How-to: Make an Obi Belt from an Old Pillowcase

how to make a belt

Spring is heeeerrreeee! That means flirty spring dresses, and for me nothing spices up a cute dress like a sassy belt. This belt is my solution to a thrift store dress that had a lot of potential but needed a lot of love to go from frumpy to cute. I tried taking it in, shortening it, and even adding giant buttons, but what this dress really needed was a big, wide belt to fix the silhouette. A pillowcase to the rescue!

Of course, you don’t have to make this belt out of a pillowcase, if you can’t find a good one at the thrift store. Dive into that fabric stash instead, or choose some other sort of fab fabric if you prefer. You can also alter this tute to make a narrower belt, if you don’t like the obi look.


  • Pillowcase
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Straight pins
  • Iron


1. Measure your waist.

2. We’ll start by making the front panel of this belt. Cut two rectangles out of the front of your pillowcase that are the length of your waist measurement minus 4″ and 4.5″ wide. So, if your waist is 30″, you’d cut two 26″X4.5″ rectangles.

3. Place your rectangles right sides together, and press with your iron. Then, fold them in half lengthwise, and use your scissors to round the corners. You should be left with something that looks like this:

belt rounded corners

4. It’s time to sew! Use your machine to sew around the edges, but leave a 1.5″ opening on each skinny end:

open end

5. Now, flip your front panel right side out, tuck in the unfinished edges, press again, and set it aside.

6. It’s time to make the straps! One of the things I love about working with a pillowcase is that it’s so easy to make straps out of that folded bit at the open end. To make your straps, trim that part off, then cut yourself two rings that are 3″ wide. When you cut away the remaining seam on your pillowcase, you’ll be left with two long, skinny strips that are perfect for making straps.

7. Take one of your skinny pieces of fabric and fold it in half right sides out, so now it’s 1.5″ wide. Open it up again, fold the unfinished edges in toward the center, and press. Your strips will look like this:

making straps for the belt

8. On one end of that strap, fold in the narrow, unfinished edge, then fold your strap back down that first seam your ironed (still right side out), press one more time, and pin.

9. Use your machine’s straight stitch to sew along the edges you just folded over with a 1/8″ seam allowance. Repeat steps 5-8 to make the other strap.

belt pieces

10. Press the front panel again, then tuck your the unfinished ends of theΒ  straps into the openings on either side, arranging them so that they are the same length. Pin them in place.

11. Top stitch all the way around your front panel to secure the straps in place.

how to make a belt
12. Iron your belt one last time to set the stitching, and you’re ready to rock!

3 thoughts on “How-to: Make an Obi Belt from an Old Pillowcase”

  1. Pingback: Make an Obi Belt from an Old Pillowcase | Glue and Glitter

  2. Pingback: How To Obi Belt | Adsense

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