Tutorial: The Jenny Belt

17 Apr

Floral Minidress
When I posted my Floral Minidress, I got the most shit-flipping in regards to the turquoise belt I was wearing. I don’t blame anyone for this – it’s an awesome belt. Lots of people asked where I originally scored it – and I’m sorry to say that it was a purchase from a vintage store in New Orleans (nyah nyah nyah).

Occasionally I like to do nice things for other people, so I trekked down to the fabric store & picked up some supplies to see if I could duplicate the turquoise belt. And it worked! And now I’m going to share my tutorial – and pattern! – with the rest of the internet. Don’t say I never do stuff for you 🙂

Jenny Belt

I’m calling this the Jenny Belt because it’s a very 80s design, and Jenny is (to me) the most 80s name there is (well, other than Tiffany). Also, my first name is Jennifer. So yes, I named this belt after myself, technically. Wow that’s kind of awkward. Anyway, feel free to use the pattern as many times as your heart desires – but please don’t make it to sell. I want this to be free to everyone so let’s just be fair here, okay? Okay.

Let’s start by looking at the original inspiration.
Turquoise belt measurements
I left the yardstick there so you could see the actual size of the belt – a little over 26″ total. My waist is 26.5″-27″ (depending on how much I eat that day) so obviously this belt doesn’t need to stretch much to fit. The back half is elastic, but you don’t want to put too much stress back there or else you will distort the flow of the front.

Please note that I am writing this tutorial for a me-sized belt – i.e., one that will fix a waist of approximately 26″-28″. If you need your belt to be larger or smaller, you will need to adjust the elastic (and possibly the pattern pieces) accordingly.

Jenny Belt - supplies
Belt fabric: I used fake leather, but you can use whatever you want! Make sure your fabric does not have any stretch and is sturdy enough to handle belt-stress (or else plan on interfacing that sucker!). I have 1/4 yard here, but I think you could feasibly get by on much less… 1/4 yard was just the minimum cut at my particular store.
3″ Elastic: 3/8 yard was enough for me. If you can find 4″ elastic, even better!
1 1/2″ Button
Jenny Belt Pattern

Jenny Belt - pattern
Print the pattern at 100% – it should fit exactly on a sheet of regular ol’ paper. If you need to double-check the measurements, the length at the widest point should be approximately 8.5″. Cut out your pattern pieces – including the button hole. No seam allowances necessary!

Fold your leather in half, right sides together, and place your pattern pieces on the straight grain. You can pin around the pieces to keep the layers together, but be mindful that the pins will leave holes when you remove them. I used weights to keep my pieces down while I traced around the edges with a piece of chalk.


Cut out your pieces, including the button hole. You may need to use a smaller pair of scissors to get in there.

Now is a good time to make sure your button fits in the button hole.

You should have 4 pattern pieces – two with a button hole, two without.

Stack your pattern pieces, wrong sides together. If you are using interfacing, it should be sandwiched between the pieces. Don’t worry if your pieces don’t *exactly* match up around the edges, we will trim them after sewing. Remember – no pins! They will leave holes. If you absolutely need to hold the pattern pieces together, you can use paper clips or binder clips.

The pink lines indicate what sides you should sew – leave the last edge open, as this is where you will be inserting the elastic.

If you are using fake leather, you may want to lengthen your stitch a bit.

Sewing fake leather is fairly simple – the material is thin enough that most machines should handle it with no issues. If you have problems with the material sticking to the bottom of your presser foot, place a piece of tissue paper under the foot (on top of your leather) and sew as normal. I found that I only needed the tissue paper to get the seam started, and then I didn’t have any issues with sticking. Hold the material taunt (but don’t pull it!) to keep everything flat & pucker-free. Play around and see what works for you!
Sew the three sides (indicated by the pink line) and don’t forget the button hole!

When you are finished sewing, the tissue paper should rip right off.

If your edge are uneven, give them a little trim.

Stick the elastic in the open end of the belt, about 1/4″ deep.

Both ends of the belt should be mirrored – i.e., pointing in the same direction.
Haha I had to fold the elastic in half to get it to fit in the picture, but you get the idea.

