How to make an OBI Belt aka Japanese Sash

obi belt sewing


An Obi belt is a Sash belt, traditionally used to tie around Japanese Kimonos, called the Kimono Obi belt. Today, in modern usage, it is a versatile, waist clinching wrap around belt that you can wear with any of your dresses. You can also wear it with coats, cardigans, tops and tunics.

This wrap-around belt gives you a good silhouette because of the way it emphasizes your waist. As it sits at the smallest part of your torso, it makes your waist seem smaller than it is.

There are many ways to wear an obi belt. But the usual way of wearing it is to take it around the waist twice and then tie it at the front or side in a bow or knot. This long and broad sash around the waist can make any dress look the best.

How to make an Obi Belt

Traditionally Obi belts can be as long as 150 inches – I am talking about the Japanese sash belt. But how long you make it for yourself is your own preference.

For a small person, you can make the obi belt as small as 70 inches long. A medium-size person ( with a waist of 30 inches) can do with a length of 88 inches. For a Large size person, you can make the obi belt 100 to 110 inches long. This length will also give a good long bow length for the medium-sized body.

Obi belt pattern

wrap around obi belt sewing tutorial

You need 2 pieces ( front piece and back piece) for the center part, and 4 pieces of sash (front and back for both the sides).

If you want a smaller width you can change the dimension of the centerpiece to 4 inches and then cut the sides as 2 1/2 inches.

Take the center pieces, fold by the center and cut the ends as in the picture below.

diy obi belt

Cut the ends of the 4 sash fabrics diagonally as in the picture below.

diy obi belt

Basic obi belt -Diy Sewing tutorial

Step 1 

Cut out the pattern pieces as per the pattern for your obi belt.

You also need interfacing – medium weight interfacing for your medium weight fabric. You can fuse the interfacing to the front piece of your central fabric.

kimono obi belt

Though I have not done it, it is recommended to trim the seam allowance from the  interfacing if you want your belt to turn smoothly after stitching the seams. 

Step 2

Assemble the pieces.

kimono obi belt diy pattern

Sew the front pieces together – center piece and the sash are joined.

Sew the back pieces together the same way.

Step 3

Join the front and the back.

obi belt pattern

Keep your front and back pieces together, right sides to the inside. Sew these together on all side. Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance for this. Leave 5 inches unstitched along the center piece.

Clip the seam allowance all over every 1/2 inches along the center piece.

Step 4 

Turn your belt rightside out through the unstitched hole.

how to make an obi belt

Press nicely. Press the seam of the unstitched portion to the inside.

Step 5

Top stitch the belt – along the center piece (effectively closing the unstitched portion)

obi belt pattern

You can tie the belt around the waist, bring the sash to the front and tie a bow near the middle.

obi belt diy pattern

You can tie the belt around the waist, bring the sash from both the sides from the back to the side and tie a bow there.

diy obi belt

Another way to tie is to bring the sashes to the front, cross them at the front and then tie them at the back.

obi belt

You can make many variations of this belt – Pleated ruffles obi belt, Shirred/ruched obi belt, sequin or bead embellished obi belt, 2 color obi belt, Narrow tie obi belt, obi belt with piping along the top and bottom edges.

Related posts : 25 different types of belts ; How to sew a bow belt ; How to sew fabric belts.


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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