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How to treat waistbnd on stretch fabs?

kjp | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Wondering how you all treat waistband when sewing with stretch fabrics.  What interfacing? Does anyone use any stabilizer or bias tape?  I’ve done different things depending on the project and I’m not sure I’ve found the best way!  Sometimes I have too much stretch and sometimes too little!  I’m not sure taking apart ready-to-wear will help too much as I haven’t found the perfect pair of stretch pants yet.

Love to get input from all of you!  Thanks, Karin


  1. sewpro | | #1

    My current favorite method is this: Cut waistband 1.5" longer than waist and 2.25" wide. Stabilize waist of pants with seam tape- I like rayon tape from SOLO-cut 1" longer than desired finished length, so you have 1/2" overhang at each side of zipper. Attach waistband to pants waist with a 5/8" seam. Trim to 1/2" (or 3/8" if you want). Now press seam toward waistband, fold at top edge and press. Press under back side edge and stitch in the ditch. I like to butt the edges and either apply an invisible zipper through the waistband or use a large hook and eye. This gives you a small, neat waistband with very little bulk. This is a rough description. It's hard to show you with words alone. Hope this helps. Janet

    1. kjp | | #2

      I've never come across SOLO tape.  Where do you get it?  Does it have any give or stretch?  thanks!  Karin

      1. sewpro | | #3

        SOLO is a notions supplier. You can find them on the internet. You can use the seam tape they sell at Joann's but it is less flexible and thicker. Both are woven and don't stretch. You could also use a strip of selvage from a lightweight linig like Ambiance, but be sure to hide the raw wdges within the seam.

        1. kjp | | #4

          sewpro,  ok, I give up!  I googled SOLO notions and SOLO sewing notions & came up with nothing (but some great notions suppliers!)  However, based on your description the product sounds pretty much like what I already use from http://www.thesewingplace.com .  They have stay tape in different weights and bias and straight (fusible!).  I have to admit that I don't ever shop at Joann's.  It's not convenient to me and I prefer most online sites.

          I appreciate your feedback!  I'm still looking for some new ways to treat the stretch fabrics.  Some waistbands stretch too much and some too little - I haven't found the "just right" method!  I think I'm going to try using clear elastic as a stay in my next pair & see how that works.  Karin

          1. sewpro | | #5

            Sorry! I couldn't find them either. But Sewtrue.com carries the same tape- hugsnug. The waistband I described works best on fitted stretch pants with a non streatch waistband. If you want an elastic waistband- that's a whole different story. Or you might also want a faced waist with no band. So many choices! I prefer faced, and different clients of mine prefer small bands or wide bands, It also depends on the cut, weight of fabric, etc. Good luck! Janet

  2. mem1 | | #6

    This is a subject which has occupied me alot.I have come to the conclusion that every fabric needs to be assed as to its recovery. If it recovers well after you stretch it then use seam tape but twill tape not bias tape, and normal interfacing.Its best to create a NON stretch waist band at the waist band seam. If its a bit limp after a stretch I have started useing wide elastic in the band itself. I do this by mounting the front half of the band onto the elasticThe elastic then forms the inner side of the waist band. . The elastic covers 3/4 of the length of the band . The ends are interfaced and treated as usual and the elastc is attached to the pants by stitching in the ditch . This works well and is very comfortable and avoids the saggy syndrome after an hour of wearing them.I also sew the side seams last when constructing the body of the pants as then I can adjust them . I machine baste them and then wear them for 30 mins and move around etc and then see how much they have stretched and decide if thats waht I want and the stitch permanently. I do the same with the waist band.

    1. kjp | | #7

      I think I agree with you about the non-stretch waistband on most pants.  However, when I use a contoured waist (sitting a little lower than the waistline) I find that a non-stretch waist creates unwanted bulges (nothing to do with my chocolate addiction :-)  It definitely seems you are right about evaluating the recovery.  I love the idea of the elastic to remedy sagging!  A pair of RTW (highend) pants I bought used a 1/2" band interfaced without stretch, but had two elastic inserts in the back above the rear darts to accomodate the slim fit and movement without sagging.  I love the pants too much to take them apart & see what interfacing was used!

      Stretch fabrics are so wonderful...but I feel like I'm learning all over again!  Karin

      1. mem1 | | #8

        Its probably not anything very mysterious .I have taken a pair of pants appart ( the ones with the elastic waist band ) and they just had an iron on similar to whisper wheft.I hate using new pattern as it takes me ages to get pants just right. I have the problem of the band rolling down when i sit down.I am forever pulling them up again but the elastic ones are the best yet.

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