Most belts you buy at a store are straight pieces of leather, cloth, etc. Ever notice after wearing a leather belt for a while, it starts curving in the back and front? This is how your body is actually shaped. We are cylindrical. Unless your belt or waistband is sitting at your waist line, it will fit better with some curve to it.
Put on your costume pants (if you have them) or pants of similar weight. Take 2 measurements around your body where the belt will sit. One where the top of the belt sits and the other where the bottom of the belt sits. Keep the tape measure loose but not sagging.
If your belt will have an overlap, add 5 inches to that bottom and top measurement number. Let’s say that model’s bottom measurement is 43″ + 5″ = 48″ and the top measurement was 42″ + 5″ = 47″.
If you have no overlap, then keep your measurements as they are.
Let’s start drafting the pattern. Tape some copy paper or tissue/tracing paper together wide enough to accommodate half your bottom measurement. The model’s bottom measurement was 48″ total, so half of that is 24″.
Draw a rectangle with the desired dimensions of your belt in mind. That wold be the belt width x half bottom measurement. The model’s rectangle is 4.5″ x 24″. Cut out the rectangle.
Now its time to “slash and spread” the rectangle to make a curved pattern for the belt. This is a basic method of pattern drafting so pat yourself on the back. Slash and spread is typically used to add or reduce fullness by opening and closing the pattern at certain points. For the curved belt, we’ll be closing the that pattern.
To evenly “slash” the pattern, we need to divide the rectangle into fifths so we have 4 points to “slash and spread”. Mark these lines on your pattern. Since the model’s rectangle is 24″, I will mark the pattern every 4.8″.
Cut along the lines down to the bottom edge, but DON’T cut through the edge. You want the pieces attached by the tiniest bit.
Here comes the “spread” or “closing” part of this technique, but first we need to do some simple math to determine how much to close the belt pattern. Subtract the bottom measurement from the top. Then divide that result by 4. For the model’s belt….48 – 47 = 1″ / 4 = 0.25″
At each cut, overlap the top edge by your closing amount just figured above. and tape it. The model needs to close her belt by 1/4″ at each cut section. Keep your piece furthest to the left straight (don’t rotate it) because this is your center back edge.
On a new piece of paper, trace this new shape with smooth edges. For smooth curves, you’ll need to true the lines….which means use a french ruler and draw the edges as one long, smooth curve. There should be no sharp edges or angles on your pattern.
On the center front (right side) you can add a curved edge or whatever decorative edge you desire.
When you use this pattern, you will cut “on the fold” which means you fold over the fabric and align the “center back” on the fold. You will be cutting through two layers of fabric to create one symmetric belt.
This is also a great technique for creating a fitted waistband!
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