Make a Cinch Belt

This wide belt is a goth remake of the one I wore with my school uniform.  It was made up of a “nurse buckle” and a petersham ribbon.  The ribbon had a section that was stitched on three sides to make a coin pocket next to the buckle – for the lunch money. 

This is an easy project  so long as you’ve got the necessary bits.  The belt can be adjusted to fit over a dress or a coat.  I made it to go with the Simplicity 2305 dress.


You will need:

  • a clasp fastener such as a nurse buckle.  The traditional ones with three circles and holes are ok; vintage nurse buckles from Ebay are beautiful if you’re feeling extravagant, or try Macculloch and Wallis.  Mine is a leftover from an old Mango coat and is for a 5cm belt   
  • a slider in the same size (if you want the belt to be adjustable)
  • grosgrain or petersham ribbon the same width as the clasp and slider  For a small to medium sized belt, you’ll need 1 metre
  • the same length of velvet ribbon (if required) 
  • if the grosgrain would benefit from stiffening, back it up with the a length of fabric (see Step 2 below).  I used needlecord from which I made the dress and turned it so it was against the grain (so the ribbing goes left to right).  My strip was 1m by 8cm: 5cm desired width, plus 2 x 1.5cm seam allowances.

Making up

1 Baste velvet ribbon to the centre of the grosgrain.  Stitch the long sides of the velvet ribbon onto the grosgrain and remove the basting.



2 If you’re using a backing strip, press under 1.5 cm on both long sides of the fabric.  Check that the backing strip is the same width as the ribbon side then pin together.   Stitch both long edges, keeping as close to the edges as possible.  Press, first testing a small area of belt to check for heat tolerance.


3 Baste the short ends of the belt.  Insert belt into the left side clasp/buckle, fold edge under 1.5 cm and press.  Stitch.  On the other side, insert belt into the slider (down then up so that the centre bar doesn’t show on the right side of belt).  Insert the belt into the right side buckle.  Press 1.5cm under the free

end of the belt.

4 Insert the pressed edge back under the slider and towards right side clasp. It’s a tight squeeze but you can stick a pin into the fabric edge and push it under centre bar of the slider till it makes it through the other side, then pull along.


5 Pin the pressed edge onto the backing of the belt and stitch down.  If you find this last step as confusing as I did, get a bra (yes, a bra!) with adjustable bra straps and follow the path of the strap in and around the slider.  It’s exactly the same.

And it’s a cinch!