How to Make Belt Loops (and Improve Life in a Small But Excellent Way)

Life is hard enough. You don't really need to make it any tougher by dealing with a belt that just won't stay in place or pants that have tendency to sag.

Luckily, there's a simple way to solve this annoying problem: Belt loops!

Here are a few things to keep in mind and an action plan.

Add Belt Loops to Finished Garments

Make the loops from the same or a contrasting fabric — your choice. But if your fabric is extremely heavy, consider either facing the fabric with a lighter-weight material or using a contrast fabric that's less bulky. You can even combine cording or ribbon trims if you think that would look great.

How Many Loops?

Usually coats and dresses just have loops at the side seams, though there can be more depending on style and function. Pants and skirts can make you look thinner if the belt loops are positioned a few inches on either side of center front and center back (as long as the zipper doesn't get in the way).

Calculate Loop Length

To determine how long each loop should be, you will obviously need to know the width of the belt you'll be wearing. Each belt-loop length should be the belt width plus ½ inch plus 1 inch for seam allowances. So for a 2-inch belt, you would need each belt loop to be 3½-inches long.

Cut Strips of Fabric

The fastest, simplest way to make loops is to cut a strip of fabric slightly longer than the sum of the total number of loops multiplied by the length of each loop. For example, if you are going to make five loops, each 3½-inches long, you will need to cut a strip of fabric that's 17½-inches long or slightly longer.

As for the finished width of your loops, that's a matter of personal preference. But the construction method depends on the weight of the fabric. If you plan to use a medium-weight fabric, for instance, the cut width should be 4 times the finished width.

So let's assume you want to make loops described above with a finished width of ½ inch. That means you would cut a strip that's 17½-inches by 2 inches, creating 5 loops that are each ½-inch wide.

How to Sew Belt Loops

1. Fold your strip in half lengthwise and press.

2. Fold the long raw edges in to the center fold and press.

3. Fold in half again lengthwise, and press the original center fold again.

4. Stitch close to the edge of both long sides of the strip.

5. Cut into five loops, each 3½-inches long.

How to Make Belt Loops with Lightweight Fabric

Another construction method that works nicely for very lightweight fabric uses fusible web and eliminates the edge stitching.

1. Using the selvedge edge for one long edge, cut a strip twice the width of the finished loop + ¼ inch.

2. Cut a strip of webbing the same width as the final belt loop.

3. Using the long, raw edge of the strip, turn the fabric ¼ inch to the wrong side and press.

4. Lay the fusible web strip close to the pressed edge and fuse in place.

5. Remove the paper backing and fold the selvedge edge over the fusible web and press.

6. Cut the strip into individual loops.

How to Apply Belt Loops to a Stitched Waistband

1. Mark the placement lines for the loops on the garment.

2. Fold ½ inch of each end of the belt loop to the wrong side, and pin on both the upper and lower placement marks for one loop.

3. Using a narrow zigzag or bar-tack stitch, stitch through all layers of fabric, securing both ends of the loop to the garment.

How to Apply Belt Loops to an Unstitched Waistband

The loops can be inserted into the waistband seam edge, then topstitched to the top edge of the waistband.

Now you've got some very functional and great-looking belt loops. Life is about to get a tiny bit easier!

Ready to sew an entire pair of pants? Check out Pant Construction Techniques with Sandra Betzina and Jean-ius! Reverse Engineer Your Favorite Fit with Kenneth D. King to get started!

January 25, 2019
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How to Make Belt Loops (and Improve Life in a Small But Excellent Way)