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JeanM | Posted in Fitting on

Under What Are Your Fitting Challenges sewslow67 asked about bias waistbands. (9613.20).  We have always heard that they must be on a straight grain, but possibly there are situations where bias would work.  I would like more info from anyone on this also.

The only ideas I have for better fitting waistbands are elasticized and Nancy Zieman’s method of making a waistband larger than needed, then inserting elastic about 1 inch smaller than the band.  It would need to be attached at both ends.  I haven’t tried this.  I find that it is not necessarily the waistband which causes the problem of being too tight, but the seam for the band and the pants, which sometimes digs in.  If I make them too much larger, then they *are* large.  Can’t win, but I am working on this.

Hopefully we can get a discussion going regarding waistbands.

As for my age, sewslow, I am “over 40”.  I was in a chat room on a regular basis with the same people who were mainly in their 20s and 30s and I just told them that which wasn’t a lie.  They had no idea just how much “over” I was.  Teeheehee.  Clue:  I did post in the “Were you sewing in 1968?” thread.  Any more info *will* cost you.  (at least for now).  LOL

Edited 3/12/2009 11:07 pm by JeanM

Edited 3/12/2009 11:10 pm by JeanM


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Some of my rtw comes with bias waistbands, but they keep stretching and stretching, and I eventually have to wear a belt and roll the waistband to keep them from sliding down over my hips.

    1. JeanM | | #2

      Interesting.  Good to know.

    2. sewslow67 | | #4

      Oh yes, Teal5; this is a very good point.  Thanks for sharing that.

    3. sewslow67 | | #6

      Hi Teal:  I've been thinking about your bias waistband, and wonder if possibly inserting a soft (and not too tight) elastic into the bias cut waist band.  That would still give some "give", without stretching out too much (due to the inserted elastic).  It night be the best of two worlds, i.e. stretch when needed without the stretch becoming permanent, causing the pant or skirt to drop below the waistline. 

      I'm going to complete a pair of corduroy slacks this weekend and, since I haven't yet put on the waist band, I think I'll give this method a try.  I'll report back in a few days or week or so and let anyone who is interest how it worked out.  Thankfully, I've got enough fabric to cut another waistband - this time, on the bias ...and I always seem to have a stash of various kinds and sizes of elastic on hand.

      1. Teaf5 | | #7

        I, too, would put elastic into a bias waistband. 

        Unfortunately, the rtw are jeans with 5 belt loops; instead of removing them all, I put in sections of elastic on the interior side of the waistband between the side and back loops. 

        It's comfortable and keeps one pair of jeans on my hips; the other pair got too big overall, so they're in the "puttering around the garden" drawer now!

        1. sewslow67 | | #9

          What a great idea ...and really appropriate right now since I just got back from a walk and my jeans are barely hanging on my body.  I think I'll give that a try.  Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. sewslow67 | | #3

    I'm having one of those "sleepless" nights, so decided to check Gatherings to see what was going on and found your post.  Jean, you don't disappoint with your terrific sense of humor.  Thanks for the giggle. 

    Now then, I Googled waistbands just for kicks and found this link:  http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/C-234.pdf  While it doesn't really answer our question about waistbands, I found the detail about them interesting and, even though it was basic, it did give more information than I had learned so many years ago in Home Ec.

    My frustration with waistbands right now is my ever-growing waistline, and how to make a waistband that is both comfortable and attractive, without making it "stand out" ...(pun intended).  I find it puzzling that the waistband of my jeans, for example, can be too tight to be comfortable, but slide down - at the same time.  This probably happens because my waist is fastly becoming the same size as my hips (not yet, but it might happen. ugh!!)

  3. Cityoflostsouls | | #5

    I'm "over 40" too and have given up trying to find anyone on Facebook who wouldn't want to help me pick out my coffin.  I have several problems-my youngest child is 8 and my six older children are 40 plus to 50 plus and I find it hard to fit in.  I'm also 5' 7" and about 106 pounds so I can't even talk about waistbands.  I would love to gain 15 pounds and wear different types of clothing rather than cover-ups to keep from looking so emaciated.  Too thin is hard to fit too and more than waistbands!  I love reading all these messages tho.  The good part tho is I do not feel old altho I probably am very old in the eyes of the world.


    1. Teaf5 | | #8

      Some of the styles that work well for the very thin are the very popular layered, draped, ruched, wrapped, or gathered styles that more rounded folks can't wear.  The softness of controlled draping in fluid fabrics adds substance and design interest.

      You can also play around with embellishments and accessories in all kinds of areas that curvier gals should never accentuate.

      Everyone, including the very thin, needs to pay close attention to the fit in the shoulder/neck area and experiment with thin shoulder pads and shoulder seam support to give the overall garment a structure from which to drape.  If the shoulder area fits, everything else will look better, too.

      1. Cityoflostsouls | | #10

        Thanks for your advice.  I've had the shoulder-neck problem with jutting out at the neckline zipper area.  Not very appealing.  I saw an article once for the DD figure and the solution was in the darts.  What a difference the darts made but I can't remember where I saw it and of course my problem is very different. Maybe one of you saw the same article.  At the time I worked with a girl who was DDD and said she couldn't sew for her figure.

        1. sewslow67 | | #11

          I don't know if this might help, but you might give it a try.  Good luck, and let us know, OK?  http://www.geocities.com/sewimnutz2/enlarging_patterns.html



          1. Cityoflostsouls | | #12

            Thanks for the information.  I put it in favorites so it can be passed on.  I grew up with an aunt (before reduction surgery was available) whose bust covered from her neck to her waist (both short) and growing up I do not know how she handled this but she always looked very neat and she sewed all her clothes as she could not be fit in RTW.  She had to pad her shoulders on her bras and they were deeply cut.

            I keep all my sewing magazines so when I have time I will look for the magazine with the dart adjustment I saw and pass it on.  Now of course her extreme bust could be taken care of surgically.  She was very attractive and I know how this hurt her,  She was round but not obese.

            Thank you again.  This information you sent should help others.

          2. sewslow67 | | #13

            You are most welcome.  I hope it helps, even in some small way.  Sometimes the value of an idea isn't in it specifically, but in its value as a jumping off point.

          3. Palady | | #14

            >> ... grew up with an aunt (before reduction surgery was available) ... bust covered from her neck to her waist (both short) ... <<

            Your reference to your aunt broght my mother to mind.  Her fitting issues were different, but she had the innate knowledge as to how to address her pattern alterations.

            My daughter is a 4th generation sewists.  She has the like ability of her maternal garndmother.  Simply "looking" at a pattern piece she can grasp what she needs to do to fit it to herself.  Sometimes she'll need to make multiple muslins.  But her fit is notable in the positive.

            Me?  Trial & error still reigns!







      2. Cityoflostsouls | | #15

        I found the article on full figure-bust solutions so want to pass it on to anyone interested.  The article is called The S-Dart Advantage and is in the June-July issue, 2003 of Threads Magazine.  What a difference this dart made in the photos!  It gives instructions for making this dart in your muslin.  I'm just passing this on because I was impressed with it.

        1. Teaf5 | | #16

          Thanks, I will check out that article again. Spring break is coming up, and the urge to sew some spring/summer tops is getting stronger and stronger each day.

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