How to Make a Belt and Use Quilting for Your Fashion Inspirationcomments (5) September 12th, 2008
Last week I showed how to piece by hand similar shapes with many corners using a technique called English Paper Piecing and a pattern known as Grandmother's Flower Garden. It's a great method, but what if you wanted to sew these hexagonal shapes together by machine? Seaming the pieces together is almost out of the question. I'm sure it can be done, but the process could give you a headache-especially if you want to keep the pieces small. However, if you can get away with leaving all the edges raw, why not just butt them up together and use a machine zigzag or decorative stitch to connect them? Well, that's exactly what I did to create this stylish leather belt.
Leather is a great choice because you don't have to worry about the fabric fraying. But you could also consider a faux leather or suede, like Ultrasuede. Or use a stable woven fabric and let the slightly frayed edges be part of "the look." Another possibility is to fuse the back of the fabric, before you cut out the individual pieces, with a lightweight fusible knit interfacing. This should prevent raveling on most fabrics and add a little extra support to the piece as well.
Leather hexagon shapes are sewn together, a la Grandmother's Flower Garden, using a decorative machine stitch and some variegated thread.
What you'll need:
- Enough leather to cut the belt's front section in one piece plus the extensions, ties, binding, and some of the hexagons
- Additional scraps of leather in at least three additional colors (so you can alternate them "randomly" across the piece) for the remaining hexagons
- A piece of stable woven fabric that's not too heavy for the belt front
- A piece of fusing material such as Steam-a-Seam or Pellon's Wonder Under
- A leather needle (optional-I've used a regular sharp needle with leather, too)
- A Teflon presser foot (it glides along the surface, making it easier to sew)
- A press cloth
To construct the belt:
1. Take your waist measurement and make a pattern to resemble the shapes I've included below. The belt wraps around the front of the body with the extension seams about a quarter of the way across the back. Before you cut the leather, make a "muslin" from some scrap fabric to determine the best fit and the exact length of the ties.
Measure your waist and draft a pattern using these shapes.