Updated April 13, 2018
You have just finished stitching your needlepoint belt. Instead of sending it out to be finished you’ve decided to finish it yourself.
There’s just one tiny problem: where do I find a belt buckle?
There should be a simple answer, but it’s a bit more complex than finding a buckle and sticking it on.
The first question to ask yourself is whether you want holes in the belt or not. If you have holes you have a wider selection of buckles. Your belt can be finished like a plain belt, with a buckle that has a prong to go through the holes, below.
Other buckles, that also need holes have a hidden prong in the form of a hook on the back that also goes through the holes, below.
I’ve never seen a needlepoint belt that needed holes that didn’t have a leather end for the holes. That’s probably because you can’t really make holes like that in canvas and expect them to be stable.
If this is the kind of belt you want, send it out to be finished. Sewing leather needs special needles, special thread, and is hard to do (I know my grandfather did this all his working life).
If you want to finish a belt yourself, you’ll want one of two types of buckles.
The first is a D-ring, often seen on web belts, below. They are inexpensive and most fabric stores carry them. They fasten by weaving the end of the belt in and out of the two rings. there are single piece versions of this the have a sliding bar in the center; they are also easy to find. There are also similar buckles where the belt passes through one end and the other end has teeth to grip the belt.
Needlepoint belts finished this way need to be thin or they won’t be flexible enough to wrap firmly. Usually for this kind of belt you would not have interfacing and you would use ribbon for the back.
The other method is to find a buckle that is in two parts. You cannot adjust these belts; the length of the needlepoint + buckle is exactly the length the belt needs to be.
To finish them one half of the buckle is attached to each end of the needlepoint. The two halves click together to make the buckle and fasten the belt, above.
After you’ve decided to finish your belt and you know the type of belt you want, you need to know one more thing: how wide your belt is. Belt buckles are sized to fit belts of specific widths. If your belt is too narrow, it won’t be stable at the ends and will slip around. If your belt is too wide, you will need to crush the needlepoint to make it fit. The result won’t look good.
D-rings can often be found in the notions department of fabric stores. In an independent fabric store with a large notions department you should find additional buckles. Thrift stores and vintage clothing shops are another, and inexpensive, source of belt buckles. If you find a belt where you love the buckle, snatch it up. Cut off the belt and keep the buckle to finish your needlepoint belt.
Internet searches for ‘belt buckles’ will find lots of hook-style buckles. To find a selection better-suited to make your own belts, search for ‘belt buckles home sewing.’
I found an Etsy store, Sewing Supplies by LoraLee, that had many widths and types of buckles for d-ring or Web belts.
Dritz, the notions company, makes several kinds of buckles, including several two part buckles. Because Dritz is widely distributed, your local sewing or quilting shop may be able to order a specific buckle for you.
M&J Trimming in New York City has a huge selection of notions, including many buckles. They have a large part of their inventory in their on-line store.
Finally Etsy and eBay searches can yield lots of unusual pieces, especially if you look for ‘vintage belt buckles’ or ‘two part belt buckles.’