Bellyband tutorial

Bellybands are very easy to make and great practice for beginners. Plus, rescues can always use bellybands for fosters. 

A bellyband should wrap around the dog's groin with overlapping fabric on the top. If you are making a bellyband to fit a particular dog, measure the dog around the groin, then add 4-6 inches to the total. 

The example bellyband below needed to be 22" total. The width should be from 4-6" too. * 

Cut two strips of your fabric. Remember to include 1" for seam allowance on all sides. That means if you want the final product to be 22" long and 5.5" wide, your fabric needs to be cut 23" long and 6.5" wide.

Place the two strips with right sides facing. The wrong side is usually not as bright. Some fabrics have no right/wrong side. 

Cut a strip of batting to the same size as the strips. Batting usually comes in rolls. It's the stuff that is inside quilts. I typically buy batting for baby quilts because it's easier to handle and store.
 Typically, when you sew, you sew the right sides together then turn so that the seams are hidden inside the item. With three layers, this can be tricky. For this project, your first layer should be fabric with the wrong side down. The second layer is fabric with the right side facing the right side of the first layer. The third layer is the batting. 

Sew three sides, the two long sides and one end. To stay within your 1" seam allowance, sew this seam at no more than 1/2".
 Next, cut the excess fabric at the ends to make it easier to turn the corners. 
 Reach inside the bellyband between the two layers of fabric. Pull it inside out so that the right sides of the fabric face out.
 Take something with a rounded edge, like a small seam ripper or in this case, the cleaning brush that came with the sewing machine. Use that rounded edge to push the corners of the sewn end out. 
 Your corners won't be perfectly square. Corners are incredibly difficult to get perfectly square so don't stress about it. 
If your bellyband is kind of puffy at the seams, you can iron it. You'll be oversewing your seams so you want the seams as flat as possible. 

 On the open end, trim off any excess so that you have reasonably even layers. 
 Tuck the layers inside the bellyband. Pin the edges together to keep them from slipping. If your bellyband is a lot longer than you anticipated, you can cut off more excess. You don't want too much excess tucked inside your bellyband though so cut instead of tucking. 
 Sew the open edges together. You can sew over pins. 
 After sewing the open end, turn and oversew the remaining three sides. Sew really close to the edge. 
 Cut velcro. I use 2" wide velcro for pug-sized bellybands. The wider the bellyband, the wider the velcro should be. Longer velcro strips means that the bellyband will fit different sizes. I used 3" long strips so that the bellyband can be used with or without pad inserts. 
 Sew one piece of the velcro on one side of the bellyband. Sew the matching piece on the other side of the bellyband so that when you over lap the bellyband, the pieces will meet. 

This is my first time trying to explain a sewing project, so if something doesn't make sense, please ask. 

* There is no hard and fast rule, but you should reduce the width of the bellyband as the length gets smaller. If you are making one for a Chihuahua, 4" wide would be too much. Same goes for longer. 

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