Sunday, November 27, 2011

Suede Flower Leather Obi Belt Tutorial

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with gratitude, family, laughter and love!  I know mine was.  And now I'm fully embracing all the Christmas and holiday decorations, music, lights, projects, etc, etc.  Bring it on!  (Of course at the same time I'm kind of freaking out that I don't know what I'm going to do for gifts for everyone -- especially since our gift budget is basically non-existent.  I think most are going to involve some stash-liquidation on my part!)

Today I also realized that I never posted about the dress and belt I made for my 10 year high school reunion.  Here's the photo of the final product:

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Today I'm going to share the tutorial for the leather and suede obi belt.

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I started with a black leather jacket and a brown suede mini skirt I found at the thrift store on a 50% off day. (That's a great way to get leather at an affordable price, and reduce/reuse/recycle!) A while back I had cut out the lining, zippers, facings, etc and cut them into non-sewn-together pieces.

One of the things I love about leather is that it doesn't unravel or fray, so you can leave the edges raw. Of course folded and sewn edges have a more professional/finished look, but sometimes I'm just glad to be able to cut a corner here and there. :)

I started out by cutting the pieces using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter (I LOVE those things!).

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Main rectangle: 5" wide x 17.5" long
(I'm tall and have a long torso, so I would suggest about 4" wide for a woman of average height. Also the length was my waist circumference in inches, divided by two, adding two inches, and adding one inch for seam allowance.)
Triangle pieces: 5" wide for 1/2", then down to a point x 12" long
(I just estimated this one, but it ended up being about 3/4 of half of my waist circumference, plus 1" for seam allowance.)
Ties: 3/8" wide x 20" and 18" long
(I totally estimated and just used the longest piece of leather I had. This is how long they ended up. One side is longer because the flower is slightly to the side and the straps tie at the center of the flower.)
Flower petals:  I drew the shape of a flower petal and traced it with a fabric pencil onto the suede.  I flipped the pattern over for a couple of the petals so they all would not be exactly the same shape.  I cut them out on the inside of the pencil line so I wouldn't have to worry about trying to wash/rub it off. 

Be sure to use leather needles. They are stronger and sharper than regular needles. I would also recommend using a thicker, stronger thread. It will help it all hold together well, and look better, too. If you have one, use a teflon or roller presser foot as well, since the suede side of leather tends to grip as it's going through the sewing machine and one of those feet will help it glide smoothly. (I didn't have one, but it still worked out pretty well, with some concerted effort.)

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Start out by sewing the triangle pieces to the sides of the rectangle piece. Leather can't be pinned in the normal way, so I stuck pins straight in, inside the seam allowance (since once you put a hole in leather, even a tiny one, it won't go away).

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After that, top stitch the seam on either side, both to give it a finished look and to lay the seam allowance down flat.

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Then stitch all the way around the outer edge of the belt. For a more finished look you can simply fold over the edge and top stitch just like the other seam. Why didn't I do that? I have no idea... :) But if you do, be sure to add the extra width to the rectangle and triangle pieces to make sure your belt ends up the width that you want.

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For the ties, trim the point off the triangle pieces to make it 3/8". Place the tie under the point, overlapping about 3/4" and sew it on by stitching back and forth several times in a straight line.

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Visualize dividing the main rectangular part of the belt into thirds and place the flower petals on one of the dividing lines (so it's to one side, instead of in the middle). Glue them down with a small amount of glue (I used super glue since I needed something that would dry quickly) placed near the center of the petal, so the glue will not be in the way when you sew.  (I took this photo prior to sewing, since I was testing out how it would look, and I wanted to remember the placement of the petals when it came time to sew them on)

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Using a free-motion presser foot (so you can turn smoothly while sewing -- see below), sew the petals on by stitching along the inside of the edge for each one.


And then you are done!

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I'll be linking up to these fabulous link parties:

 Monday -  Craft o Maniac Monday -- Craftastic Monday -- Amaze Me Monday -- Make it Great Monday -- Polly Want 2 Party  --  Tuesday -  Get Your Craft On -- Sew Cute Tuesday -- Upcycled Awesome -- Tip Me Tuesday -- Tuesday Talent Show --  Wednesday -  Seven Thrity Three -- Wallet-Friendly Wednesday -- Create and Share -- Whatever Goes Wednesday --  Linkin’ with Lil’ Luna -- Thursday -  Strut your Stuff Thursday -- Transformation Thursday -- Thrilling Thursday -- House of Hepworths -- Friday -  Remodelaholic Friday -- Flaunt it Friday -- Frugal Friday -- Weekend Wander -- Show and Share Day -- It's Fun to Craft! -- Tickled Pink Fridays -- Weekend Wrap-up Party -- Catch as Catch Can -- Friday Flair -- Feature Yourself Friday -- Simply Link {Party} -- Pity Party -- Design Dazzle --  Saturday - Saturday Spotlight --  Sunday -  The DIY Showoff Project  Parade --  Sunday Showcase Party -- Creative Bloggers Party -- I Heart Naptime -- Think Pink Sundays


  1. Love this! What a chic upcycle! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This looks great! Wish I could've worn something like this to my 10 year!

  3. What what a great upcycle! I'll be on the look out for suede at the thrift store from now on. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. This is gorgeous!!!!!! You got skill. Leather is not an easy medium to work with! Way to be :)

  5. This is gorgeous! I'd love for you to come over and share this at Etcetorize. The linky party is open now:

  6. What a great idea I love this. Thank you so much for linking up to Upcycled Awesome and Everything Else!

  7. Beautiful! I love it! Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Fingerprints on the Fridge.

  8. I'm featuring your gorgeous belt over at Etcetorize this week. Feel free to come grab a button from the sidebar if you like~

  9. Wow! Beautiful dress and belt, you're very "skilled" Thanks for visiting my blog!

  10. I love obi belts! And I definitely love this one... We are featuring it today in the blog, FB, Twitter and Pinterest. ^^)

    thanks a lot for linking up at the party. hope to see you again this week! ^^) And don't forget, votation for week 2 finalist will start today and will end next friday.


  11. This is so brilliant! I've always loved obi belts and even tried making one. But I think your use of the triangles at the back are what make yours so special!

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