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How to Make a Striped Origami Belt

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When you open and angle the folds, the stripes in the fabric create a kaleidescopic effect.

The SewStylish Summer Fashion 2012 issue features a “Fast and Fabulous” tutorial for making a folded fabric belt. The Origami Belt features a front panel with a series of vertical and diagonal folds. Stripes are a super-hot fashion trend this season, and if you make the Origami Belt in a striped fabric, the folds create an amazing geometric pattern. It may look complicated, but it’s very similar to making the belt in a plain fabric and really just as easy. The folds and stripes do all the work of creating what just looks like a complex design. You’ll need a little more fabric for this version, 1 and 1/4 yards, but it is enough to make two belts.

Buy your copy of SewStylish Summer Fashion 2012 now!

Shopping List

  • 1⁄2 yard crisp fabric
  • 2-inch by 18-inch quilting ruler
  • Air-soluble fabric marker
  • Glass-head pins
  • Loop turner
  • Sewing machine and basic supplies


  • 1 yard fusible interfacing

Begin the belt by making a long tube from three fabric strips. In striped fabric, you must plan the strips so that the stripes are A) centered within the strip and therefore the belt center, and B) matched from strip to strip. Then fold a tube section into a design that is stitched and pressed in place.

1) Cut or tear the fabric into three 5-inch-wide strips. For the plain version of the belt, the strips are cut cross-grain. Most stripes, however, run with the grain. Center the stripe or stripes within the each strip, or match the stripe placement from strip to strip. Each strip is 44 inches long.

2) Connect the strips. With right sides together, sew two strips together along the short ends with a 1/2-inch seam allowance and matching the stripes. Sew on the third strip in the same manner. Press the two seams as sewn, and then press them open. The single strip is 130 inches long.

3) Turn the strip into a tube. Fold the strip in half lengthwise with right sides together. Align the long raw edges and press. Sew 1/2 inch from the raw edges.

Press the long seam as sewn. Center the seam on top of the tube and press the seam allowances open and the tube flat. Turn the tube right side out with the loop turner, then press again, with the seam centered on one side, and the stripe or stripes centered on the other side. It’s more important to center the stripe than the seam, so concentrate on that.

From here on, follow the instructions below from SewStylish Summer Fashion 2012 to mark the folding lines on the belt and press and stitch the folds in place. When you open and angle the folds, the stripes in the fabric create a kaleidescopic effect as seen here.

5) Mark the folding lines. The belt’s center section, between the strip joining seams, becomes the origami portion. Using a gridded cutting mat or ruler, start 1 inch from a seam and mark lines across the belt’s width at 2-inch intervals. The last line you draw should be close to 1 inch from the other joining seam and within the center strip.

6) Use the marks to guide your folds. Follow the folding diagram below to create the pattern shown. Pin each fold carefully with a glass-head pin. Folds are flat and parallel at this stage; after stitching, open them at an angle for an origami effect. A tiny box pleat adds volume beneath the pleats that meet at center front. 

7) Press the folds firmly, and then move to the sewing machine. Stitch through the folded section along the belt’s lengthwise center. Backstitch thoroughly over the first fold, and stitch slowly. Remove the pins, and make sure the folds stay in place as you proceed. 

8) Open and angle the folds. Press the new folds, but don’t iron them flat-you’ll have more of a three-dimensional effect if the folds have lift.

9) Finish the belt ends. Tuck in each end 1⁄4 inch and press firmly. Stitch 1⁄8 inch from the end. You’re done, ready to wrap and tie.

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  1. cathy7 | | #1

    What a clever IDEA. Love the look. Thans

  2. LaurieDiane | | #2

    I'd love to try this! is really cool looking. fun as a pillow detail...purse...lots of great applications for this!

  3. nani | | #3

    Looks like fun! In the lower left of the blue and green belts, a bit of the bottom peeks out as a triangle, but it is not that way in all the other folded thingys. Why is that?
    Thank you so much for posting this tutorial!

  4. User avater
    eatsallinsects | | #4

    I would love to see the finished product on a model?

  5. user-3072817 | | #5

    Need another picture of the folding. I just don't see what you are doing.

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