Crafting a Viking-inspired belt

Home-made leather belt - more to come on this in a later post!

Home-made leather belt for my Viking costume

So, with a sewing table kind of full of things, it’s a lot easier to focus on some of the small elements instead for this costume, so my next project was the belt. I have a ‘tablet weaving’ belt from another SCA costume that I could wear, but while I was at Tandy Leather I picked up some leather (1″ wide latigo)  for a belt as well, and thought it would be nice to make this up too.

I started off with the reference photos from costumes I’d seen before (read back to some of the other Viking garb posts) and figured that I wanted to do a single -ring belt style. Now, I read that women’s gravesites weren’t found with buckles (where men’s gravesites were) suggesting that women wore tied belts instead of those with metal buckles, but I still like this idea…

Selected belting from Tandy Leather

Selected belting from Tandy Leather

My leather is just the 1″ latigo, which comes really long – plenty to go around my waist and allow for part of the belt to hang down.

Testing out the design using woven trim

Testing out the design using woven trim

Next I grabbed a ring and some leftover trim (very much like the mock-tablet weaving of my other belt) and tried out a few options – aiming for something that could be tightened, done with relative ease, and wasn’t too bulky.

I fussed around with this for a while, using a pin to substitute in for the rivet that would hold the leather, trying on the belt and seeing how knotting it could work.  I left the belt mock-up in this configuration until I could make up the real thing… just in case!

Next I had to break down the latigo, so it would hang better. When I got it it was VERY stiff, and wouldn’t bend/knot in the way that I wanted, so I just worked the leather by hand over and over (while watching TV) to break it down a bit.

Carving the edges, and the back of the 'buckle' area thinned down

Carving the edges, and the back of the ‘buckle’ area thinned down

My next step was to shave down the fold where the belt would attach to the buckle.  At first I thought I would be able to use long rivets and keep the thickness of the belt itself, but after I took this photo I ended up shaving down the whole fold. The latigo is pretty thick, so there was a lot to work with.

I also used my Speedball art lino cutter to trim down the sides of the belt, adding a bit of decoration.

From there I just folded the belt around the ring, marked and punched holes for the rivets, and set the rivets to attach the ring to the belt.

The finished product (on my dress form)

The finished product (on my dress form)

More to come soon!

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