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Bronze leather obi belt

23 November 2010, 15:24

When I was in NYC on our honeymoon, I went a bit mental in Global Leathers and I found this awesome bronze leather with a black suede reverse in their scrap bin for $10! Steal! It was plenty big enough to make this obi belt, and I reckon I’ve got enough leftover to either make this again as a gift, or make a ruffled wristlet for me..

Cidell, Ghainskom, and Dawn have all already made BWOF 06/09 #151 ages ago and I’d kept this in the back of my mind since I saw theirs. This is the perfect pattern for this leather because not only do you get to see both sides, but it’s fully reversible, too!

Here’s some detail shots of just the obi:

This was by far the quickest and easiest leather project I’ve ever made so it’d be perfect for beginners, especially since you don’t have to worry about fit issues considering it’s an adjustable belt! Lauriana posted some great leather sewing tips a few weeks ago, but there’s really not much to be scared about – leather is one of my fabourite fabrics to sew!

On this belt, Burda’s instructions are even sparser than usual, but when they say to topstitch the entire outside edge, listen to them – it really needs this topstitching to not stretch out out of shape. I’m really glad I didn’t take a shortcut and omit it!

I’d already worn this once to work by the time we did this photoshoot, and to be honest, I’m not totally in love with this. I don’t have any wide RTW belts, either, so maybe it’s the style rather than this one in particular, but this obi belt tends to wrinkle and bunch up a bit during wear. I don’t think I’m particularly short-waisted (high waisted, yes!), but to me this just seems like it’s too wide to really sit perfectly throughout normal movement. I’ll resist the urge to put boning in, though (my usual fix when garments bunch up and wrinkle where they’re not supposed to)!

(The dress pictured above is the bamboo wrap dress I made three years ago! The dress isn’t normally this wrinkly but I’d worn it earlier this week and hadn’t hung it up properly afterwards…)

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  1. Very cool pieces together! I agree, though, about wide belts – it frustrates me when they wrinkle or curl as I am a bit short-waisted. Would it be tricky to keep the belt adjustable if boning were added? Maybe not. I think it looks great with the wrap dress.

    — M Kate    Nov 23, 04:49 PM    #
  2. It’s great. I’ll have to look at the pattern as I bet that my dd would love one.

    Nancy K    Nov 23, 04:56 PM    #
  3. It’s a great pattern for such nice leather but I know what you mean about obi’s and wide belts. I noticed the wrinkles and I remember trying on obi-like belts myself. And never buying or making one.
    I think it’s all about body shape versus belt shape. In a real Japanese kimono-outfit (which is where obi’s come from, after all) the wearer’s body is sometimes padded at the waist to look cilindrical. Making the wide straight obi a perfect fit. Most European women are a lot curvier than the Japanese anyway and we want to wear an obi differently (although our “fashion-obi’s” are quite a bit narrower than the real thing, I’ll admit). If I were to make myself a wide belt, it would be a shaped one. Either “corset-light” or somehow curved or draped to match my body shape.

    P.S. Oh, and thanks for linking to my sewing tips

    lauriana    Nov 23, 05:07 PM    #
  4. Would it work better if it were two layers of leather or would it just be too thick to wear (or sew)?

    — JenL    Nov 23, 08:21 PM    #
  5. It looks great. But I believe that wide belts aren’t compatible with sitting.. That is, you can wear an obi only if you sit on your heels with a straight back like a real Japanese woman. Otherwise, you’ll get wrinkles. And worse if you aren’t very thin around the waist.
    Looks great though :-)..

    — Marie-Christine    Nov 24, 11:22 AM    #
  6. Wow, you’re lucky to get your hand on such a special leather! Lovely!

    G    Nov 25, 10:15 PM    #
  7. Nice belt. I like it – especially in combination with this dress.

    senaSews    Nov 29, 01:50 PM    #

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