Junior Tool Belt Tutorial

If there’s one thing my boy likes to do, it’s to help out! (In as many ways as possible!) Recently, we put together a new play set in our yard, and my little man was all about Daddy’s tools!

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a tutorial for a Junior Tool Belt…perfect for the little handyboy in your house! 

I created this easy-on belt for my son, who has recently taken an interest in all things TOOL. I wanted him to have his own special place to store his gear, and I wanted him to have complete control over all of it…from loading it up, to putting it on and taking it off again. This tool belt fits the bill with an elastic waist in the back, and a removable tool pocket in the front. 

Sounds ideal, right? Not having to stop what you’re doing to fasten/unfasten little dress up parts at the whim of your preschooler (or even, if we’re being honest, your grade schooler)? Yeah it does! Let’s get started! 

We’re going to begin by gathering measurements and materials. 

What you’ll need:

1/2 yard material for belt 

(this is a generous estimate to encompass all junior sizes)

1/4 yard of 2″ elastic 

3″ of velcro

fusible interfacing (for lighter weight fabrics)

regular sewing supplies/notions

Begin by measuring your child’s waist.

*Tip: When measuring your child’s waist, remember that this belt will be worn over clothing. I recommend you measure over the waistband of his bulkiest pants. 

Now, there’s a little math involved to figure out cutting lengths, but trust me…if I can do it, you can do it! 

In my example, we will use a starting waist measurement of 24 inches, and plan for a 1/2″ seam allowance throughout. Also, I have decided I want 5 inches of elastic in the back of my belt (before seam allowances.) 

24″ (waist) – 5″ (elastic) = 19″ (belt material) 

Based on these measurements:

cut 2 pieces of main material, 19″w x 3″l

cut 2 pieces of fusible interfacing, 19″w x 3″l (if needed) 

cut 1 piece of 2″ elastic, 6″w

cut 2 pieces of main material 2″w x 5″l (for loops)

*Tip: Note that an inch has been added on to the elastic cut to accommodate the seam allowance, but not onto the main material cut. Losing an inch to seam allowance on the material will give the belt a snug fit, and keep it from slipping down. Feel free to remove another inch, if you’ve got a junior with an extra slim build.

When the belt pieces have been cut, apply the fusible interfacing as needed.

Before we put our belt together, let’s create some tool holding loops.

Begin by ironing the 2″ x 5″ pieces in half, wrong sides together, to create a crease in the middle (1).  

Open the pieces back up, and refold each edge piece in (wrong sides together) to meet at the crease in the middle (2). 

Fold the piece in half again on the middle crease (3) and (4). 

Edge stitch from top to bottom to hold in place (5). 

Now, let’s place them on the belt. 

A quick way to find the middle of your belt piece is to fold it in half, and pinch it to make a crease. Using that as a marker, measure outward the desired distance (4″ in this example) on either side of the middle, and pin your loop in place on the back layer. Make sure the loop is facing towards the belt so that it will be sandwiched in between the upper and back belt layers. Pin the upper layer to the back layer, and stitch across the length of both the top and bottom widths. Trim seam allowances, and use the open ends to turn the belt right side out. Press the belt. 

Fold back the open edges and clip the corners of the seam allowances. This will make it easier to place the elastic. Turn the edges of the belt in, wrong sides together. This makes a nice folded edge in which to slide your elastic. Push the elastic in 1/2″. You may have to wiggle it just so, but it will fit! Sew it into place using 1/4″ seam allowance, and repeat on the opposite side. 

Top stitch the belt main fabric. 

Ta da! You are finished with the belt! On to the removable pocket!

The space between my loops measured 6″. In this example, I wanted my pocket to be 5.5″ wide x 6″ long. 

Based on these measurements:

cut 2 pieces 6.5″ w x 7″ l (pocket back pieces)

-repeat with interfacing, if needed

cut 2 pieces 6.5″ w x 5″ l (pocket front pieces)

-repeat with interfacing, if needed

Once the interfacing has been applied, lay the back pocket pieces on top of each other, right sides together. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, stitch around the four edges, leaving about a 2″ gap to turn. Clip corners and trim seam allowances. Turn right side out and press. Repeat with the front pocket pieces, then add top stitching on the top of the pocket front piece.

Lay the pocket front piece on top of the pocket back piece. Make sure the gap on the pocket back piece is at the bottom of the pocket. Pin into place. 

Stitch around the three outer sides, beginning at the top of one side, and ending at the top of the other side. 

All that’s left now is to place the velcro! 

Cut two pieces, each 1.5″ long. 

Using the back side of the pocket, place the hook velcro 1/2″ in from the side edges, pin, and sew into place. 

I used those pieces to help me line up the loop pieces on the front of the belt. Pin into place and sew. 

And there you have it! Your very own (I-Can-Do-It-Mom!) Junior Tool Belt! 

Now, your little man can walk around wearing this sweet tool belt and singing Weird Al’s “I’m So Handy” all the livelong day, too!

Happy Sewing!

(This post was previously featured over at Sew McCool.)

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