Sew the elastic into place, making sure to back stitch at each end. Again, use tissue paper if you need it!

Sew the button on (as indicated by the X marking on the pattern piece).

And you’re done! Wasn’t that easy? 🙂

Jenny Belt & Turquoise belt

Jenny Belt

Jenny Belt

Jenny Belt

Jenny Belt Tutorial (Flickr Set)
Jenny Belt Pattern

That’s all! I hope this tutorial is clear enough for everyone 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
And, of course… you make your own Jenny Belt, I’d love to see it!


41 Responses to “Tutorial: The Jenny Belt”

  1. Andrea April 17, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Cuuuuute. I think I’ll try this one day. Ain’t chu sweet – thanks for sharing!

  2. Sassy T April 17, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Definitely will be trying this in the future with my considerably larger waist.

    • LLADYBIRD April 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Ohhh if you do, I absolutely want to see it!

  3. Cation Designs April 17, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing! Looks like I need to keep my eye out for extra wide elastic now…

    When I sewed with leather, what helped to hold pieces together was those flippy hair clips that you bend to open. (http://www.sallybeauty.com/contour-clips/SBS-424128,default,pd.html?cgid=Hair15-01)

    • LLADYBIRD April 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Oh yeah, those look like they would work great. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  4. Cynthia April 17, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Rad! Thanks girl

  5. scruffybadger April 17, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Wowee, how cool you are to share such a stylish awesome belt and even explaining how to. Seriously tempted to rush out for some belt raw materials and grow my “sewing now” pile even more!! I’ve loved your recent makes by the way but technology thwarted commenting…

  6. Joyatee April 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    What a neat trick! I love how it looks.

  7. Crystal April 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I was hoping you’d do this – thanks!

  8. zoeope April 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Thanks a tonne, Jenny. Will be making mine soon. Thinking of reducing the size of the button hole though. Will send you a link once done.

    • LLADYBIRD April 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Just make sure the button fits through… the hole should not stretch at all 🙂 Can’t wait to see it!

  9. gingermakes April 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Yaaaaay! Thanks for sharing!!

  10. Susan Davis April 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    You rock! Thanks for the tutorial.

  11. Seraphinalina April 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Very cool, thanks for sharing that!

  12. Rachel April 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    ah, nice one. Thanks for the tutorial!

  13. Andrea April 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Ooooh! Baby jars as pattern weights. Love it! Such a good idea!

    • LLADYBIRD April 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      I LOVE baby food jars! So many uses & they are so tiny & cute ahaha

  14. Rochelle New April 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Soooo cute! Man this must be the week for belt tutorials since I planned on sharing one this week too. Small world! …Jennifer. Not going to pretend like I’m not confused by that. Lauren Taylor Jennifer. OMGWHOAREYOU?!?!!!1

    • LLADYBIRD April 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Hahaha don’t feel bad… the Jennifer confuses everyone. I’ve just always gone by my middle name 🙂
      Belt tutorials are the best! Can’t wait to see yours!

      • Rochelle New April 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

        I totally get it. My brother has also always gone by his middle name. It feels weird to try and call him by his “real” name. Also, I have a really good friend who I always knew as Meredith, and she’s totally a Meredith, but I found out when she graduated that her first name is actually Lauren! I felt so betrayed! Like my whole life has been a lie!! lolz. Nah, it’s cool. I understand there are two named people in this world 🙂

  15. Marie April 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    How generous are you!?! Thanks so much for sharing this you superstar!

  16. tinygoldenpins April 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    You are the best!!!!! I ihad such a hard time trying to make the belt for the Peony dress and have wanted a big one ever since. This is perfect and I can see so many variations on it!

  17. Sarah D. April 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Dear god, lady! How many gorgeous things can you crank out?? Your blog is so awesome!

  18. uglybeat April 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Ack! This is too awesome! I want to make a million! Thanks for a lovely tute.

