Updated December 14, 2021.
A reader of this blog asked a question about making a belt. She wanted to know where to buy the supplies and about finishing.
When you are planning on stitching a belt your local needlepoint shop will be your best resource.
If you are designing the belt yourself, you will want to buy blank canvas. When you do this be sure to tell them it is for a belt, so you get a canvas that is long and skinny. Not all shops normally cut canvas this way, that’s why you should ask.
You’ll want the canvas to be 4-6″ wide and at least 40″ long. Although you can buy canvas that is 54″ long, most shops don’t carry it. A 40″ length of canvas will have a stitched area 36″ long. The additional length of the belt is done from the leather ends. 54″ inch canvas would have a maximum stitched length of 50″.
If you want a belt that is a painted canvas there are literally dozens of companies that make these and hundreds of designs. Although sometimes shops have belt trunk shows, your best bet is to look at different canvases on the designers’ sites. Once you find some belts you like, contact the shop to see if they have them or can order them. Be sure to get the price, so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised.
Typically canvases ordered from a designer take 6-8 months to be delivered, so expect that.
Because belts get lots of wear, use sturdy threads (wool or pearl cotton is best) and shorter stitches. Also, although some shops no longer recommend this, finish the edges with the Binding Stitch. The edges of the belt get the most wear, so the double layers of this stitch are important.
Virtually all shops send their belts out to be finished by companies that specialize in making belts. Leather requires special tools and techniques to make a good finish.
Many companies that finish belts also have helpful information for you as a stitcher on their sites.