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This Cara Dune belt tutorial will show you how to create the teal and black belt, including the blaster holster. We will be doing everything except for the buckles and ammo/greeblies on the teal belt.
Supplies I used:
- Black faux leather fabric
- Teal faux leather fabric
- Light to Medium weight fusible interfacing
- Teal sewing thread
- Black sewing thread
- EZ Steam tape or something comparable (optional)
- 6/32″ (4.8 mm) cotton cording (or at least similar sized)
- Metal Snaps
- Tape measure
- Copy Paper
- French curve ruler
- Sewing pins or clips
- Bias tape maker (optional)
- Straight ruler aka quilter’s ruler (optional)
- Water-soluble marking pencil (optional)
- Sticky back velcro
- Blaster Kit
Let’s start with what I call the ammo belt (the teal-colored belt) and that is how I will be referring to it in this tutorial. For the black belt, I will call it…wait for it…black belt. Genius. I know.
Creating the ammo belt pattern
I made my own pattern for the ammo belt because it is slightly curved.
Did I just hear you ask, ‘WHY?’ If not, I’m going to tell you anyway.
Cutting the belt a straight and narrow rectangle shape does not fit the human body. We are cylindrical beings and we have curves. A straight belt does not sit against our hips — unless you’re Spongebob Squarepants, then please ignore all of this. Straight waistbands and belts are what create gaps around the waist (combined with extra fabric of course). We want our belt to be curved and we certainly don’t have time to worry about it gaping when we’re out being fierce mercenary warriors.
The illustration below is what the curved belt will look like when it is completed.
Put on your cosplay pants (if you have them) or pants of similar weight. Take a measurement around your body where the belt will sit. A hip measurement will probably do for this. Keep the tape measure loose but not sagging. Add 5 inches to that number to account for belt overlap at the side closure.
My measurement was 43″ + 5″ = 48″
I made the teal portion of the belt 3.5″ (9 cm) tall and the black trim 1/2″ (1.3 cm). All together the belt is 4.5″ (11.5 cm) tall (this is the width). No need to add seam allowance!
Your L x W size will be step 1 measurement x 4.5″. My belt size is 48″ x 4.5″. See the image below that illustrates the width and length with MY personal measurements.
Tape some copy paper together wide enough to accommodate half your measurement in step one. My Step 1 measurement was 48″ so half of that is 24″. Draw a rectangle with the dimensions of 4.5″ x half your step 1 measurement. My rectangle would be 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.
To evenly “slash” the pattern, we need to divide the rectangle into fourths. Mark these lines on your pattern. Since my rectangle is 24″, I will mark my rectangle every 6″. 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” part of this technique. At each cut, overlap the top edge by 1/4″ (6mm) and tape it. Keep your piece furthest to the left straight (don’t rotate it) because this will impact your belt shape later on!
On a new piece of paper, trace this new shape. For smooth curves, you’ll need to true the lines….which means use a french curve ruler and draw the edges as one long, smooth curve. There should be no sharp edges on your pattern. On the right, create a tapered, rounded edge.
The illustration below shows the “trued” lines and tapered edge in red.
The straight left edge is where you’ll cut the fabric on the fold. Let’s add this marking to the pattern. While I’m doing this, I also label the pattern piece with its title, how many instances to cut, and any seam allowance.
Making the ammo belt trim (optional)
This section is 100% optional. You can buy pre-made faux leather trim for this belt and save some time. If you opt to buy the trim, you’ll be looking for 1/2″ double-fold bias tape.
Now, if you’re making the trim yourself we’ll be creating the 1/2″ double-fold bias tape ourselves!
First, we need to figure the amount of bias tape we need. Use your measurements from before. Mine was 4.5″ x 48″. Add these numbers together and multiply them by 2.
My calculations: 2 x (4.5 + 48) = 105. I like to add another 3-5″ onto the length so I have some excess trim to work with while sewing. My total bias tape length (with excess) is 110.”
Now, cut your bias strips by following the tutorial at makeit-loveit.com. Then come back here to Step 2.
This step has two options. Keep reading to determine whether to follow 2A or 2B.
Depending on the type of faux leather you purchased, you may or may not be able to iron it. My faux leather is 100% Polyester so it does not melt under the heat. You might find that some faux leathers press very nicely leaving crisp, tight folds. Other faux leathers are finicky, barely press at all and don’t hold their folds.
NOTE: Always test a piece of your fabric under the iron BEFORE going in on your precious bias tape strips.
If your faux leather presses easily: follow Step 2A
If your faux leather cannot be pressed or doesn’t press well: follow step 2B
Use a bias tape maker with your iron to easily create the bias tape folds.
If you do not want to purchase a bias tape maker or don’t already have one, follow Step 2B.
I was lucky enough to choose a faux leather that does not like to stay pressed. Fabulous. There is a solution to this, it’s just not as seamless and easy as the process with nicely folded bias tape.
We’ll need to mark along the wrong side of the bias strips where we’ll be sewing it to the teal portion of the belt. Since the belt’s black trim is 1/2″, we need to make a mark, along the length of the strip, 1/2″ (1.3 cm) from the right edge. See the picture below that illustrates where I marked on the black bias tape.
Sewing the ammo belt
Now, it’s time to topstitch the teal portion of the ammo belt to give it the vertical lines.
