How to Adjust the Length of a Leather Belt

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Leather belts are made to be adjustable, but this only works within the size range of the belt's length and buckle holes. Luckily, if you've purchased a belt with a style that you love but a size that's rather on the large end, trimming down the length and making new buckle holes is a relatively simple matter. Use a few basic leather working tools and supplies to make your belt the right length.

Things You'll Need

  • Dressmaker's chalk
  • Leather shears
  • Leather punch
  • Fine sand paper
  • Cotton swab
  • Black or brown leather dye

Wrap the belt around your waist to measure the length and determine how much to trim off the end. Secure the end of the belt through its buckle, then stretch the end around to your hip. Use chalk to mark where the end of the belt lines up with your hip bone.

Cut the belt as close to the point you marked as you can without cutting through the middle of an existing hole. If the line you marked falls close to a hole, move to the nearest point between two holes (err on the long side, not the short) and cut there.

Shape the end of the belt into a wide point using the scissors. Soften this shape by rubbing it with sandpaper. If you like, also use the sandpaper to taper down the blunt, cut end to a more narrow edge.

Check the leather punch against the existing holes on the belt (if any are left) to find which setting is the closest in size. If necessary, punch a piece of scrap leather and compare the holes to those on the belt.

Mark the belt with small “X” marks in dressmaker's chalk to designate the location of the holes you plan to punch. Measure the locations for these based on the distance between the existing holes (or the holes that were on the portion you cut off). Add enough holes to span roughly a quarter of the length of the belt.

Punch holes in the shortened length of belt using the hole punch.

Dip a cotton swab in leather dye and rub it over the trimmed edge of the end of the belt. Avoid getting dye on the top or bottom of the belt, since the color probably won't quite match and the difference will be apparent in these locations.

Let the dye dry according to manufacturer's instructions. Rub the end of the belt with a dry cloth to wipe away excess, dried dye and prevent it from rubbing off on your clothes.

References

  • "Leatherworking Handbook: A Practical Illustrated Sourcebook of Techniques and Projects;" Valerie Michael; 2006
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