Updated December 28, 2018
Several years ago CP asked me about finding sources to make a belt for a fencer. While I haven’t seen any belts for this specifically, it occurred to me that any stitcher has the resources to make a unique and personal belt for any activity. Although I’m using fencing as an example, you can do this for any activity or event.
What about making a school days belt for a child? Or a swimming belt for a member of the swim team? Or just a memory belt?
This is easier than it might seem because belts are mostly the same size. They are usually stitched on 14 mesh canvas and are 21 stitches wide which, if you think about it isn’t much. Since belts aren’t seen all at once, their patterns repeat, so that also works in your favor because you don’t have to design as much, just repeat what you have.
I can think of two approaches to doing the design. The first is to use words associated with the activity. So for fencing you might use things like touche, parry, saber, epee, and duel. Chart these out in letters about 12-15 stitches high. You could stagger their bottoms so they look less rigid or use different colors, fonts, and other things to make them less dull. While this would be easy to do, you really would need to look at a lot of different alphabet books and sites to find enough letters to make it look interesting.
The second approach would be to chart out, or find, little charts of items associated with the activity. So for fencing, I’d use the different swords and probably a mask and a glove. As long as you keep the width less than 19 stitches (to leave space on either side), you’re fine for the belt. You would alternate the motifs in a regular way. For example, you’d have something like: crossed foils, glove, saber, mask, going the length of the belt. You would leave 7-10 stitches between the motifs.
If the belt is being made for someone specific you could also throw in perhaps a medal, a trophy, or the names of tournaments to make it more specific. You could also combine the two approaches.
When you are out looking for motifs, look for cross stitch charts. Those without partial stitches can be stitched as is for needlepoint. Also broaden your search to find sources that might not be as obvious. For example, the crossed swords might be part of a pirate chart and then you could narrow the blades to make the more like epees, or change the grip to make them like foils. A medal might be found with other sports charts. A ladies glove chart could be lengthened and broadened at the bottom to become a gauntlet and if the fingers were delicate, they could be broaden a bit.