Monday, December 9, 2013
DIY Manhattan Chic Leather Belt
When the lovely folks over at the Leather Hide Store asked if I'd like a hide to work with, I wasn't hesitant at all about accepting. If you click over to their shop, you'll see why. I never knew there was such variety it leather colors and textures and I had such a hard time choosing just one.
I finally nailed it down to this gorgeous Manhattan Grey. When it arrived on my doorstep, I fell in love. Its' amazingly soft and buttery. And then, I remembered that I've never worked with leather before. Which after a little research on the best tools and practices turns out, even a novice leather worker can turn out a lovely project. Here's how I turned this HUGE piece of leather into my new favorite belt.
Start by gathering all of your materials: leather remnant, belt buckle, Nylon thread, leather needle, awl, and binder clips.
Now on the back side of your hide, mark your belt measurements. Measure around your hips, true waist or high waist depending on where you plan to wear the belt. Then add 6 inches. Create 2 perpendicular rectangles based on these measurements and how wide you want the belt to be. I measured my belt loop and went with that width measurement which was 1/2". Now cut around the perimeter of the larger rectangle that these make together. (DO NOT CUT DOWN THE MIDDLE LINE)
Fold the belt in half along the center line with WRONG sides facing and hold in place with binder clips. This will secure the belt while ensuring that no holes are placed in the material.
The leather needle is specially designed to cut through the thickness of the leather. You will want to play with the tension of your machine by practicing with scraps first. Once you've settled your tension settings, sew along the raw edge of the folded leather using a leather needle and nylon thread, starting at a short side, pivoting at the corner and continuing along the rest of the belt, coming up the folded edge and back to where you started, back stitching at the beginning and the end.
Loop one short end through the belt loop about 1 1/2" and sew in place. You can create a loop in the same manner as the belt to hold the excess belt in place. You'll need to hand stitch the small loop closed.
Use an awl to create your holes. To measure the first hole, try the belt on pulling until you gain the desired smallest width. Mark this hole with a marking pencil. Then measure in 1" increments and mark each additional hole. This process takes some muscle so don't get discouraged. You may have to help each hole along by going through both the front and back side of each hole. Finally, trim up the raw edge of your belt to make sure this side is smooth and even. A rotary cutter really aids this process.
And now that you're finished, start contemplating how to use the rest of that hide. I'm thinking big city bag to match my chic new belt.
Enter to win $50 the Leather Hide Store below so you can make your own leather projects! (US and Canada only, 18 or older, void where prohibited.) Giveaway will close on Sunday, December 15th.
And hey, I just realized it's Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew so I'm linking this fabulous giveaway over there. Good luck!