pattern for you to download. Make one for the upcoming fair season or as a gift for a lucky, sewing friend.


This project was inspired by the need for a functional yet fun accessory! A lot of my friends are fantastic artists and chefs who sometimes have booths at craft shows and farmer’s markets, or work on projects where they need to keep things at very easy reach.

What better place to keep belongings, tools, even your keys and cell phone, than on your person? I present my reversible Crafter’s Utility Belt tutorial! Each side includes four deep open pockets, a zippered pocket, a d-ring and a clasp where you can hang keys. A fun, patterned fabric can be used on one side and a solid color on the other so you can change the look depending on what you are doing.

Supplies:

  • Crafter’s Utility Belt PDF Pattern, print on letter size paper (8.5” x 11”)
  • Heavy twill (Side A fabric; Side B fabric and lining)
    (Note: I suggest you have Side A as a patterned fabric and Side B/lining as a plain fabric. The patterned fabric I used for Side A was one of my original designs, Little Chef Piggy!)

  • 2 x 5” zippers (This is a minimum suggestion; if you have a longer one, you can always shorten it to size.)
  • 1/4” double fold bias tape
  • Nylon webbing
  • Fray Check (or a similar product)
  • 1” Metal D-ring
  • 1” Metal swivel clasp
  • 1” Plastic adjustable side release buckle

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Something to poke out corners (i.e. chopsticks)
  • Removable fabric pencil/marker
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing machine zipper foot

Instructions:
Note: all pieces have a 3/8” seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Side A is the side with the patterned fabric. Side B is the side with the plain fabric.

1. Print the Crafter’s Utility Belt PDF Pattern on letter size paper (8.5” x 11”), full size. The LINING pattern piece will print across multiple pages and must be taped together after printing. Cut out the paper pattern (five pieces total). Then cut out the pattern pieces in the fabric specified on each section, marking placement circles in a method of your choosing. I used tailor’s tacks, but removable fabric pencil is fine.

2. Apply double-fold bias tape to the top edge of the POCKET FRONT. Repeat for all POCKET FRONT sections.

a. To do this, unfold one edge of the tape and line up the tape edge with the edge of the right side of the fabric, pinning as you go. Stitch over the crease left by the fold. Once finished, fold the tape over the edge of the fabric and pin. Stitch through everything a bit above the bottom of the tape, roughly 1/8”.

3. Both Side A and Side B: Baste POCKET FRONT to POCKET BACK 1/8” along sides and bottom. Repeat for all POCKET FRONT/BACK sections.

4. Pin and baste Side A: ZIPPER TOP and Side A: ZIPPER BOTTOM together with a 3/8” seam allowance, matching placement dots. Press open. Repeat for Side B.

5. Both Side A and Side B: Position the zipper underneath the basted ZIPPER TOP/BOTTOM seam, centering below between the placement circles, and pin in place along both sides.

6. Both Side A and Side B: Change to a zipper foot for your sewing machine. Install your zipper by top stitching 1/8” from the basted seam starting at one side, turning at the placement circle at the other side, and then stitching along the opposite side all the way back to the beginning.

7. Both Side A and Side B: Remove the placement circles. Remove the basting stitch holding the seam over the zipper closed by carefully cutting the threads with a seam ripper and pulling them out.

8. Unzip the zipper about two inches so the pull won’t interfere with the seam allowance. Pin the Side A: POCKET FRONT/BACK sections to either side of the Side A: ZIPPER TOP/BOTTOM, with the right sides of the fabric facing one another. Sew. Press open. Repeat for Side B.

9. You will need to cut four pieces of nylon webbing:
– Two pieces each cut 2” long.
– One piece roughly the length between where the side seam of the belt will be to your center back plus a bit of extra length for seam allowances.
– The other piece will be on the adjustable side of the buckle and should be longer. In my case I measured out the same length as the piece above and added an additional 12 inches to be safe.

After cutting the nylon webbing, serge or zigzag stitch across all the raw edges. Use Fray Check or a similar product on the raw edges to further discourage unraveling.

10. Fold each 2” section of prepared webbing in half. Place the metal clasp inside the fold of one piece, and the metal d-ring inside the other. Pin and then stitch the webbing closed roughly 1/4” from the folded edge on each.

11. On Side A find the placement mark in the center top of each POCKET and pin the webbing/d-ring combination to the left POCKET and the webbing/clasp to the right POCKET with 1/4″ hanging over the edge. Baste 1/8” from the fabric edge.

12. Install the plastic adjustable side clip buckle on the two longer sections of the webbing:

a. Longer webbing piece: Thread the webbing through the adjustable side of the buckle. Finish the raw edge that will be hanging from the back of the belt by folding the edge under 1/2″ and then under again so the raw edge is hidden inside. Do a zigzag stitch about 1/8” from the edge, going back and forth a few times for added strength.

b. Shorter webbing piece: Thread the webbing through the non-adjustable side of the buckle. Fold the raw edge that is closest to the buckle under ½” and then pin it so the raw edge inside is flush with the edge of the buckle. Do a zigzag stitch about 1/8” from the folded edge, going back and forth a few times.

13. On the finished Side A: Leaving a 1/2” space from the fabric top and letting 1/2″ of webbing hang over the edge, pin the strap with the length going towards the center of the belt. Make sure your pins have the pointy end towards the fabric edge, as having the pin head there instead will make sewing difficult. Repeat with the remaining strap section on the other side of Side A.

14. Lay your LINING on a flat surface. Place Side A (the side with the strap sections attached) on top, facing upwards. Position Side B on top, facing down. Line up all the edges and carefully pin all the way around, making sure to capture all the layers and have the webbing tucked inside out of the way.

15. Stitch along all edges, leaving a roughly 3” gap along the bottom. Clip the corners and cut down the seam allowances. Using the gap, turn the entire thing inside out. Poke the corners out and press all edges flat. Take care when ironing around the nylon webbing as it has a much lower heat tolerance than the fabric and can melt.

16. Pin the gap on the bottom closed and top stitch all the way around, between 1/8” to ¼” from the edges.

17. Reinforce the nylon webbing at the side seams by sewing a rectangle. Starting about 1/8” from the upper corner top stitching on the belt side, stitch parallel to the side seam a little less than 1” down. Turn and sew away from the side seam two stitches, turn again and continue back up, and turn once more doing a final two stitches to end up where you started. Stitch back and forth there a few times for extra reinforcement. This step combined with the earlier preparation you did on the webbing is very important! The webbing will unravel right through the side seams as you wear the belt unless you reinforce it properly as described (I speak from experience!).

18. On one side, pin along the seam connecting the ZIPPER pocket to the POCKETs. Stitch precisely in the seam from top to bottom. (This is necessary to create a pouched area for the zippered section).

19. Using the placement dots on both Side A: POCKETs, mark a path connecting them with a removable fabric pencil. If you are finding things look a bit crooked, simply measure to the center of the pocket from the edges and mark where your center stitching line should go. Pin through all the layers for stability and stitch from top to bottom, doing so on both POCKETs. Since you’re stitching through all the fabric layers, you only need to do this from one side!

Congratulations! You are now finished a super cool and functional reversible Crafter’s Utility Belt of your very own! If you want to change which side you will be wearing, just turn it around and flip the d-ring and metal clasp to the side to be used.

Note: For a simpler version, this can also be made with just a single side of pockets, using the lining as a backing instead. You can change the size of the belt and make it narrower or wider depending on your own measurements; just add or subtract width to the pattern pieces as needed.