Make a chic purse belt

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DIY purse beltMake a fashionable belt to stash your money, lipstick and other goodies. Kate Haxell, in her gorgeous new book Sewlicious, shows us how – and we have this brilliant DIY project for you here, free. See below.

Sewlicious-coverKate Haxell’s new book, Sewlicious: 35 ways to a handmade world, is truly inspiring. The experienced craft editor and author offers 35 gorgeous projects – an eclectic mix of DIYs for the home, for indoor and outdoor events, to wear, and to play with.

Every project has step-by-step illustrations to guide you, plus there is a technique section and all the templates you’ll need for the projects.

Some of the projects include stylish patchwork bedding, the cutest rag doll ever, a fun felt mask, an apron, a knitter’s bucket bag, a waterproof tablet case, a fabulous hoodie-slash-wrap for outdoor activities, and a doggy draught excluder, among others.


We love this book. It’s a great gift for yourself or for someone who adores crafting.

Sewlicious by Kate Haxell is published by CICO Books and is available from all good bookshops or online outlets.  For more information, please visit

Photos and text extracted with permission from Sewlicious by Kate Haxell. Images are the copyright of CICO Books. Distributed in NZ by Bookreps NZ Ltd.


Keep stuff safe

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

My regulation school summer dresses were pink-and-white striped sacks with narrow collars, zipped-up fronts, and too-short sleeves: everyone, absolutely everyone, looked terrible in them. The amount of customizing that could be done was severely curtailed by strict uniform regulations, but one accessory that was permitted was a purse belt, though it did have to be maroon. At least it gave the sack a bit of shape. And you had somewhere to keep your candy money. And when I left school I kept the belt and wore it to festivals to keep cash safe. And when the belt fell apart, I kept the clasp, and that is the clasp on this belt. So it is worth hoarding the odd thing or two…

See below for tips on altering this belt design to suit your own clasp or buckle.

You’re going to need…

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Click to enlarge

  • Fabric and medium-weight fusible interfacing (see Customizing the Belt Design, below)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • 6in (15cm) zipper
  • Pins
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Basting thread: I always use ordinary sewing thread in a contrast colour
  • Sewing threads to match fabrics
  • Sewing machine
  • Buckle or clasp (see Customizing The Belt Design, below)
  • Masking tape
  • Eyelets to fit buckle tongue (if you are using a buckle rather than a clasp)

Customizing the belt design

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The width of the belt is determined by the width of the part of the clasp or buckle that the fabric is attached to (see Step 7). So a narrow clasp will only give you a very skinny pocket. For a clasp, you need two strips of fabric and one of medium-weight fusible interfacing that measure the required width plus ¾ in (2cm), by your waist measurement plus 4in (10cm).

I made my strips longer than this as my original purse belt had an adjustable slider and I wanted to use it on this belt, too.

If you’re using a buckle, then the same width is needed, but you need extra length to thread through the buckle: experiment with your buckle and a strip of paper to see how much fabric you need.

Step by step

1. Iron the interfacing onto the back of one of the fabric strips; this will be the outer side of the belt. Press under a 3/8-in (1cm) hem along one long edge of each belt piece.


2. Position the zipper face down on the hem of the interfaced fabric, with the teeth of one tape aligned with the folded edge of the hem. If you are right-handed (as I am), then you want the zipper pull about 4in (10cm) from the right-hand end of the belt: the same distance from the left-hand end if you are left-handed. (I had to put the strip around my waist, right side out and folded hem uppermost, to work out where my zipper should go: I recommend the same procedure for safety.) Pin and then baste the tape in position.


3. Making sure the ends of both strips are aligned, repeat the process to baste the folded edge of the other strip to the other zipper tape.


4. Fold the ends of the tapes away from the zipper teeth, as shown. Machine-sew close to the teeth on each side, sewing over the folded tapes, to sew the zipper in place.


5. Fold the two fabric strips right sides together. Taking 3/8-in (1-cm) seam allowances, and reversing at each end, sew along the pressed fold at the top from either end of the zipper to the ends of the strips. Sew as close to the ends of the zipper as you can, so that there won’t be any holes in your pocket. Then sew right along the bottom edge.


6. Turn the belt right side out through one of the open short ends and press it flat. Tuck in 3/8in (1cm) at each short end and press.


7. Slip one short end through one half of the clasp and sew it to the inside layer of the belt. Repeat on the other end with the other half of the clasp. It you are using a buckle, attach it to one end of the belt in this way, and follow the instructions of the eyelet kit to fit eyelets into the other end of the belt.


8. To make the pocket, stick strips of masking tape across the belt just beyond either end of the zipper. Sew along these guidelines, reversing at each end to secure the stitching.


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