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Stabilize/interfce waist on stretch fab?

kjp | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I’m trying to restart this question with a slightly different title.  I’ve been sewing LOTS of pants/skirts with wonderful stretch fabrics.  I haven’t found the best way to stabilize the waist without completely removing all stretch or having too much stretch.  I like a slightly lowered waist.  I’ve tried fusible stay tape on some, fusible knit interfacing, and weft interfacing.  I’d love some input from the “pros” as to your favorite ways to treat the waist or waistband with stretch fabrics.

Thanks!  Karin


  1. carolfresia | | #1


    Are you referring to a stretch knit, such as a cotton/lycra jersey or double-knit, or are you working with a stretch woven that has a small (2%-5% ) percentage of lycra?


    1. kjp | | #2

      Stretch wovens...I usually use elastic for knits.  Cotton/lycra, Poly/lycra, etc.  Fairly fitted pants (I'm using a sloper I worked on last year & change the details according to the style I want).  Karin

      1. carolfresia | | #4

        Like Sandy, I don't try to maintain the stretch factor in the waist of stretch wovens. I stabilize with interfacing and treat it as a non-stretch fabric. In fact, I stabilize fairly sturdily, because I've found that once the waist stretches, it doesn't actually recover well until the pants are washed, and you can end up with a loose waistline, and overall droopiness. What I like in a stretch woven is the comfort elsewhere in the garement, such as the knees and seat.

        If I want a truly stretchy waistband, I'll use a stretch knit with elastic. There are ways to apply the elastic and cut the garment so that you don't end up with lots of bunchy gathers. For me, this type of waist treatment works best on a skirt; I don't have the figure for stretchy pants!


        1. kjp | | #5

          Thanks, Carol & Sandy!  I've had the same problem with the waist expanding - so I probably wash my pants more often! Karin

  2. FitnessNut | | #3

    Personally, I use a fusible knit interfacing. But then, I prefer not to have any stretch in my waistbands, if possible. If I want stretch, I use elastic. The only pair of stretch woven pants I have made for myself has facings at the waist.....and I used a fusible knit interfacing (on the facings). Sorry not to be of more help.

    1. SewNancy | | #8

      I like either a faced pant or a contour waist for my pants in stretch wovens.  I wanted to keep the stretch crosswise in the facings and use an iron on stay tape for the waist line.  I felt that I needed to match the stretch in the upper hip.  I don't make waistbands anymore.  I bought a few pants with either face waistbands or contour waists and found that for my small waist and rounded upper hip that they are mcuh more flattering to may figure.


      1. kjp | | #9

        Hmmm...now that I look at my rtw stretch wovens, they all have the contoured waist.  I just stocked up on stay tape, so I'll try that!  Question:  would you use bias or straight staytape?  My hunch says bias.  Karin

        1. SewNancy | | #10

          I used bias, it curves effortlessly.  Just don't put it in the darts or sas to keep thickness down.


          1. alotofstitches | | #11

            S. Betzina says that most "stay" tapes still stretch & I agree. Best one you can "buy" is the selvage edge off lining.  I finally applied the selvage to the waist of my woven stretch & non stretch pants, no waistband only facing AND FINALLY have a stable waistline.  I use that stay in all areas where I want absolutely no stretch.

          2. SewNancy | | #13

            I will try that. 


          3. mem1 | | #12

            If you use bias wouldnt it just stretch and after a little while you get the mid morning droopy crotch syndrome???

          4. SewNancy | | #14

            I don't use the bias for taping the crotch.  Also, the iron on is not sufficiently permanent for this.  I would sew on a regular stay tape or try the selvedge edge as previously suggested.


          5. kjp | | #15

            I also use the straight, not bias tape for the crotch seam.  I do use the iron on, but I almost always serge the edges of my crotch seams on pants, so that secures it permanently.  Since I started using stay tape, my pants look so much better! 

            I think I like the bias tape suggestion the best for the waist.  I personally like a bit of give in my waist, so that seems to work well.  I'd love to see some more professionals write on treatment of the new stretch wovens.  They make such beautiful jackets, skirts and pants!  Maybe I'll have to do lots of research and publish my own book (ha ha!) karin

  3. sewpro | | #6

    I think the most important question is this: What finished result are you aiming for? A fitted waistband with darts in the abdomen and derriere area or an elastic waistband with gathers all around?

    1. kjp | | #7

      I have been making pants from stretch wovens (ie: cotton, linen, rayon with a little lycra for crosswise stretch).  My sloper which I use is fitted with darts.  I also use the sloper to adjust knit fabric pants for athletic wear, but then I use a nonroll elastic and a casing for a drawstring.  When I examine the "stretch" in rtw pants waists, most seem to have been cut and treated to retain some of the stretch in the fabric, which enhances the comfort.  I can't seem to duplicate the stretch recovery in my sewing.  I like a contoured waist - slightly below the waistline.  Thanks for any input!  Karin

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