Thursday, February 7, 2013

Artillery Belt

I attempted a post on this a while back - it was a pathetic attempt to be fast and share the pattern. I won't delete it in case anyone perhaps found it and bookmarked it, but I will edit it to include a link to this (hopefully much more useful) post and the other accompanying posts for the holsters.

This is only the post for the belt - but it will be a several-post series to cover the entire project.
After all posts are complete they will be here:
Belt (this one)
Nerf Dart gun holster 
Sword holster

First off - you'll need some stuff:
I've made this twice - the first time I used outdoor canvas - which is so much better than what I used this time - something from my stash - because walmart didn't have the $5 canvas I bought a few years ago (they claim they still carry it) and I didn't want to pay the ridiculous price elsewhere for a toy project.
I recommend outdoor canvas (it's slick on the back), but if you can't find it - then you can use some stabilizer to stiffen up your fabric for the holsters - I'll show you how.

You'll need:

2/3 - 1 yard of heavyweight or sturdy fabric
parachute buckle
strap adjustable slider
thread to match (fabric)
a dart gun, sword, etc...something to use in this!

Useful tools:
Iron/Ironing board (or heat safe surface)
rotary cutter/mat
sewing machine (ok, this is more than useful unless you've got a month to hand sew!)
The basics - scissors, measuring tape, seam ripper, sewing gauge

Go ahead and fold your fabric so that selvage edges are together and  continue folding in this direction until the fabric fits on your cutting mat - then straighten the edge with a rotary cutter. (Don't have one? Draw a line using a straight edge and a book to keep it square to the selvage edge...then save your money and your 40% off coupon and go buy one for your next project - it's super handy!)

Let's start with the BELT.
Go ahead and heat up your iron.

1.  Measure your child's waist. Add about 5" to the length (minimum) to allow for seams and folding through the hardware buckle. Add more if you want room to grow. This is your strap length.

Making it for a gift? Sizing idea: (My son 2 years ago was 29" at age 8. My 6 year old twin girls are now 22 1/2" and 26" - one is a smaller average and the other is probably 90th percentile at every check up...if this gives you an idea for size guessing. The first time I made this it was for my son. This time around, I made the project for their friend's 6th birthday to go with the dart gun they gave him.)

2.  Cut (from selvage to selvage across your fabric - which hopefully is already neatly folder and you've straightened the cut edge of)  a strip 4" wide for waist belt. Then, unfold and measure to Strap length from step 1, and trim the 4" wide piece to that length. Set aside - this is your belt.

  If you want an over the shoulder strap for a sword or bullet pockets, etc - step 3. Otherwise, skip to step 5.

3. Measure from waist on front right over opposite shoulder to waist on back right/center. Add up to 10" to this measurement. This is your shoulder strap length.

4. Again, cut from selvage to selvage across your fabric - again 4" width. This time, cut the 4" wide piece to the length from step 3. This is your shoulder strap.

5. Waist strap first - fold the strap in half "hot dog style" (so it should be 2" wide and still very long) - and iron a crease.

6. Unfold the strap and fold each long edge towards this crease, and iron again - folding and ironing as you go down. Leave a little gap between the two edges that are meeting along the crease.

7. Fold strap in half so that two folded outer edges are on top of each other - strap is now 1" wide and 4 layers thick (and still the same very long original strap length). Iron well.

8. Sew (topstitch) along open edge where folds meet. Sew close to edge.

9. Reverse and sew (topstitch) along the closed long edge (we just want this to match/be symmetrical).

10. Sew any stitch you like (straight, zig zag, other decorative machine stitches) down the middle of the strap. This helps to keep it all together, and makes it stiffer and more strap like.

11. Now, Shoulder strap - repeat steps 5 through 10.

You should now have 2 long straps (probably different lengths) with unfinished ends. Let's fix that.
Open up those packages of hardware.

For the waist strap, you'll need the parachute buckle.

12. For the female side, just thread the end over the outside of the buckle and back through the hole nearest the buckle, then zig zag or serge the end or fold under, and stitch down to strap so that the buckle has only a little wiggle room. (Note - I put this end on the left belt end.)

13. For the male side, (which should also have the 2 holes for the strap to go through),  thread the strap through the hole closer to the buckle from the bottom, then over the bar and back down through the outer hole. (The strap piece that was threaded should now be on top of the rest of the strap.

*Please make sure to check that your strap is flat all the way around and that, as threaded now, your buckle lines up properly (i.e., one buckle isn't aligned upside down on the strap in comparison to the other when you try to put the belt on.)

14. If all is right, zig zag or serge or fold under twice the end of the strap to finish the end of the loose piece. But do not stitch it down to the belt (as you did the other side) because this is your side that will be able to adjust.

For the shoulder strap. (You can skip to the holsters if you are not doing a shoulder strap.)
These directions for putting on the adjustable slider follow the package instructions - however, I have used other metal sliders that are done differently - if you use an adjustable slider, check your package to compare directions.

15. Put one end of the shoulder strap through the first hole of the adjustable slider (I started with the curved end - rather than the straight side, I did this backwards, but whatever - still works), over the divider, and back down towards strap.

16. Finish this end of the shoulder strap (zig zag or serge or fold under) then sew to strap as close as you can.

17. With other end of strap, go up through middle hole, and over divider, then back down through farthest hole. Continue pulling strap through until most of the strap is through the slider, leaving a "loop" below the slider - this loop will go onto the belt and to the back (of the child).

       If you want the front of this strap to stay in place, you can add a strap or some velcro or a button/buttonhole, etc to keep it in place. (You may have to do this before you do step 18. I didn't bother ...just a thought.)

18. The unfinished end of the strap can now be finished (zig zag or serged or folded under once) and looped around front of belt and sewn back onto itself in place. (The front doesn't need to be adjustablet since the back is, but it is a good idea to leave the loop big enough so that it can go over the buckle in case you want to take it off later.)

(please ignore all the loose thread - I'm really sloppy about waiting until the end of my project to trim all my threads...if then) :)

Bullet Pockets (I'm sure there's a better word for that?)
If your bullets are about this size: (and most are)

Then, these directions should fit it just fine.

I've done them two ways - the first way was more work, but allowed for 2 bullets/hole (and you can only fit about 2 pockets on the strap before the pockets start to go onto the child's shoulder) and the second way was quicker and simpler, but it only holds 1 bullet. (I probably could have resized it for 2 but I didn't want to.)

1.  Cut a piece of fabric 3 1/4" tall and 2 1/2" wide. Hem the sides 1/8". Hem the top 1/8" folded twice.

(showing beginning, then sides hemmed, then top hemmed)

2.  Place the rectangle so that it is raw edge (unhemmed) towards the "up" direction of the shoulder strap approximately where you want the bottom of the bullet pocket to be.  (In other words, the bullet pocket is face down with hems showing and upside down on the strap.)

3. Align hemmed sides with sides of shoulder strap.

4. Flatten excess (middle) to create a pleat.

5.  Stitch across about 1/8" away from the raw edge.

6.  Fold the bullet pocket up so that the upper hemmed edge now is towards the "up" direction of the shoulder strap (in other words, the pocket is right side up with raw edges hemmed hiding inside)

7. Align sides of pocket with edges of shoulder strap and topstitch in place. (bottom to top is best).

8. Top stitch along bottom - hopefully enclosing the raw edge, but if not, it's ok.

Repeat for as many pockets as you wish to put on, spacing them to allow for easy bullet loading (into the pockets).

Next up...dart gun holster.

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