What is it?
Belt loops, also called belt carriers, are loops placed at the waistline of a garment to hold your belt in place.
Topstitched belt loop on Robson Coat
Belt loop on Thurlow Trousers
When do you use it?
Sew belt loops on skirts, dresses and trousers that are designed to wear with a belt. Coats and jackets may also feature belt loops to hold matching fabric belts. You can add belt loops to any garment that you want to wear belted. They’re especially useful for garments that have a belt that might slip out of place if there were no loops. Belt loops are also very helpful to hold belts that are worn to cinch the garment to fit in the right place. The only disadvantage to sewing belt loops on your garment is that it may look unfinished to wear the garment without a belt.
How many belt loops to add?
Two belt loops on a garment, placed at the side seams, is the absolute minimum. I wouldn’t recommend that few, however, except on garments for which you want the loops out of the way and not visible from the front or back. At least four belt loops will keep a belt in place on the waistline. Place two on the front and two on the back. Five is a nice solid number of loops for trousers. Place the fifth loop at center back to keep the waistband from slipping down when you sit. You can even add six loops to a pair of trousers: two on the front, two at the sides and two near the middle of the back. It’s completely up to you how many loops to add.
Tips + Notes
- The folded belt loops are faster to sew, as turning the loops takes a little bit of time.
- Double up belt loops for a design detail. Or place pairs of loops in an X formation.
- Cut one extra belt loop in case of mistakes or so you can use only the loops with the neatest topstitching.
- Short on fabric? Make belt loops in a contrasting fabric or choose a color that matches the belt you plan to wear.
How to sew belt loops, folded method
Belt loops are sewn first as one long piece and then are cut into multiple pieces to attach to the garment. Cut a strip of fabric approximately 1½” (3.8cm) wide by 16″ (40.6cm) long. This will give you four belt loops. To make more, add 4″ (10.2cm) to the length for each additional loop. Finish one long edge of this fabric piece with a serger or zigzag stitch.
Fold the strip in thirds lengthwise, right sides out, with the unfinished edge folded underneath.
Topstitch (page link) along both edges of the loop. This type of loop is great for sewing into topstitched garments, like casual pants and jeans. Be sure to match your belt loop topstitching thread to the topstitching on the rest of the garment. Press. Cut into pieces for attaching to the garment.
How to sew belt loops, Turned method
This method is just like sewing a strap. Take your belt loop piece and fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew along the long edge with a ¼” (6mm) seam allowance or use the seam allowance your pattern specifies. Trim seam allowances to ¼” (6mm) if using a wider seam allowance.
Turn right side out and press, positioning the seam in the center so it will be hidden on the underside of the belt loop. Topstitch edges if desired. You don’t have to topstitch this type of loop, which makes this option suitable for dressy garments that have no topstitching anywhere else. Cut the length into pieces and attach them to your garment.
How to attach belt loops
Another method is to turn the raw edges of each loop piece under so that the raw edges meet in the middle. Zigzag across the raw edges of the loop, with the loop pulled out of the way. This will attach the loop to your garment, but there will be extra ease in the loop. Flatten the loop and bar tack (page link) or edgestitch (page link) to secure the other edge.
With a garment that has a separate waistband, the loops will be the most secure if you enclose one end in the waistband seam. This will also hide one of the raw edges of the loop. Before attaching the waistband, pin the loop piece right side down to the garment’s waistline and baste in place. Attach the waistband as usual (page link). For belt loops that are wider than the waistband, stitch down inside the lower edge of the loop before attaching the top edge. Turn under the loose end of the loop, and line up the folded loop with the top of the waistband. Topstitch (page link) or bar tack (page link) in place. Press.
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine