I’ve been meaning to add belt loops to my Sew Over It Cigarette Pants since the first time I made them. Even though they fit pretty well, the way my body is just means that they don’t stay up properly without a belt. One of the blogs I follow mentioned Mend It May, and that idea has actually worked to inspire me to get some work done on my mending pile. That, and it’s the kind of weather at the moment where these trousers will be useful workwear.

If you have a pesky pair of trousers that slip down, it’s actually very easy to add belt loops without a sewing machine. You will need less than a metre of ribbon and it only takes about an hour.


  • 1/2metre ribbon
  • Lighter or matches to seal the ribbon (optional)
  • Needle and thread

Step 1: Cut your ribbon to length

I made my belt loops the width of my waistband. If you prefer wide or skinny belts, bear this in mind when deciding how long to make your loops. Most pairs of trousers have five loops, two at the front, one at the centre back, and two more at the sideseams, towards the back.

Each loop should be desired length + 2cm

Step 2: Stitch down the bottom half of the loop

Fold over 1cm at the top and bottom of each belt loop. This is what will anchor the loop to the trousers.

Position the first belt loop. You will stich in the fold line of the 1cm allowance you have. I stitched into the line between the waistband and the trousers, for neatness.

If hand-stitching, try to make your stitches small and keep them in a straight line. Use a double thread and do as many stitches as you can for strength. Use a couple of stitches to tack down the extra allowance, as pictured.

Step 3: Stitch down the top of the loop

Repeat step two at the top of the loop. I positioned my extra allowance on the main trouser material, rather than inside on the facing (I did this because that’s how it was done on the jeans I was looking at). Stitch under the loop so that none of the stitching is visible. It’s a little fiddly, but looks pretty good.

Here are the finished trousers, indicating where I placed my loops.