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 Another Girth Belt Post

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Another Girth Belt Post
« on: May 30, 2021, 01:53 PM »
:boba: Su'cuy ner vode! :jango:

So, I've been slowly working on the soft parts of my first kit, and the first piece I completed was my girth belt.

When I started planning, Speeps' girth belt tutorial (seen here: http://mandalorianmercs.org/forum/index.php?topic=191936.0) popped up near the top of my google search, and was the inspiration for where I started my build.

I ended up going in a different direction, and the differences in our approaches is what inspired me to actually make this post and not just lurk on these forums.

Equipment I ended up using first:

1) ~200ft of 325 paracord (and the biggest reason why our builds ended up differing)
2) Knife
3) Cutting mat
4) Lighter
5) scotch tape (for temporary aglets) (a special thanks to Phineas & Ferb for making sure I never forget that word)
 
6) scissors
7) zip ties
8) quick release belt clips
9) tri-glide buckles
10) 3' nylon webbing
11) needle & thread
12) tailor's measuring tape
13) ironing board

So, since I live in an apartment, I couldn't set up a nice frame like Speeps did to keep the paracord taut. Instead, necessity and invention and all that, I pulled the cover off of my ironing board, and used that, securing the belt ends with zip ties:



Now, you'll see a bit of the difference between my and Seeps' belt already kinda spoiled, but I'm getting there, I promise.

The biggest difference, of course, between Seeps' 550 paracord and my 325 paracord is the diameter. Not gonna lie, the biggest reason I went with the 325 cord was I had a giant--censored- spool of it laying around. But that meant I ran into... frustrating difficulties as I attempted to follow his tutorial. The smaller diameter meant more loops through the belt buckle ends, which led to inevitably losing track of which threads were going up and down.

The other part that made it difficult was there wasn't enough space underneath the loops of paracord to comfortably adjust the up and down strands. So...


It's at that point, after much discussion with my wife, we decided that we'd take some inspiration from another source: macrame. And thus, the idea to braid the strands was born.

So, into the build:

1) Measure yourself. I'm a fairly slender dude, and have a 30" waist. Leaving room for the nylon webbing in the back, we allowed for 24" of paracord final length.

2) We did a couple of test braids to figure out the length. Started with 2 strands of 48" long, which ended up being not quite long enough to reach the final length needed of 24". 51" or so for each strand ended up being just right. If you end up doing something like this for your girth belt, cut a couple of strands, and then braid them to figure out the best length.

3) Get the ends of your paracord strands together, and then attach them to one end of your hardware in a cow hitch, like shown below:



4) We got 10 hitches on each of the 4" hardware. Start your braiding. My wife ended up doing most of this while I was working. Braid each set of ten hitches from the outside in, for reason's I'll get to in the next point. Start braiding; from the outside in, you'll start with two strands from one hitch, plus one strand from the next hitch in line to do a three-part braid, then the spare, and the two from the next, et cetera. When you finish the strand, I just put a loose overhand knot in it to stop the braid from unraveling.



5) When you get to the center of the belt, you'll end up with two loose strands on each piece of hardware. You'll need to do a four-part braid here, which will join the two halves together into one belt. Here's a decent tutorial on a four-part braid (for hair, but hey, it's got the technique: https://therighthairstyles.com/four-strand-braids/)



6) After finishing the braids, you've got to now attach the other end of the hardware. I ended up by going with a backbraid. First I taped up the ends of the strands with scotch tape in quick and dirty aglets to make feeding them through the hardware and braids easier.



7) Again, I worked from the outside in on each half. I made sure I pulled each strand tight as I worked it back through the braid. I used a chopstick when necessary to open the braid enough to get the aglet and paracord through.



IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: I made sure to end my backbraid on the underside of the belt. This way, you can melt the ends, and it won't show, because the melty black bits are against your body.

6) Again, working with the four-part braid, loop two strands back through each side of the hardware, and then do a four-part backbraid through the strands, completing making the belt a single piece.



9) Trim any longer than necessary paracord strands and remove the tape, then take your lighter and melt the hell out of those ends, making sure you melt and press it into the backbraids. This will help ensure they stay in place.

8) After the braiding was done, it looked good, very similar to Boba's classic girth belt, but due to the size of the paracord, looked a little light and loose. It's at this point we decided to go back and revisit the weaving idea that Speeps' belt has.

9) Exactly like in Speeps' tutorial, get a good length of paracord wrapped around a shuttle of some kind. I made my shuttle out of a piece of cereal box cardboard. Just cut out a little "V" from each end and wrap your paracord around it.

10) Tie off the loose end of your shuttled-up paracord to one of your pieces of hardware and make like Hugo, and get Weaving. The biggest benefit I found to braiding the strands and tying them off first as opposed to Seeps' looping method is that the warp threads (the long ones that run between the hardware) are on a single layer, as opposed to having the two layers that the looping of them creates, which makes keeping track of whether they are up or down A LOT less straining on the eyes and brain.



11) Use a chopstick, or something similar to manage the switch between up and down, then another to make sure the weft (the paracord you've got on the shuttle going back and forth) is pulled tight against each other. Keep going until you're done. Then, once again, tie it off and melt the paracord to seal.





12) As I'm writing this post I realized I completely failed to get photos of this part of the process, but it's finishing off the back of the belt with the nylon webbing. Thread your needle. I ended up hand-stitching the nylon webbing because our sewing machine just wouldn't be powerful enough to get through two layers (or more) of the webbing. Start by giving yourself at least 2" of extra as you loop  the webbing through the other end of the tri-glide buckle, with the short end on the inside of the belt. Start by stitching near the tri-glide buckle, almost the full width of the nylon, then continue stitching about 2-3" away from the buckle, then down the edge and back, all through both layers of webbing. For extra strength, then sew a "X" pattern inside the rectangle you just made with your thread.

13) Repeat for the other tri-glide buckle and webbing. Use your lighter to singe the edge of the webbing after trimming it down, if necessary.



14) work your loose end of the webbing through the quick-release buckles, and then do a folded loop. Trim the webbing to equal lengths first, of course. The loop forms a nice stop which will help prevent the nylon webbing from leaving the quick-release buckles.



And that's it, that's the belt (minus any weathering) done. After I finished, I found that when pulling the belt tight enough to sit comfortably, I had enough spare length on the nylon webbing that I could tuck it inside the tri-glide buckle, and have the paracord and tri-glide buckle hold the loose end up without any need of creating an elastic keeper to keep the ends from dangling. You may need to make a keeper if your nylon webbing ends up being a bit shorter than mine.



Here's a shot of the belt on me:



And a shot of the three parts of my belt kit: leather obi, girth belt and gun belt:




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Re: Another Girth Belt Post
« Reply #1 on: Jun 12, 2021, 07:27 PM »
This is amazing, well done indeed vod. I might have to try this for another kit down the road! Great tutorial.

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Re: Another Girth Belt Post
« Reply #2 on: Jun 14, 2021, 12:18 AM »
This is amazing, well done indeed vod. I might have to try this for another kit down the road! Great tutorial.

Thanks for the kind words! I had a lot of fun figuring things out.

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