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Couture Techniques for a Better Fitting Waistband

Photo: Sloan Howard

Complementary details

There are a variety of small finishing details that further enhance a waistband. Below are three that complement the couture construction techniques explained on the previous pages.

Thread bars
Thread bars are often used in place of metal eyes in couture garments. To sew them, begin with a length of doubled thread that is waxed and pressed. Anchor the thread on one side of the bar's placement, hiding the knot. Draw the thread over the waistband's surface, and anchor it on the opposite side, then return to the first side, anchoring it again. These four thread strands form the bar's base. Use your thumb to hold the thread out of the way, slide the needle under the base threads, and pull it most of the way through. Pass the needle back through the small loop created from underneath, then pull the loop closed. Repeat until the entire bar is covered, sliding the knots down along the base threads so they're closely packed. Secure the thread at the end with a few small, tight stitches.

Sew thread bars using a half-inch stitch. Slide each knot formed down the base threads' leanth, stacking oen on top of the other.

Video: Learn how to sew a thread bar in this video tutorial from Susan Khlaje.

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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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