How to Make Obi Belts
How to Make a Rose Garden Belt
Materials needed: 1 yard of 45" wide fabric
Step 1: Lay your fabric horizontally with RIGHT side up, so that it measures 45” from side to side and 36” from top to bottom.
Step 2: Fold lower left corner up to top cut edge, forming a triangle with the fold at a 45-degree angle. After forming the triangle, you will be left with a strip of fabric measuring 9” from side to side and 36” from top to bottom. Cut this piece off and save for future projects.
Tip: This fold is on true bias grain, so if you have a stripe or plaid, your pattern on each section of the belt will run diagonally.
Step 3: Measure from the fold 2 1/2”, and mark a line that runs parallel to the fold. Round the corners of this strip, blending from the line to the corners. This will be the strip that forms the rose.
Step 4: Measure from the first line 1”, and mark a second line that runs parallel to the first. These will be the strips that form the belt ties.
Step 5: Measure from the second line 4 1/2”, and mark a third line that runs parallel to the second. Measure 23” in length and mark a perpendicular line at each end, forming a long rectangle. This will be the base of your belt.
Tip: It’s best to measure and mark all pieces before cutting out, since bias grain stretches and can stretch out of shape if you measure and cut each piece separately! Also, before cutting, place pins on BOTH sides of cutting lines, to hold both layers of fabric securely in place while cutting, ensuring completely even and matching fabric pieces.
Forming the Rose
Step 1: Open up rose piece, and re-fold with WRONG sides together, keeping cut edges even. Run a row of gathering stitches 1/2” from the cut edge. You can either use a long machine stitch or a short hand-basting stitch, depending on your preference and fabric weight.
Step 2: Gather the rose, as tightly as your fabric will allow. Heavier fabrics such as denim, wool or brocade will gather less, while lighter-weight fabrics such as shantung or taffeta will gather more. Tie off thread ends to hold gathering in place, and clip off the excess threads.
Step 3: Beginning at one end of the gathered strip, roll tightly, keeping the raw edges even. Hand-tack each layer of fabric in place as you roll, so that the center stays anchored, keeping your rose together.
Tip: “Crunchy” fabrics, such as dupioni silk and taffeta, can be molded into shape, so your rose can be as puffy or flat as you like. Other fabrics may need to be pressed lightly to keep the desired shape.
Forming the Belt
Step 1: With RIGHT sides together, stitch each tie piece lengthwise in a 1/2” seam, forming two narrow tubes. Turn pieces right side out; you will be left with two long spaghetti strips.
Step 2: Place one belt base piece with the RIGHT side up, facing you. Find the center of each short end of the rectangle and mark with a small snip, about 1/4” deep.
Step 3: Center one tie over each center snip, with cut edges even, so that the remainder of the tie is pointing toward the center of the belt. Pin or baste in place.
Step 4: Place other belt base piece over first, so that RIGHT sides are together, and ties are in between both pieces. Stitch all four edges in a 1/2” seam, being sure not to catch ties in the seams and leaving a 2” opening on one long side for turning. Clip corners.
Step 5: Run a row of gathering stitches on each short end on top of seam, either by hand or machine. Gather short ends as far as possible. Tie threads to hold gathering in place, and clip off the excess threads.
Step 6: Turn belt right side out, using ties to pull the ends as far as possible. The gathers will give a round shape to the ends of the belt, with the ties coming out from the gathers.
Finishing the Belt
Step 1: Slip-stitch opening in belt base closed. Press belt flat.
Step 2: Try belt on, and determine how long you want the ties to be. Snip off excess, and knot the tie ends to prevent fraying.
Step 3: Center rose over belt, and hand-stitch securely in place.
TRY THESE VARIATIONS
- Make several small roses, instead of one large one, to create a corsage of flowers for your belt.
- Add beads to tie ends before knotting for a decorative touch.
- Embellish the base with beads, sequins or trims as an accent.
- Cut the rose strip out of denim, cutting along the fold line. Gather and roll, creating a double-ply, two tone rose with funky frayed edges.
How to Make a Wide-Clinch Belt
- 1 yard of 45" wide fabric
- 2 yards of 3/8" to 1 1/4" ribbon of flat trim
- 1/4 yard of interfacing or felt.
Step 1: Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, with WRONG sides together.
Step 2: Mark a rectangle on your fabric that measures 26” long and 5” wide. Pin in place. Round out corners using a French curve or round coaster as a guide; cut out. These will be the front and back of your belt.
Tip: When using synthetic leather or snakeskin, mark and cut each belt piece separately. The thickness of these fabrics can be difficult to cut when two-ply, so you’ll get matching pieces by doing them one at a time.
Step 3: Using one of your belt pieces as a guide, cut one belt piece of interfacing or felt. If using fusible interfacing, fuse to the WRONG side of one fabric piece.
Step 1: If fusible interfacing was used, place belt pieces with WRONG sides together. If using felt or non-fusible interfacing, layer belt pieces one on top of the other in this order: one fabric piece RIGHT side up, one fabric piece WRONG side up, then interfacing or felt. Pin together.
Step 2: Stitch through all thicknesses in a 1/2” seam, leaving a 2” opening for turning.Tip: Using a thicker fabric? You may need to leave up to 3” open for turning.
Step 3:If felt was used, trim off excess felt as closely to stitching as possible to remove bulk. If interfacing was used, no trimming is needed. Clip curves.
Step 4: Turn RIGHT side out and slip-stitch opening closed. Press if possible – if using synthetic leather, place belt under a couple of heavy books or weights overnight to press, since these fabrics will get damaged by an iron.
Step 5: Top-stitch all around belt 1/4” to 1/2” from edge, as desired.
Step 1: Fold belt in half lengthwise to find the center. Mark with pins or use a fine-tip pencil to mark a horizontal line on the front of your belt. Center ribbon or trim over the line, extending over the ends of the belt; these extensions will form the belt ties.
Step 2: Edge-stitch ribbon or trim to belt. Try belt on to determine how long you want ties to be; trim off excess and knot ends to keep from fraying.
TRY THESE VARIATIONS
- Use two different trims and layer a thinner one over a wider one, for a striped or textured effect.
- Embellish your belt with appliqués, sequins or beads, to create a pattern that works with your ribbon or trim.
- Cut two layers of fabric and one layer of lace as an overlay – add ribbon rosettes to complete the vintage look.