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How to Sew a Classic Waistband

Make it smooth, supportive, and comfortable
Threads #216, Winter 2021
For a neat, stable band that hugs your body, try this traditional method.

Whether you’re a novice or experienced sewer, you’re likely to make garments with a straight waistband. This traditional style is not contoured to your waist; the pattern is a plain rectangle. When properly fitted and constructed, this band type holds a garment securely in place, preventing skirts from twisting and pants from pulling down in back when you sit. 

There are many methods for sewing a straight waistband, but I’ll explain one of the most common versions for ladies’ garments. 

Where your waistband sits is a matter of personal preference. Most straight waistbands sit at the natural waistline, the part of your torso with the smallest circumference. It could be a little below or above, though. This depends on your style preference and comfort, especially when you’re sitting. The waistband width is established by the given pattern piece, if you’re using a commercial pattern. However, you are free to change that as desired: Petite or short-waisted women may prefer a narrower band; taller or long-waisted women may like a wider band. 

The directions that follow are for a standard waistband with a cut-on facing: The finished upper edge is a fold rather than a seam. This type is the most common in commericial patterns, and it has benefits. It is quicker to sew and provides a smoother edge than a band with a separate facing. (If your fabric is bulky or would be scratchy to wear against your skin, you can cut a facing from a lighter fabric such as lining or cotton shirting.) You can build this style into many patterns even if they come with a different waist finish, including faced waistlines. My goal is to build a waist treatment that is stable and free of bulk. This ensures comfort, longevity, and a…

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Fit and Sew Pants

Fit and Sew Pants

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