Cut two pieces of the teal faux leather with the belt pattern you created earlier. Line the left edge on the fold of the fabric.
Put the wrong sides together so both sides of the belt show the teal faux leather. You can pin these pieces together or use the EZ-Steam fusible tape to hold them together. I used the fusible tape so I wouldn’t have to worry about removing pins or fabric moving as I topstitched.
Step 3 (optional)
The topstitching is 1/2″ (1.3 cm) apart. Make a vertical line every half-inch along the width of the belt. It doesn’t matter what side. You can skip this step if you can freehand this or you have a sewing foot for this, such as a quilting foot with a topstitching guide.
I started the topstitching marks in the dead center of the belt and worked my way to the left and right edges. The marks were made with a water-soluble marking pencil.
Topstitch along the lines you marked or use your presser foot as a guide. Trim all the excess thread and clean off the marks if needed.
Let’s add the black faux leather trim to the belt. We will be starting on the FRONT side of your belt. The front side of your belt is the side that’s facing out when your tapered edges meet on the right side of your hips. Mark the front side of your belt.
Let’s pin the bias tape to the belt on the side you just marked — the front side of the belt. I started on the tapered edge that would be overlapped at the belts closure.
If you have folded bias tape, unfold the tape.
Line up one edge of your tape with the edge of your teal belt. Right sides together. Fold over the starting edge of the strip 1/2″ (1.3 cm). Then pin/clip the bias tape all the way around the belt.
I apologize for not getting very many pictures after this! I will try to describe the process as best I can.
When you get to where you started pinning. Make sure you overlap the end of the strip 1/2″ (1.3 cm) over the start of your strip.
Now, start sewing along the marked line around the edge of the belt. For those with folded bias tape, sew along the first crease (should be 1/2″ from the edge).
At the tapered edges, sew slowly and carefully. You’ll need to adjust the fabric every few stitches and push the fabric “bunches” away from the needle. Try not to sew over any bunches.
When you get to where you started sewing, overlap a few stitches.
Flip the faux leather over the side of the belt so it reaches the back of your belt. You should have the right side facing up at this point. Press the faux leather where you just sewed to leave a crisp edge on the trim. This will be trickier at the tapered edges. Take your time and clip seams where necessary to give your fabric extra give.
Now fold the raw edge of the faux leather under 1/2″ on the back of the belt. If you have folded bias tape, this should already be creased for you. Secure the folded trim to the back of the belt meeting the stitches you just made on the front.
The goal is to secure the trim on the back without stitching through the belt. We don’t want any stitching to show on the front side of the belt.
The picture below shows the trim folded under on the backside of the belt. I used EZ-Steam fusible tape to secure the trim, but you could forego the tape and blindstitch or whipstitch it by hand. I was hasty with securing the trim so it’s not perfect by any means, but since it won’t be seen I didn’t care!
Attach some velcro at the tapered edges of your belt to use as a closure. I like to use industrial-strength heavy duty velcro with adhesive backing. It comes in strips or ovals. Attach as much as you need.
Sewing the black belt
This belt is fairly simple and was the easiest part of this costume so far! It consists of two strips of material with piping on each edge. The narrower strip sits on top of the wider strip.
I suspect this belt buckle is nonfunctioning and there is most likely an attachment beneath it. The belt itself seems to sit right at the belly button so we’ll be using your lower waist measurements for this.
Measure the circumference of your lower waist directly below the belly button while your cosplay pants are on (or something similar). Keep this measurement handy.
Because of the way this belt is attached, the top strip should be longer than the bottom strip to accommodate the buckle. You’ll also want the belt to be a little bit longer than your waist measurement so it can overlap itself by a few inches.
Cut two strips of faux leather according to these measurements:
Bottom layer = 4″ (10.2 cm) by waist measurement + 3″ for belt overlap
Top layer = 3.5″ (7.5 cm) by waist measurement + 3″ for belt overlap +3″ for the buckle.
On each short edge, fold over 1/2″ (1.3 cm) to create a single fold hem.
To make inserting the piping easier, I added a guide on the back of the strips. I measured 1.5″ in from both edges and drew lines down the length of the two strips. You will be folding the edges over to the line when you insert the cording.
Now fold over the edges meeting the guides you just drew while inserting the cording in the fold. Make sure the cording starts directly after the 1/2″ hem. Pin in place.
Sew the cording in place to create piping on the long edges of both strips. I used basting stitches (longest stitch setting on your machine) to make this process faster.
See my tutorial on how to make piping for more detailed sewing instructions.
If you have a faux leather or vinyl, your sewing machine might fight it a little because the material does not slide easily against metal/plastic sewing feet and feed dogs. To combat this, you can lay tissue paper under the strips and sew through it. You can also add scotch tape to the underside of your sewing foot for a smoother glide.
The back of both strips should look similar to this when you’re done sewing.
It’s time to attach the strips. Lay the narrow strip on top of the wide strip. Start the bottom strip 3 inches after the top strip. This is where the belt buckle will be placed.
To permanently join the strips, I fused them with EZ Steam tape. I did this by laying the tape on top of the bottom strip, placing the narrow strip on top and pressing for about 10 seconds to activate the tape.
You could also topstitch in increments along the already existing stitching to secure the belts.
Voila! You’re done with the black belt.