I tried the TK409 girth belt but I found that it was a bit too flimsy for my tastes... I went ahead and made a girth belt that still had the same shape, and look, but was sturdier, and stays in place better. This is a build write up that I normally do when I finish a build like this... just in case I need to make another. I was asked how I made mine, so I decided to go ahead and post what I did up...
This is assuming that you have a basic knowledge of sewing...
The green background is a piece of duct cloth, the red lines are where I have sewn the rope, the yellow are where I folded the fabric over to give the girth belt it’s finished look. The purple lines are where I attached the elastic, to keep it tight around my waist. It looks a bit busy, but believe me, it will work out to a great belt.
This tutorial is assuming that you have the basic knowledge of sewing, while I suggest using a stich that looks something like the picture below, since it will help hide the stiches.
What you will need:
1) Heavy duty fabric .5 a yard (this will give you some extra) I used Duct cloth
2) Be sure to get the same width for the following, I used 1 inch
2) 2 or 3 parachute clips
3) Nylon strapping
3) About 30 to 50 feet of rope (I used a nylon blend, it is originally white, I am spray painting it to get the right color)
7) Candle, and lighter (burning the edges to the nylon will keep it from fraying)
Marker, chalk; some type of writing utensil
9) Electrical tape – it fairly cheap, and good to keep on hand
If you are going to use snaps to help keep the belt up tight on your vest, you will also need
Snaps – I used Dritz 14007, which also requires a hammer
1) Measure the length of your rope that you want showing, I used about 2 ½ feet. Take your tape and wrap it around the area about 1/8 to ¼ of an inch away from your actual mark; tape the other side about 1/8 to ¼ of an inch away from the mark. Your piece of rope should look something like this now:
2) Cut it, and use your lighter or candle to singe the edges just enough to melt the ends, do the same for both sides. Repeat these same steps until you have 14 uniform strands of rope.
3) Take a strand of your rope, and line it on your fabric, be sure to leave about a ½ inch from the edge on the bottom, and leave about 3 inches from on both the right and left sides. Sew the single strand of rope where it has been positioned. Once done it should look something like this:
4) Now that you have your base line secured; take 6 more of the strands of rope that you cut, and line them up like this:
5) Now push your needle up through the rope, once through, push the needle horizontally through the 7 strands. Pull it tight, and push the needle through the cloth. Using the stitch you used in the base strand of rope, sew the other 6 strands to the cloth.
6) I measured with my hand, so about every 3 ½ inches, I repeated the step 3.
7) Once you are done with that repeat steps 2 through 4. Though instead of ½ inch from the bottom, lay out the other 7 strands of rope and mark where the last one is at on the fabric. I removed the other six, while I was sewing the seventh down.
Once you are done with sewing the strands of rope, take the edges of the sides, fold them once, then twice, then fold that over the ends of the rope, like this:
9) Sew this seam down. Then repeat for the other side.
10) I chose to use snaps to help keep my girth belt up, if you so choose to do this as well, I would suggest installing those now. I used Dritz 14007, which came with a tool, and all that I needed was a hammer, once again I spaced them about every 3-4 inches, and hammered them down.
11) Once I was happy with the way it was, I folded the remaining fabric once, then twice, and finally a third time. Since this is a longer seam, and I am doing this by hand, I used pins to pin the fabric in place. Using a whip stich, I proceeded to sew the seam down.
12) Once I was done with that I measured out what I would need for the straps that go around my back, I cut 2 lengths of nylon strapping, and attached them to the parachute clips. I then took them and 5/8 inch away from the top and bottom, using a whip stich, sewn them to the main part of the belt.
13) I then took some elastic about 8 or so inches, and looped it through the other piece of the parachute clip; this will give you 2 layers of elastic, so hopefully it will not wear out as fast. Sew these two 5/8 inch away from the top and bottom, just like the strapping.
14) If you added snaps to keep this up tight next to your vest, take you belt, and line it up next to your vest; be sure to leave some room between your gut plate & girth belt. Once you have it where you want it to stay, turn it upside down, so you’re looking at the back of your vest & your belt. Mark where you have the snaps on your belt through the fabric, to get them lined up so it will sit correctly and straight. Install the snaps.
15) Now is the time to do any weathering, spray painting, or the like to your belt.