Introduction: Lace-up Leather Cuff From Old Belt
If you're like me, you'd been wanting a leather cuff for ages, yet you have limited funds, preventing you from buying one. Either that, or You wanted to make one that's a bit more unique. Whichever party you fall in, you can make these leather cuffs with relative ease. You don't even need a whole bunch of expensive leather working tools! You just need an old belt, some easy-to-find (and cheap!) materials, some basic sewing skills, and a good dose of patience!
Step 1: Materials
Leather Belt: I got this from my local thrift store. If you can find one made with real leather, that's wonderful! If not, that's ok too. It will work either way.
Lacing: You can use paracord, leather cord, hemp chord, whatever suits your style! As long as it is relatively strong, it'll work! I'm using something similar to paracord here.
All-purpose thread: Get as close to the belt color as possible!
Upholstery thread: This is a very strong thread used in upholstery, which I think is perfect to use with leather! You can try a different strong thread, but upholstery thread is what I used. It's not as important for this to be the same color as your belt.
Regular needle: Actually, you probably need a whole setof them. There's a chance you may bend one, so having a backup or four is handy! And don't get needles from the dollar store! They're basically junk.
Upholstery needle: These needles are huge, and I mean HUGE! The longest one I have is almost 4 inches long! Perfect for leatherwork!
Lining fabric: In the picture, I have cotton fabric, but I ended up changing it farther in as you'll see. That's because cotton isn't a very good lining for this project. You'll need a fabric that's thicker, yet is comfortable against your skin, because it will be rubbing against your wrist whenever you wear your cuff.
Sewing tape measure: It makes measuring around your wrist a snap!
Awl: If your a crafty person, a simple awl will have quite a few uses! But for this project, it will be used to make the holes your lacing will go through.
Sewing Scissors: You'll have to cut the leather with something! You can also use a knife, or other heavy cutting tool. A pair of scissors from the dollar store is probably not going to cut it (excuse the pun).
Sharpie or other marker(not pictured): To mark where the leather and fabric need cutting!
Patience: You'll see why you need it!
All of these I got from my local Walmart, except for the belt, the fabric (I also got that from my thrift store!), the sewing tape measure (that actually came from the dollar store, the scissors (It was part of a whole bunch of sewing things my mom gave me), and patience (for obvious reasons).
Step 2: Measuring!
First, measure the circumference of your wrist. It doesn't have to be exact, because the lacing will leave the cuff slightly open. But I'd suggest you add perhaps an inch to the measurement just in case.
You also want to measure the width of the belt. This is to help you measure the fabric for your lining, along with the wrist measurement.
Step 3: Mark and Cut Your Materials!
Using your wrist measurements, mark the cutting line with your tape measure, then cut two lengths of the belt with the fabric scissors! Go slow, since you want the cut to be as straight as possible.
Next, use your measurements to mark a rectangle for your fabric. It's probably best to sketch the shape on paper first, then cut it out and use it as your pattern. Also, add at least an inch to those measurements for seam allowance. (I didn't do that because I was too lazy at the time...)
Step 4: Sewing the Seams!
Now it's time to sew the seams on your lining! I assume you know how to do basic hemming, but in case you don't, please look up how to do it online. Measure the pieces of belt side (one on top of the other) against the fabric as you go, to make sure the final rectangle will be the right size.
Step 5: Sewing the Lining to the Leather
Here is where that patience will really come in handy, because this is THE most time consuming step you will take for this project. Ok, so you know the stitching you will see at the edges of most leather belts? You will have to take a needle and your all-purpose thread, and sew through those holes to attach the lining to the leather. Try to find a needle that will somewhat fit through the holes. It will still be difficult to push the needle through, but at least it will be a little bit easier than the huge upholstery needles we'll use in the next steps.
Double up your thread for this, it will make the thread overall stronger! (It also increases the chances of knots however, so watch out!) Start each stitch by inserting the needle, and turning your wrist back and forth as you push, like you're using a wrench. Once at least a forth of the needle pokes through the other side, place the thread holding end of the needle on a hard surface, place two fingers on either side of the needle, and CAREFULLY push down until the needle is almost all of the way through (you probably can't push it completely through this way). From there you can probably pull the needle out completely. But if it still resists, you may have to wrap the needle with something grippy (like something made from rubber) before you pull.
Sew the outer edge of each piece of leather (the edge that lines up with the ends of the fabric) first, then move on to the inside edges. You don't have to use a backstitch like the original stitches. A regular running stitch will do. And it might not look perfect, but if your thread color matches the belt, it will hardly be noticable!
Step 6: Sew Up the Cut Edges!
Break out the upholstery needle and thread! We're going in for the edges! Use the same methods for sewing up the long edges (You don't have to double up the thread for this--I do it out of habit), sewing all the way down in a back stitch. You won't have to worry about the upholstery needle bending, since these guys were made for the tough stuff! But you still have to be really careful pushing them through. Just the thought of getting pricked by it is scary enough!
Step 7: Adding the Lacing!
At last, the final step!
Here we make the holes, and thread the lacing through them. On each end of the leather strips, make two holes, evenly spaced, about 1/2 inch from the edge. This will make 8 holes in all, 4 on each end of the bracelet. First use your empty upholstery needle to make the holes, then thread your chord through the needle and try to pull it through. If you can't pull it through at all, then use the awl to make the hole larger and try again. You may still have to pull pretty hard regardless.
Lace up your bracelet any way you like. I do the classic criss cross, but you can try any other fancy lacing pattern you can find on the internet of things.
Step 8: Final Notes and Ideas
And your done! Not only is this great for cosplay or regular wear, but they might make nice wrist guards (I say MIGHT though. You'll have to test the belt out for yourself to see how protective it will be).
You can add a third or even a fourth belt piece to the cuff, as long as you have enough belt for it! And you'd also have to adjust the measurements for the lining (And add more holes for the lacing as well).
If you want to dress it up a bit, you could sew some pretty buttons on it, or glue some flat-backed gems on it.
You could also add grommets to the lace holes, but I have no idea how to do that, so you'll have to look for another tutorial on that.
If you like this instructable (It's my very first one!), please vote for it in the tandy leather contest! And if you have comments or suggestions, don't be afraid to comment!
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