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Classic Trouser Waistband Upgrades

Flattering alternatives for a tried-and-true pants pattern
Threads #195, Feb./March 2018
For a clean and tailored look, extend the waistband to create a tab closure. Pattern: author’s design. Fabric: satin-back wool, author’s stash.

Classic trousers are among those staple garments that work in every wardrobe. They can go from an office setting to dinner at a restaurant and from errands to the kids’ soccer games. A basic pants pattern that you can pull out any time you need to update your look is a good idea. Find out more about fitting a slacks pattern here. It’s even better when you know how to revise that pattern to create new styles.

There are many ways to adapt a simple pants pattern, including changing the leg shape or length and updating the pockets. Redesigning the waist treatment is another way, which can add style and can flatter your figure. I’ll show you how to make two of my favorite waist finishes, starting with a basic pants pattern with a straight waistband and a fly-front zipper. One has an extended front tab that slips under a loop and buttons, eliminating the need for a belt while maintaining a tailored look. The other has a wide, contoured band with seaming and topstitching details. Both bands can work just as well on a trouser-style skirt with a front zipper. Whether you wear tops tucked in or out, these trim waistbands keep your midsection looking smooth.

Female modeling the extended waistband.


Add a tabbed extension

This easy band style adds an extended tab at the front, to take the place of a belt. You’ll redraw the standard waistband pattern, construct the band, then attach it to the pants. The measurements given are only suggestions; make the band and tab wider, narrower, shorter, or longer as desired.

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Fitting Secrets
Pockets and Closures
Waistbands, Linings, and Hems
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