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Couture Techniques for a Better Fitting Waistband

Photo: Sloan Howard

In this excerpt from "Build a Better Waistband" in Threads #165 (February/March), Susan Khalje shares her techniques and tips on how to add hooks, eyes, snaps, and other small finishing details to achieve a better fitting waistband.

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Orient and secure secondary closures

Hooks and eyes, as well as snaps-often referred to as "findings"-are typically employed as secondary closures on a waistband to augment the primary closure (usually a zipper) and give extra security. Findings should be oriented for the wearer's ease of use and for a quality, no-show finish.

Hooks and eyes, or threads bars, are placed at the waistband's ends. Snaps are placed on the wastband underlap.

Hook-and-eye placement

Your dominant hand makes the motion required to close a garment opening. So place hooks on your dominant hand's side, and place underlaps, metal eyes, or thread bars on your nondominant hand's side.

Snap placement
Snaps help secure a waistband's underlap, keeping it from slipping above the waistband or folding back against the wearer's body. To secure the snap, pushing the ball into the socket is easier to do with the dominant hand. So place the snap's ball section on the waistband's underside, with the socket section on the waistband underlap.

Video: Learn how to attach hooks, eyes, and snaps securely to your garments in this video tutorial from Susan Khalje.

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Comments (9)

stsimon stsimon writes: Petersham is a type of grosgrain with a flexible edge, so it works well for waistbands or wherever you need to apply it in a curve. Delightful stuff! Often store clerks don't know the difference, so look carefully at the edge: regular grosgrain has a perfectly straight edge, whereas Petersham has a more wavy or scalloped-looking edge. If you google "Petersham", you'll get some images you can look at.
Posted: 10:43 pm on December 31st

AWriterInFact AWriterInFact writes: Lovely article, which includes some tips and information new to me.

I've been sewing for about 50 years or so, though, and I've never heard of a "locking stitch". Is that something like a buttonhole stitch? Or a blanket stitch? Is this something I've been doing automatically without knowing it had a name? And what in the wide world is a "petersham"?

"petersham |ˈpētərˌ sh am; - sh əm|
1 historical a kind of heavy overcoat with a short shoulder cape.
• the thick woolen fabric used to make such coats.
2 a corded tape used for stiffening, esp. in the making of belts and hatbands.
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: named after Lord Petersham (1790–1851), English army officer."
- from Apple's Dictionary application

Posted: 9:04 am on January 15th

Sewer2012 Sewer2012 writes: Thanks for the detailed instructions and photos. You wouldn't think there was so much involved, but there obviously is.
Posted: 1:14 pm on January 10th

Sewer2012 Sewer2012 writes: Thanks for the detailed instructions and photos. You wouldn't think there was so much involved, but there obviously is.
Posted: 1:14 pm on January 10th

Sewista Sewista writes: That dominant hand info is brilliant. It is so good to have the couture effect on such small details as findings, something not usually addressed in sewing manuals. Thanks, Susan, and a Happy and Productive New Year to you and all of the Threads staff.
Posted: 8:54 am on December 30th

triangles triangles writes: Thanks so much for including covering a snap with a bit of lining! Sew Simple!!!!! Linda S
Posted: 11:17 am on December 27th

jansquires jansquires writes: I appreciate all of the amazing tips from Susan. She is an awesome and talented lady and always so willing to teach.
THANK YOU and Happy New Year to all of Threads staff and contributors.

Posted: 8:15 pm on December 26th

Meels1 Meels1 writes: I really like the reference to the 'dominant hand' to correctly place hooks and eyes - now I won't forget which goes on which side!
Posted: 6:05 pm on December 26th

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: All the details revealed!!!

Thank you Susan, for this, and all of your contributions to Threads Magazine.

Wishing everyone at Threads, and my fellow readers, an exponentially happy 2013!

Posted: 5:35 pm on December 26th

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