Thursday, September 26, 2013

When Your Pants Fall Down

... it is prudent to wear a belt.*

One of my children (who shall not be named, to protect her identity) has a problem with her trouser waistbands. That is all I will say. And we have only one child-sized belt in the entire house, which came into our possession as part of a store-bought suit. Last week, that belt vanished completely and, to that child's horror, she had to go to school with Fallingdownpants and tug them up throughout the day. The way the child recounted it, it was a nightmare of epic proportions.

So I went shopping for a belt. I always go shopping before sewing, by the way. I thought I'd debunk any myths about me making stuff. My Handmaking Motto is: Save The Time, Spend The Dime.

Of course there were no belts to buy in the shops. Apparently, my child is the only one in the whole of Minnesota whose pants fall down. 

So I detoured to JoAnn and bought webbing. Not the tacky shiny nylon sort that melts if you stand too close to someone's birthday cake candles, but the lovely cotton kind. Couldn't decide between the colors, so I bought three. Then I saw that nice woven brown faux leather strap and bought that too. And came home and made these belts.

Here follows the tutorial. Today's photos are hideous because I took them all with the wrong shutter speed and didn't realize it till after. Bah.

So, back to the webbing. Mine was 1" wide, and I bought 7/8 of a yard of each.

I also bought these 1" D-rings.

Very easy. Thread one end of the webbing through a pair of D-rings and fold over to the wrong side, and sew.

See? This is the WS.

This is the RS.

The braided trim was bulky and didn't work with D-rings so I used a pair of rectangular rings instead.

If you want a really, really simple version of this belt, you'd just finish the other end of the belt by folding it over to the WS and sewing it down in the same way as the D-ring end (except minus the D-rings). But where would be the fun in that? 

So I exhumed some leather and vinyl scraps from this earlier project and cut out some end shapes. I cut one out to the final shape and left a second piece uncut. 

Then I sandwiched the end of the webbing between those two leather pieces (their RS are facing out), with plenty of border around.

And then topstitched (edgestitched, actually) all around. I used a leather needle. They're very thick and totally prevent stitch-skipping. 

See - my leather needle gave such perfect stitches (no, I didn't use a roller foot or 3M tape or any other sewing aid) that I threw caution to the wind and used contrasting thread. 

Here's the pink belt with brown vinyl - it more clearly shows the WS of the uncut vinyl piece behind the cut vinyl piece. It also clearly shows that I didn't align the webbing nicely. Well. 

Then I trimmed the larger leather piece to match the smaller one. 
Tada! Instant belt-end!
Not only neater but its pointed tip also makes it easier to thread through the D-rings.

Then I made the other three.

End of story. 
Hopefully the Fallingdownpants Syndrome will now be a thing of the past.

*or suspenders. But suspenders are like socks - they come in pairs and all too easily lose their twin. Which translates to DemiFallingdownpants Syndrome. Which means we're back to square one. 


  1. I have some fallingdownskirts syndrome in my're a great mom for taking the time to make! I can never find nice belts either BTW. :o/ Made mine too!

  2. Such pretty belts! I'll bet "the child" is very pleased with them and glad for the various colors!

    1. Yes, The Child came home yesterday and reported that "the belt worked great today in school, Mom!" and did a cartwheel and the pants did not fall down so I guess she was telling the truth and not just being polite.

  3. I've made a few belts over the years for my girls. I like the idea of the faux leather end. By the way, my mum had a horror of me getting about with my tights falling down when I was a kid. She made me suspenders that I could wear under my dress to hold my tights up. Bit of a problem when I needed the bathroom though.

    1. Clever mom! It's funny (and sad) when tights are no longer tight - must we call them looses instead?

    2. I hate this problem! I've added elastic to the top of G's tights and it helps a little.

  4. okay - they WORK? I made a belt for Ben (blogged it here - don't laugh at the photos, please: I made a triple layer of fabric and used D-rings. But the fabric seemed to be too slippery and it would slide through the rings, so the belt was, essentially, useless. Do you think there's that big of a difference between fabric and webbing???? Help me, o great one. Because I do still have skinny kids and pleather, ugly belts (although we have Mennonite stores around here and those little boys wear belts, so I'm not as bereft as you in Minnesota!).

    I'm also not sure if it's easier to show my kids how to handle a buckle with holes or the D-rings. Ben is 5 and he can't figure out how to put the belt ON, although he can usually manage the buckle later.

    1. Margo: yes, they do work (see my reply to Grandma G's comment above). I wonder if it IS the webbing's rough texture that makes the D rings stay put. Also, the D-rings are the same width as the belt i.e. both are 1". I wonder if your D-rings are a little wider than your fabric belt. Or if it has to do with the thickness of the webbing vs the flatness of your fabric belt that keeps the former from slipping. I've never made fabric belts before (too lazy to sew a strap), so I'm guessing wildly here. Which means this is pretty much useless "help". Sorry :(

      P.S. It never crossed my mind to laugh (I did hop over to check out your belt). It was made by you for your son, one, and two, it looks great (and not only because it isn't pink), so that makes it awesome.

    2. Making one now - for me! I just finished a dress for myself! I'll blog on it whenever I can get photos taken and considering this is a sleeveless dress and it's almost October, might be next summer.

    3. The slippage might also have to do with how tight the seam by the D-rings is. I was just testing out whether some thick ribbon would work. When I pinched the ribbon next to the D-rings tightly and them pulled the other end, there was no slippage, even when I was pulling very hard. But then my pinching fingers slipped a bit and the D-rings had more "wiggle room" and suddenly the same ribbon slipped right through. I did notice that when the D-rings were tight, the front D-ring stayed on top of the back one which meant the other end of the ribbon went slightly backward at one point as it looped around the rings. But when the D-rings were looser, the front one was able to dip into the space of the back one, so then there was no friction, no "backwards" portion to keep the ribbon from slipping through.

  5. I didn't know suspenders came in pairs! The only ones I've seen are singles - two straps in the front but they are attached together in the back (like a Y-shape) so that only one centre strap clips in the back. Still, your belts sound much easier to make than suspenders, paired or otherwise.

    1. Anonymous: I must be thinking of the really old parallel braces (that of course nobody uses because they keep slipping off the shoulders). This is how little I know of braces/suspenders fashion. And you're right - these days the Y- and H- and X-shaped ones are more common (and clever).

  6. Hi
    Have you seen the adjustable elastic - it is normal elastic with buttonholes sewn down the middle. If you carefully unpick the side seams on jeans and thread the elastic through, sew buttons near the holes and (MOST IMPORTANT!!) sew the end of the elastic to the jeans you can pull in the back of the jeans to make them less likely to fall down.
    This is what I do with my little ones pants and it works a treat! If you can't find any and what to try it let me know!

    1. Mhairi - yes, I've seen those. I even bought some of that elastic to make my own maternity pants er... 6 years ago (never did). My kids' pants usually come with those in the side seams. BUT this one pair didn't have any, hence they fell down. I never thought to doctor already-finished pants (again, laziness) to insert those, though. Maybe I should do that sometime, seeing as that elastic is still in my notions box.

  7. Isn't it nuts how you can never buy the things you'd think would be so simple to find in a store? I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow morning that links to your tutorial:


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