Homemade belt and belt pouches

It seems like something out of a Ren Faire doesn’t it?  I have always been a pockets person.  I have a tough time with purses and backpacks because I put them down when they become inconvenient and then forget about them.  Pockets are safer because I am not likely to leave without the pockets of my pants.  Unfortunately, as you ladies out there know, pockets are a precious commodity.  They are difficult to find at all, let alone in a usable size.  This has led me to wear mostly jeans outside of work.  While I am fine with jeans, there are times I’d like to wear something else.

A friend told me about pod belts and that she has had one for years.  It has held up well and has some great functionality.  As you can see if you follow the link, the belt has pouches, or pods, that attach by clips so they can be added, removed, and rearranged as desired.  I had seen many other belts with attached pouches that I wasn’t sure about because the pouches were permanently attached.  I don’t always carry the same things, so it would be nice to only use the pouches I want.  However, the price tag made me pause.  I am sure it is worth it for the materials and longevity my friend led me to expect, but I was not sure this would work for me long term.

So I turned to my own craftiness for a solution.  I would make my own prototype for my own use and if it worked out, then I would consider buying something down the road.  Luckily I have a decent stash even after getting rid of many things during the recent move.

The Belt

First, I needed a belt with links to attach pouches.  I had a length of woven black strap sitting in my stash.  I had found it on the floor of a retail store I had worked at temporarily.  It obviously wasn’t an item to sell, so I took it for some later use.  It would work perfectly as a belt.  I got a belt buckle and an eyelet kit at a local craft store.

No picture of the belt buckle package, sorry

I used an eyelet to make a hole for the tongue of the buckle and folded the raw end of the strap under to secure it.  Because of the thickness, I hand sewed both raw ends of the new belt.  The other end I covered with a piece of bias tape.  Folding the end under would have made it too thick to go through the buckle.

Using small binder clips to hold the raw edge under so I could sew it down.

I used the eyelet tool to add holes at the opposite end of the belt as well.  Unfortunately, I did not realize I was using the tool upside down until after I had finished, but they seemed to be holding.  At least I’ll know how to do it properly if they need to be replaced.  Always check the directions.

Once I had the belt made, it was time to add the links that would anchor the pouches.  I bought the d-links from Home Depot since I didn’t want to wait for them to be shipped to me.  They are just half inch zinc-plated d-links from the hardware section.  To attach them I used pieces from a nylon strap that went to an old purse to make loops.  I also sewed this by hand, making sure that I sewed down as much of the loop as I could while also making it look nice since the nylon loop would be visible.

Though of course, first I had to measure for where to attach the d-links.  I put the belt on and put a small binder clip to make my sides, using the side seams of my shirt for markers.  Then I measure from them on either side to place additional binder clips.  First I tried a four-inch spacing, but when I thought about the sizes of the pouches I wanted, which I based on the pods available from the other website, I realized that four inches would be too far.  So instead I went with a three-inch spacing.  I was able to test the spacing using a pouch I made in between the process of getting the belt together.

Please forgive my dusty mirror.

I had to go back to Home Depot for more d-links, but I have all attached except one.  Unfortunately, they only had two left in the store and I needed three.  Aside from needing to attach one last link, the belt is finished.

The Pouches

I’ve made two pouches so far to go with the belt.  They’ve been made entirely from salvaged materials I already owned aside from two eyelets from the kit I bought.  Both are made from black fabric I saved from a pair of capris I had to hem up quite a bit.  Each leg ended with an elastic cinch, which gave me lengths of elastic cord.

The first pouch I made is 6 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ with almost no depth.  I just made a front and back panel, then sewed them together.  The capris had some patterning that I tried to utilize to make the pouch more interesting.  Since I did not add a flap, I sewed on a shank button to the front panel.  I had retained the original channel and eyelets on the back panel through which the original elastic cord had passed.  This worked out for adding an elastic loop that comes forward over the button to hold the pouch closed.  I had two clips from an old purse that I had saved that I attached to the back so the pouch can hand from the belt.

Choosing the button to use was a little difficult because I had more options in my stash than I thought.  I asked a few opinions and settled on the bronze celtic knot because the color was subdued, though I would have preferred silver, and the pattern was nice.  These were all the possibilities:

Which would you have picked?

Using the basic dimensions for a small pouch from the pod belt website, I decided to make my own using the salvaged fabric from the other leg of the capris.  This one would have a front flap, so I planned for that in the design.  I used the patterning on the fabric a little differently this time, but I think the effect is attractive.  Luckily, I had more than one of the same style button so the pouches could match.  I had to add eyelets, but I used the same elastic loop closure method.  My mother had given me the nylon strap I used with the belt from an old purse of hers and it came with two more clips.

Both pouches were constructed using my sewing machine to sew the basic seams.  I folded over the seam allowance to each side and covered it with fusible hem tape and cotton hem facing.  A towel on top of my craft table worked just fine in place of an ironing board.  I applied this to all the raw edges, just to be sure that there would be no unraveling.  The clips were sewn on using loops from the same nylon strap used for the belt links.

And that’s it.  Aside from needing to attach one more d-link and add a loop to capture the tail of the belt (you’ll see one right behind the buckle on your belt), this project is done for now.  I may decide to make additional pouches from other fabrics in other colors, but I can do that at my leisure.  I have a working prototype.  Hopefully it will work very well.

This project was made possible because I had saved (hoarded) useful bits and bobs like clips, buttons, and straps.  You never know when things like that will come in handy.  I saved fabric and notions from another project, hemming capris, and made good use of those items as well.  The only things I had to buy were the buckle, eyelet kit, and d-links.  Everything else I had.  Thanks to coupons and the dregs of an old gift card, I estimate I spent less than $10.  Not a bad deal all told.  Waste not, want not.

The final result looks pretty good if I do say so myself.  I look forward to testing it out in the wild.  My hope is that it will allow me to expand my wardrobe a bit beyond jeans and similar style cargo or twill pants.

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