In our last tutorial we looked at creating a multi-coloured curved bottom pouch, but I showed you a sneak peek of today’s tutorial – adding a belt loop. Most larpers will hang their pouches off their belts rather than their wrists, and adding a sturdy belt pouch is a wise move if you intend to use your pouch often or to carry useful bits and bobs.
A belt loop can be added to any pouch, so long as it is done early on when all the bits are laid out on the table, though you could add one at any time with a bit of patience and needle and thread. However, I will show you how to add one that is planned as part of the pouch in this tutorial.
For more tutorials and walkthroughs, go to Tutorials.
First of all, grab a pen and some paper and sketch the rough shape for your pouch along with the belt strap. Here we have the multi-coloured pouch from last time with the planned strap, broken down into the different parts. Each of these are drafted and marked up with dimentions – the body, bottom and strap – and the seam allowance noted down. I like to use a 1″ (2.5cm) seam allowance.
Make your template out of card, marked up with seam allowance, cutting instructions and orientation.
Here are the pattern pieces – note how the strap only has one side with an added rectangle and a funny [ mark on the upper side? That tells you to place that edge on the fold of your cloth (therefore no seam allowance is needed) and once cut will give you a longer piece of cloth. You could use a long rectangle, but I didn’t have any card long enough to do this, so used the fold line of the cloth instead.
Adding a belt strap to a pouch
Gather your materials – cloth, scissors, needle and thread, pins, drawstring (if using one), all your pattern bits and ideally a minion with a belt.
You will make your pouch as normal, however first of all we will cut and make the strap. You might be able to see that the chalk marks on the cloth lead to the edge – this is the fold against which the upper edge of the pattern piece has been placed. Cut out the strap and put it to one side before cutting out the rest of the pieces.
You will now fold the long edges in towards the back of the cloth before folding the edge over again and pinning it in place. Using a neat straight stitch sew along this edge to make a neat hem that encloses the ragged raw edge that will stop your strap from fraying away during use. You could enclose the seams by lining the strap, however this time I have chosen not.
Fold the ends up once and sew in place. As the ends will be sewn together against the back of the pouch they do not need to be enclosed.
Line up your strap on the back piece of your pouch before any other pieces are attached. Keep one end overlapping the other so that there is no sudden join to the pouch and the keep the raw edges tucked out of sight. Pin the strap in place and carefully sew along the lines you have already sewn. I prefer to sew a simple rectangle, though you could add some detail by sewing a X between the corners.
As you can see, I have tried to keep to the lines I have already sewn.
Continue to sew the pouch as normal, just being aware of the belt loop sticking atop the pouch that should not be sewn down.
When it comes to sewing the drawstring channel of a drawstring pouch, I fold the belt loop down out of the way and pin it in place before feeding the whole lot of cloth through my sewing machine. This requires some careful coaxing and if you are using thick cloth it might be impossible to do. However, you could choose to doubly secure the belt loop by sewing through it a second time – it’s up to you.
Thread the drawstring like normal.
You now have a lovely pouch ready to hang from your belt. The photos above show the pouch open (the knotted cord against the body of the pouch) and closed (with the long tails). I would loop this long tail into a loose knot when securing the pouch, but it can be a bit fiddly to untie in a hurry.
Now, earlier we needed a minion – well, it’s unlikely that you’ll be making a pouch just for yourself but if you are … you will need someone to try it on their belt so you can admire it before adding it to your own kit.
I give you my minion – modelling the pouch on belt and opening it up to take out the sundries inside.
- Sew a ribbon loop into a side seam for a dainty belt loop that can also be hung from a wrist.
- Add some embroidery – I would suggest heraldic devices or geometric patterns. Maybe even match the colours to the heraldry.
- Add a tasseled drawstring for a bit of fun
- Add a lining or a secret/hidden pocket to the inside.
- Sew the visible seams in a zig-zag or contrasting colour for some pizzazz.
The only limit is your imagination, so go make things!