  19. beklet April 18, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Excellent – I did indeed covet that belt – and now I’ve found something to do with the bag of random leather scraps I found in the spare room 😀

  20. Juliette April 18, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    Hi Lauren (or Jennifer?), this belt really looks great! Thanks for the tutorial! Another thing to add on my to-sew list (As if it weren’t long enough already, especially considering my weak skills as a beginner seamstress. MEH)
    I’ve been following your blog for some time now and I’m always amazed at how quick you sew, and how well-finished your garments always are. Are you some kind of sewing Wonderwoman or just a very organized person? As a beginner, I often see a lot of cools patterns…my sewing list gets longer and longer…and this makes me wonder when I will have the time to sew everything, between my job and the classical household chores.
    I was therefore wondering if you would be so kind as to share some tips about organizing a sewing schedule? There’s at least one (if not many!!!) who would be very thankful if you could do so.
    And apart from that – this is related to a comment you mentioned some time ago – keep talkin’ that talk, it’s one of the things that makes your blog special and fun to read!


    • LLADYBIRD April 18, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Hehe it’s Lauren 🙂 My first name is indeed Jennifer but I go by my middle name… call me whatever you want, though, I’ll answer to both lol.

      In regards to the speed of my sewing, I actually get asked this a lot. I don’t know what to tell you, though – I just kind of blaze through stuff a bit quicker than most people, I think (not just limited to sewing – I’m just an impatient person. I even walk fast haha). It should also be noted that I don’t have kids and while I do work full-time, I never ever take work home. I do have a boyfriend, but he works a couple hours later than I do… so I usually sew until he gets home. And I definitely don’t cook or clean my house nearly as much as I should HAHA. So it’s really less of a sewing schedule and more of “this is all I want to do, ever.” But, in general, I’d say I sew for an hour or two every week day, and then usually a good 4 hour (or more!) stretch on at least one weekend day… sometimes both.

      One important thing I learned is that if you don’t feel like sewing that day, then don’t! Give yourself permission to veg out every once & a while… sewing should be enjoyable, and I find myself always making stupid mistakes if I’m forcing myself to finish something.

      Thanks for sweet comment! ♥

  21. Donna April 18, 2012 at 4:45 am #

    So cool – thank you!!

  22. anastasiawraight April 18, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    I love your blog. Your projects always come out so cute! I’ll have to give this one a try.

  23. shari April 18, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Love the belt! Thanks for sharing

  24. Lynne April 18, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    That belt is gorgeous! Thank you for the tutorial. 🙂

  25. grenouille78 April 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Don’t forget us 1970’s Jennifers! You’re so nice to bestow this tutorial upon us. Currently working on a peasant blouse that I think will look extra groovy with a belt like this.

  26. Jenny April 19, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    well, I think I have to make this. My name is Jenny, although it’s short for Jenilee. Don’t ask me why my parents named me Jenilee yet didn’t spell Jenny with one n and an i.

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      JENILEE! That is an awesome name!

  27. dixiediy April 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    This is great! Thanks for the pattern and tute! I’m excited to try this out.

  28. Tasha @ By gum, by golly! May 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Awesome tutorial! I had a huge fail many many years ago trying to sew through thicker vinyl on my sewing machine so I’m a little gunshy about trying to sew with fake leather, but I may just have to give this a try!

  29. Teresa G. May 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    I searched for belts, ran across this one and fell in LOVE! I am a plus size woman so belts for me are like $35.00 ick! I am happy to say i went to JoAnn’s today and got the supplies for 2 belts and do believe it will be about $10.00 each in costs plus time, and since I love sewing the time is not a problem!
    Thank you so much Lauren for sharing this! It might be a week or 2 before i get to it but when i do i will share with you! Have a great weekend!

  30. Cennetta June 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Super cute. Great tutorial.

  31. nickeya December 24, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    I love this belt I think I am going to make this for new years eve! 🙂


  1. Any progress? « rantygobshyte - April 19, 2012

    […] I Need To Make #1 – https://lladybird.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/tutorial-the-jenny-belt/ I was rather drawn to the turquoise version, but I have that bag of leather scraps I found – […]

  2. Stitching Spotlights 4.20.2012 - April 20, 2012

    […] been fabulous at my prom. ♥ If you’re a belt-ey person like me, you’ll want to make this one from Lauren. ♥ Ever thrift items that are just too short? Here’s a tutorial for how to […]

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