Tutorial: How to create a Handmaid’s Tale inspired obi-style belt

This is the fourth post in my series on my Handmaid’s Tale cosplay. See  Why The Handmaid’s Tale ,  Researching the Costume , and Creating the Dress for more details.

Today I’m going to show you how to create my version of the obi-style belt the Handmaid’s wear on Season 1 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. For reference, here is Samira Wiley wearing the belt.

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  1. Measure from the center of your waist to your hip bone, write this down. You want to draw a line this long on your pattern paper.
  2. Decide how thick of a belt you want – I went with 3 inches so that it would be substantial but not too tall. IMG_4304.JPG
  3. Decide how big you want the triangles at the sides to be. I went with 2 inches high. Draw a dot 1 inch over from your existing line and 2 inches up. Connect that to your line.
  4. Now lightly extend your original line by 3 inches.
  5. Draw the other side of that triangle by measuring 2 inches down from the point, making sure it’s on the lightly extended line from step 4.
  6. Measure from your hip bone 2 inches back. Now put your finger there. Measure from that point to the center of your back – at your spine.
  7. Extend your parallel lines by that amount.
  8. You should now have a piece that looks like this!
    img_4308.jpg
  9. Now it’s time to add seam allowances and closure points. Add 1 inch to the back piece. Add seam allowances all the way around – I went with 1/2 inch.
    IMG_4303.JPG
  10. Cut out your fabric + sew together along 1 edge. Iron and turn this to the inside.
  11. Mark your center front. Sew a boning channel at the center by sewing both pieces together. Cut your boning to fit the height of this channel, less 1/4 inch for the top seam allowance.
  12. Repeat this with the triangle areas that go over the hips.
  13. Your belt is now divided into 4 sections – 2 that go from either side of the center front to the hips and 2 that go from the hips to what will become the back opening.
  14. Cut pieces of boning the length of each of these channels. Insert into the bottom, then sew as close to this boning as you can. Repeat until you get 1/2 inch from the top of the belt.
    IMG_4419.JPG
  15. Serge the top and sides of the belt, then whip stitch down to the back side.
  16. Add hooks and eyes to close the belt. You probably want to try on the belt before attaching these.

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Here’s the belt on, for reference:

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