The way boys play – a utility belt for everyone!

utility belt in action 1_edited-2

Today I want to celebrate the big boy in my life.  Recently he’s been playing lots of imaginary games, which inevitably result in me strapping something to a belt loop or draping something around his shoulders.  Sometimes it’s magic wands, time-turners and deluminators (yes, we’re a self-confessed Harry Potter-mad family), other times it’s lego or army men or swords and shields…sometimes even snacks!

utility belt - still

More out of a desire to make him self-sufficient in this respect than anything else I came up with the idea of a


Making this was great fun because George and I designed it together.  I had it all planned out in my head but then he came along with very specific requests (elastic straps in back for the shields, sword holders on front and back, etc) which made me realise once and for all that I’m not in the same mental place as an 8-year-old boy!

utility belt - back in actionThis version is really just a prototype – there are endless variations depending on what your kid intends to do with it (I’ve seen Margot – 5 – trying to use it for her playmobil until George uses his sixth sense to sniff out the act and swoop in to get it back!).

utility belt blurred in action

This picture just cracks me up – it’s like the army men are actually playing in the game…especially that one popping up with the binoculars!

This isn’t really a full-blown tutorial but here’s a quick run-down of what I did in case you want to try one yourself:

  • You’ll need some heavy home-deco fabric for the main part of the belt.
  • Measure from your child’s shoulder to the opposite hip.  Double this measurement then add about 20cm/8in (to allow for the buttonhole and button).  Mine is a total of 132cm/52in and that fits an 8-year-old boy.  This is the length.
  • The width of my belt was 12cm/4.75in.
  • Cut two rectangles using the above dimensions.  I rounded the edges of the corners (to make attaching the bias easier) and narrowed the section that goes over the shoulder (for a better fit).
  • Now the fun part!  On the right side of one of the rectangles, start sewing everything your little one needs – pockets, zips, loops, grommets, clips, elastic…so many possibilities.
  • Now the not-so-fun part – attaching the bias.  Baste the two rectangles wrong side together, all the way around then attach the bias in your favourite way.  For this I didn’t bother pinning or opening out the bias.  I just slapped it on there and sewed slowly all the way around, bending the bias as I went (it’s a prototype, remember?!).
  • Add a button and buttonhole (or velcro or ties) and you’re done!

utility belt in action 2

Enjoy!  I’m sure the boys (and girls!) in your life will thank you!  Feel free to message me for more detailed instructions.

Laura x

utility belt - back utility belt - front

8 thoughts on “The way boys play – a utility belt for everyone!

  1. Jules

    Can I make an order for Turtlewings? Seriously think how cool it would be to borrow these to every child visiting! Could you make me an offer for say 10 – 30, perhaps two different sizes! How cool!!!!!

    1. laurabehindthehedgerow

      Julie – thanks for the kind words. Let me give your idea some thought. I’m already figuring how I could simplify the whole process (the idea of making 30 is rather daunting, not to mention expensive!). Either way, a lunch to discuss such things would be great!

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  3. Jill Baggs

    Thank you! You have saved me! My little boy (8 years old) thinks I can make anything out of fabric or yarn. He asked for something exactly like this utility belt. I had not idea what I was doing (I rarely do). He is going to be thrilled when I whip one of these up. You have restored a son’s faith in his mother’s magic (I don’t want to break it to him just yet that I’m a simple Muggle).

    1. laurabehindthehedgerow

      You ARE magic – all of us mothers are, right?! So glad this was helpful. Please message me if you have any particular questions about it. It’s fun to make and easy to personalise. Will it be a Christmas present? It would be lovely to fill it with army men or lego or whatever your little man’s into.

  4. Jane Holbrook

    Great concept. I borrowed it for a unisex child’s gift basket-fund raising raffle item. It was a huge crowd pleaser. I had so much fun searching through my craft supplies and creating a special utility belt. It had reflectors, grommets, D rings, pockets, elastic bands, clasps. I attached a little flashlight, a tiny leatherman, some waxed cord… Thanks for the idea.


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