This Week I Love …

… my leather punch.

I thrift most of my belts. This means I get them for bargainous prices, but it also means that I sometimes compromise on fit. And since some belts need to fit closer than others – especially those that are worn at the natural waist versus the wearing waist – some belts need adjusting.

A too-small belt isn’t going to do me much good, but a too-big belt can be adjusted simply by adding additional holes. Husband Mike and I have been using the slapdash method for eons: We take a board, a thick nail, and a hammer. The nail gets hammered through the belt several times on either side until a sufficiently large hole has been made. It’s a fairly frustrating and laborious process. And, as you can imagine, the results tend to look … well, crappy. Not so much that passersby stare at my belts, alarmed and disgusted, mind you. You have to get pretty close to see the crappiness. But it’s there. It’s definitely there.

And then a few months ago, as I was preparing to take a thrifted belt out back for some nail-related punishment, a memory flickered through my ailing brain. It was a memory of this post from the now-defunct Academichic blog. And I thought, “One of those leather punch tools would be a good investment.”

AND IT WAS.

Mine is the one pictured above, and it set me back a whopping $5.81. (It’s a whopping $7.05 now.) It’s simple, effective, and helps me custom fit my belts with virtually no swearing, strife, or jaggedy-looking holes. The tool punches clean, is easy to operate, and includes fittings for belts of six different buckle sizes. I’m absolutely thrilled. And delighted that my days of belt-punishing are over.

Anyone else have a leather punch that gets good use? Would this tool be helpful for you to have around?

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  • http://theemptyshelf.wordpress.com/ Trish

    Hi,

    I also use mine to put an extra hole in shoe straps so I can get a tighter fit. Unfortunately, botched a pair of Vivienne Westwood Dragon Lady shoes the first time I used them, as I did not realise I had to take the catch off.

    Trish

  • http://notdeadyetstyle.blogspot.com/ Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    I don’t have one, but it look like a good problem-solver. My tool-loving husband will want one immediately : >

  • http://www.toomuchcandy.org Anouska

    I have one and use it fairly regularly. My mother had one, and I never even thought about hammering a nail to punch a hole in a belt.
    I’ve lost 20 pounds over the last year and a half, and it’s great to just punch a new hole in a belt and be able to keep wearing it. I’m spending enough on new clothes for my new size as it is! ;)

  • elin

    I love this blog, because I would never think to purchase something like that. But thanks to this post – BAM, I put my order in immediately! Thanks, Sal!

  • Gabrielle

    I have the same problem with shoes. I have narrow feet and often the strap doesn’t tighten enough for comfort. I used to use the hammer/nail method, except I would hold the nail with pliers over a flame until it was red hot. It would sear its way through the leather, making a nice neat hole with one try. The second and much better option I’ve found is a drill. Now I just use my drill, with a tiny bit for shoes and a larger bit for belts. You have to go through from each side to get a nice neat hole, but it only takes a second and is a snap.

  • Mary

    “. . . the natural waist versus the wearing waist”. I would like to know what more you have to say about that. I’ve never heard the term ‘wearing waist.’ I often think that you must have a high waist based on where you put your belts, but maybe that’s the wearing waist and you put them high on purpose. (Ditto for Gracey at Fashion for Giants.)

    Just wondering.

    • Lady Harriet

      I think the wearing waist is actually lower than the natural waist. The wearing waist is generally where your pants stop. The natural waist is wherever you get a dent when you lean to the side. With very high-waisted pants or a person with a low natural waist, pants might stop there, but not usually. Skirts, from what I’ve seen, can sit at either the natural waist or the wearing waist, depending on the style.

  • Anne

    Good golly, is there anything that Amazon doesn’t sell? I just put one in my shopping cart.

  • Diana

    I had no idea this tool existed! It would be really useful to me; I have been known to use the nail method as well as the sharp knitting needle method (even more difficult). ;)

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Sonja

    I have tiny wrists, so I also use mine for the wristbands of watches.

  • http://nuranar.livejournal.com Ginger

    As a small-waister, I used my mother’s all the time. It’s very rare to be able to buy a belt that doesn’t need a new hole. I need to get my own punch!

  • http://www.meganmaedaily.com/ Megan Mae

    We actually have two around the house, but I’ve found it easier to take up belts the “proper” way from the buckle. I also used power tools to do that. >.> I really just try to thrift belts that fit, but I tend to have some good luck.

  • http://www.fabfindsunder50.com Kimberly

    This punch has been a major go-to as I’ve lost some weight and didn’t want to start my belt collection from start. I agree it is a must. A great stocking stuffer for the fashionistas on your list! :-)

  • http://SmithAndDaphne.blogspot.com Kristen

    Oooh, look at that! I just hijacked one of my husband’s old belts (it’s so nicely perfectly distressed!) and was wondering how I was going to punch a new hole in it. To be fair, it already has an extra hole that HE punched in it that looks less-than-professional, but this would be a great tool. I’d be much more willing to buy thrifted belts, too, knowing that I could adjust them easily. Off to Amazon…

  • http://enroutetolife.blogspot.com/ Kelly Blackwell

    I get just about all my belts from the thrift store, and there have been times when I had to pass because…ahem…well, you know. :) This is brilliant. I think I’m going to start a hunt. :) Thanks for sharing!

  • http://fashionforgiants.blogspot.com Gracey at Fashion for Giants

    I want a leather punch so badly! Like you, I thrift most of my belts and having a punch would help with fit. I didn’t realize they were so inexpensive; I’ll have to pick one up.

  • http://viktoriasbookshelf.blogspot.com Viktoria

    I love my puncher, I´ve had it for years. I have mended sneakers with it (and floss), backpacks & other bags, punched holes in shoes to add laces when needed, improvised watchbands, I punch holes for adding poppers into coats with too-large hoods or floppy pockets, and – well, there´s no end to it, really. Only my creative imagination limits the usefulness of this tool. It is much more valuable than the price suggests!

  • LinB

    Looks like a medieval torture device. My dad keeps one in his workshop, for halter/saddle repair. Also useful for re-sizing leather belts for woodworking equipment, if you still use machines from the 19th century.

  • eGFR

    I miss Academichic. It was my “gateway” fashion blog. So additcted now! This tool looks handy and I have agreat need for its service. However I was disuaded by the overwhelming number of negative reviews on Amazon. I am mostly content at this time to take things to my shoe/leather repair gentleman. His work is excellent but it is a bit of a drive and I hate leaving my things for a week. I would love to find a more reliable and sturdier version of the tool you featured.

  • http://MoonshineLeather.com Mildred Melendez

    Very nice! Never did I know that there is something like this! I always have a problem in purchasing belts, either to big for me or too small. Now, I’m glad I saw your blog and I will get one like this! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Cheryl Ann

    My mother-in-law gave me one of these and at the time, I thought “What in the world am I going to do with that?” Well, I sure found out! I love my leather punch and find it extremely handy for refashioning!