HOW TO MAKE A ONE-PIECE COSTUME BELT

Here are photos and explanations to
help you with your
DIY costume belt project! These steps go along with
the handout for The Red Camel Bra and Belt Costuming Workshop.

This tutorial shows how to make a costume belt that fits YOU, beginning with
how to make a pattern for a customized belt. My apologies that these photos
are from several different projects and not one complete project. I thought it
better to have a tutorial with mismatched photos than none at all! So, here are all the steps,
in order, as presented at The Red Camel Bra and Belt workshop you have atteneded.

This web page is for personal use only, and is not to be reproduced or shared
without permission of The Red Camel . Please do not link to this page or share this web site
with others who have NOT attended the workshop. This web page is copyrighted material.


 

STEP 1 - MATERIALS AND DESIGN

Making a one-piece belt that fits you is relatively easy. All you need to do is be sure that you have a pattern that shapes the belt to your body.

You'll need a strip of inexpensive fabric or old bedsheet that approximates the width of the belt you want to make and the length that you need for your belt. Cut open a brown paper bag, get some pins, scissors and a pen or maker.

You'll need some canvas or other heavy material for the belt base itself, and some decorative fabric to cover the base and any embellishments you want to decorate the belt.


STEP 2 - FIT THE FABRIC TO YOUR SHAPE

First position the fabric strip around your hips where you will want to wear your belt. Take small pinches in the places where the fabric gaps, usually at the top in the back. Use several pins if necessary.

If you have narrow slim hips, your fabric will come out straighter, and you may not even have to take darts at all. If you are more curvy, your fabric strip might have curved shape or even a U shape.

Take darts wherever you need them. They can be small like this one, or they might be larger. The object is to get the fabric shaped to fit you.
   
STEP 3 - SYMMETRY

Ater pinning, lay the fabric strip on a flat surface. Fold your fabric form in half and line it up so that it is basically symmetrical, matching up the sides and ends.


Lay the back middle edge of the fabric along a straight edge on the paper.
STEP 4 - TRACE THE PATTERN

Trace around the fabric form with a pen or marker. Add design elements to the pattern at this stage by drawing them on the paper.

You may want points along the bottom edge, or even cutouts in the middle. Draw thes design elements onto the paper pattern.



Cut out the pattern. It should look like half a belt.

STEP 5 - CUTTING THE CANVAS BASE

Fold your canvas base material in half. Place your pattern on the folded canvas so that the center back of the pattern is along the folded edge. Pin the pattern in place if necessary.


Trace around your pattern with a pen or marker. Cut out your canvas belt form.


When you unfold it, it should be a complete belt form and should fit around you the way you want your finished belt to fit.

STEP 6 - CUTTING THE DECORATIVE FABRIC

Lay the unfolded canvas form on piece of your decorative fabric that is large enough to cover the canvas form and leave at least 1 inch extra around each side. Cut out around the canvas base. This doesn't have to be perfect or pretty.

STEP 7 - COVERING THE BASE

Fold the decorative fabric around the canvas base and press the fabric in place. You may need to snip or fold the fabric to go around curves or design elements. Trimming at the corners can help reduce bulk.

Be careful when trimming this fabric, don't cut too close!

STEP 8 - SEW DECORATIVE FABRIC DOWN

Machine or hand stitch completely around the edges of the canvas base so that the front of the base is completely covered.


You can trim the raw edges of the folded decorative fabric on the back so it isn't so bulky.

Be careful not to trim to closely. If you trim too much fabric, even woven fabrics may fray a bit, causing the canvas base to show.


STEP 9 - ATTACH TIES

If your design includes ties, attach them now. You can use folded fabric ties, ribbon or cord. Non-stretch materials are best for ties.

Now would also be the time to add rings if you will be using these as a way to close the belt. Cover two strips of canvas in your decorative fabric, wrap through the rings and attach to the back side on each end of your belt.

STEP 10 - DECORATE

You are now ready to add embellishments to the front of the belt. Add any decorative items you want, be careative!

The back of the belt will look messy and have lots of knots and threads.


STEP 11 - LINING THE BELT

For a professional quality costuming piece, be sure to line your belt with felt or a fabric backer. To line with fabric, cut out a piece of fabric that is a little larger than the size/shape of the belt and place it on the inside of the belt.

Fold the edges of this fabric under so they are tucked inside between the base and the lining fabric.

Pin in place, then handstitch down.

Felt can also be used as a lining material, simply cut out the right shape and sew it down. Felt is very sweat absorbant and is easily replaced!


WARNING: Velvet might feel great, but I do NOT recommend it for belt linings. It has a nap and will cause the belt to twist, or ride up or down when the belt is worn. Cotton broadcloth or other fabric without a nap is recommended.

STEP 12 - ADD HOOKS

If not using ties or rings, I recommend adding your hooks LAST so that if you need to move them, you can do so easily!
Hooks are usually used on cabaret type costumes, but you can use them for fusion and tribal costumes as well.

Now you're finished - Your costume piece is complete and looks professionally made. Enjoy your handiwork and your new costume piece!



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Questions or ordering? Just send me an email!
deb@redcamel.net

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