Custom Tool Belt How To

toolbeltfinal

I wanted a simple tool belt that I could wear working on projects around the house. It needed to be lightweight (that ruled out traditional leather ones), hold all my basic tools, and have a pocket for my phone. I had some nifty vintage floral twill that I thought would be fun, but any medium weight canvas or twill will work. All of the pieces are doubled to hide seams and give it more weight.

Vintage floral twill

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • One 21 x 17″ rectangle to make the main body of the tool apron (all measurements have 1/2″ seam allowances included)
  • One 17 x 14″ rectangle to make the large pockets
  • One 9.5 x 7.5″ rectangle for the upper small pockets and slot
  • One 6 x 6″ piece for the lower small pocket
  • One 2″ wide strip that is long enough to go around your waist and tie. You can piece two strips together if you don’t have a long enough piece of yardage.
  • All the tools that you will carry in your tool belt so you can determine sizes
  • Sewing machine, thread, and basic tools

toolbeltlayout

The first thing to do is to lay out the tools that you want to put into the tool apron. These are the basics that I frequently use around the house. You’ll want the main body to be long enough to fit all of your tools, plus an extra inch on each side. To determine the large pocket size, use a vinyl measuring tape to measure around the tools, leaving ease for each one. My large pocket ended up being 16″, plus 1″ for seam allowances (a half inch on each side).

The two large pieces

To get started, take your two largest pieces (the main body and the large pocket), fold them in half right sides out, and iron. The fold will be the top of the tool belt itself and the top of the pocket. Turn the main body piece wrong side out and stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ opening at the top of each side. Use that opening to turn the piece right side out. You’ll use the opening at the top to put the tie through. In the meantime, turn the corners neatly and press.

Do the same to the large pocket, leaving only one 2″ opening on one side. You’ll end up with this:

toolbeltsecondstep

Next, make the tie. I hate turning tubes, so I always make my ties using the method here. Make one long tie. It will run through the body of the apron and give it more support.

Topstitch around the tie, and run it through the main body. Then you can topstitch around the apron. I stitched at the top and bottom of the tie to hold it into place.

toolbelttiefasten

The next step is to topstitch all the way around the large pocket, stitching the turning slot closed. Now line one edge of it up with the main body and pin it into place. Now you need to start placing your tools to determine the pockets.

toolbeltpocketsizes

Above, you can see that I grouped the tools by size to make best use of space. Also, keep sharp and pointy tools to the sides, so you don’t poke yourself. Pin the pockets in place, and stitch each one:

toolbeltlargepocket

Here you can see the large pockets are stitched at the sides, but not the bottom. Sewing the bottom seam will be the last step. For now, we’ll move on to the smaller pockets at the sides.

toolbeltsmallpocket

The upper part contains a place to slot hang the measuring tape, and an open slot to hang the small cat’s paw (though it is awkward to carry, so I normally don’t use that slot). Below those pockets, I added two small pockets for nails and screws.

Once those pockets are in place and seamed at the sides, you’re ready to sew the bottom.

toolbeltpleats

Form pleats to make the pockets lie flat. Pin them in place, and then sew the bottom seam. You’ll be sewing through a lot of fabric at this point!

Once the bottom seam is done, your tool apron is ready to go! I made my ties long enough to wrap around and tie in front. You could also add a buckle if you prefer.

— Loryn

toolbelt2

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