Last month, my online friend Tom asked me to try a new style: a ranger belt. Ranger belts differ from "normal" belts in that billets are stitched onto the belt ends.
I bought some really nice English bridle leather, and also some decent belt leather straps from Tandy Leather, and decided to make myself a belt as a practice. That was a good choice.
What I've learned:
Overall, belts can be very hard. Trying to make a straight line for such a long strip can be challenging. Being off by a fraction of a degree at the beginning can lead to an awkward end, and the size of your workspace and the length of your arms can be problematic.
Hand stitching a belt is time-consuming. At this point, I'm definitely in it for the meditation, not the money (and I do actually enjoy it quite a bit).
Hand-stitching takes time to learn. I'm trying to get a more solid pattern out of the saddle stitch, an angled look to it, and it takes a certain technique.
I always need to go just a little bit slower.
Here's my first creation, almost completed (I added a belt keeper):
Now, it's time to make Tom's belt. The leather is nicer than the Tandy leather shown here, but really, I'm impressed with the Tandy straps, too.