What you will need:
- Sewing machine with thread
- Iron and ironing board
- 6 inches of 45 inch width brocade fabric in silk or a blend. You could also use cotton.
- 6 inches of lining fabric in silk, polyester or cotton (at least 45 inches wide)
- 5 inches of 45 inch width fabric to make the ties.
- Depending on weight of fabric you may need fusible interfacing.
- Tailors chalk
- Ruler and tape measure
Step 1: Take your waist measurement.
Write it down. For this tutorial, this is the only measurement you will need.
Step 2: Make the pattern.
I usually make my obi belts so the finished width is 4 inches in the middle (centre-front) tapering down to 3 inches at the centre-back. This shape gives a flattering shape to your belly, and gives freedom of movement at your sides and back.
You can either make up a pattern template for the belt on paper or mark the dimensions on the fabric using tailors chalk. Given my waist measurement I need a convex rectangle 36 inches long and 4 inches wide at side and 5 inches wide in the middle. It’s easier to make the pattern on the fold of fabric; that way you only need to draft one side and cut once.
I decided to take a couple of inches off my waist measurement so there was a wider gap at the back of the belt, though it entirely up to you on the length you want.
Notice how I added seam allowances one each side of the widths. For example add a half inches either side of the four-inch width to give a width of five inches. I don’t add seam allowance to the length – the length is your waist measurement – so there is a gap at the back.
Step 3: Cut your fabric.
Cut out one piece of the rectangle from the heavier brocade, one piece of the lining and depending on the weight of your fabric a piece of interface. I used the same fabric for the front and the lining.
If using interfacing, fuse it to the wrong side of the lining. As the fabric I used was a cotton, I used a medium weight interface on both the front and the lining to give the finished belt a bit of body. You could also use two different brocades for either side so you have two belts in one!
Step 4: Sew your fabric.
Place the heavier fabric right side up . Lay the lining face down on the brocade so that the right sides are together. Line up the edges and pin together. Sew the two long sides of the obi together with your appropriate seam allowance. This leaves the ends open! You’ll see why shortly.
Iron the seams open.
Turn the belt right side out. You could use a bodkin to help you do this.
Press the obi, making sure that the lining is not seen from the front. Turn under the open ends of the obi about 1/2″ and press them.
Top stitch the long edges. This will help stop the belt edges from rolling when being worn and exposing the lining unintentionally.
Step 5: Obi Belt Ties.
To make the ties you will need to determine the length you need. As they need to wrap around from your back to make a tie in the front you need a tie that is longer than you waist. So for the waist above I would cut 2 two inch wide strips 42 inches long to make the ties. I suggest making the ties at least 5 inches longer than your waist.
Fold the ties in half along the length, wrong side together. Press.
11. Fold both sides of the strip inwards towards the centre fold so that the raw edges are within the tie. Press.
Top stitch along the “open” edge of each tie.
Fold over one end of the strap about 1/4″ then fold again. Top Stitch the fold.
Step 6: Joining and finishing the Obi Belt
Insert the raw edge of a tie into the open edge of the belt, making sure that the open ends of the belt are still folded into the inside.
Insert the raw tie edge at least 1/2″ into the front panel.
Top stitch the short ends of the obi. (You may want to do more than one line of stitches as this gives the tie a stronger and a more secure connection point).
Repeat for the other tie.
Your belt is now finished. Enjoy!