Craft Central: Enlarging a belt pattern

Posted on Feb 18, 2011

Have you found the perfect belt shape to replicate, but the size is too large or too small? It’s actually very easy to fix! Here’s a little tutorial on how to do this in a fast and easy way.

I had to figure this out for myself when a bhuz friend was kind enough to send me a pattern of a belt that she loves. It is based on a Sim costume that she traced. However, this bhuzzer is on the petite side and I am, well, Goddess-sized.  I needed to figure out how to increase the size of the belt to fit me while still keeping the proportions. I did a little research online on how to enlarge patterns and they were so complicated! There was much talk of using grids and rulers and all this other complicated stuff! I thought of an easier way and it worked!

What you’ll need: Either a belt to trace or the already cut-out pattern pieces, large paper or several sheets letter-sized paper, tape, scissors, tailors measuring tape, access to a large format printer (your local copy shop should have one. I went to Kinko’s FedEx), pencil, thick marker, calculator.

  1. If you don’t already have a pattern, trace the outline of the belt you want to copy onto a piece of large paper, or tape several pieces of regular paper together and trace the belt using a pencil. Remove the belt and use a magic marker to trace over the pencil. Make the line thick and as precise as possible. Do not cut this out.
  2. If you already have the pattern cut out, you will have to tape it to a piece of large paper or use several pieces of regular paper taped together.
  3. Now, you’ll need to figure out how much you have to reduce or enlarge the pattern. I am notoriously bad at math (especially algebra), so you might find an easier way. If so, please leave a comment!

    Measure the pattern. I used the upper hip number, by measuring it across the top. My pattern was 35.5 inches long. Then, measure your upper hip. Mine is 43 inches. Then I calculated the percentage difference between the two sizes using this formula: 35.5/43 = x/100.  x = 82.6%.  That means the pattern I have is 82.6% of my desired size. But, I don’t want to increase my pattern by 82.6%! Instead your subtract that number from 100. 100 – 82.6 = 17.4. Now I know that I need to increase my pattern by 17.4%.

  4. Head on over to your local copy shop with a large-format printer (sometimes called over-sized printing). Kinko’s FedEx usually has these. Don’t forget to bring the calculations and your pattern pieces (plus any extra pieces, like medallions or straps, because they need to be enlarged by the same percentage, too.)
  5. Use the printer to resize your pattern. The large printer is kind of tricky to use. I had to get a team member to help me, but here’s what I did: On this particular printer, I only had the option to “scale” by a certain percentage, and because of the way it worked, I actually had to set the scale size to 117.4%. If I had used 17.4% it would have reduced it by that much. Then, I placed the pattern on the printer to scan face down. I had to scan it vertically, not horizontally, because the max horizontal length was 36″ inches, and I knew I needed 43″.  Press print, let it scan, copy and viola!  Repeat the process for each piece. I had a small medallion that needed to be resized, so I just used the regular copy machine for that.
  6. Cut out the final pattern pieces and write the size and date on them if desired.

And there you have it! For less than $3.00 I had a brand new pattern just my size! I can’t wait to start working on this new bedlah set…

Here are some pictures for the visual learners among us:


  1. Great suggestion on using a copier to up-size a pattern!

    I have a correction for the math, though. To get the percentage by which you need to alter the pattern, you should divide the desired size by the original size, e.g. 43/35.5 = 1.211 (121.1%). The formula in step 3 would result in a final upper hip size of 41.7″ instead of 43″.

  2. Thank you, Ainsley. I knew there would be someone out there who knew how to do the math correctly. 🙂

  3. I just received 10 belly dance patterns – Madame X, B. D. Pattern, and a couple others. My group of dancers sport various sizes and this tutorial is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing.


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