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No-Nonsense Flexible Waist Finishes

Try these two quick methods that use elastic to replace bulky waist facings
Threads magazine - 138 – Aug./Sept. 2008
Add stretch and structure to your waistline with elastic. Perfect for lined or unlined garments, these two methods are simple and beneficial.

Skirts and pants without waistbands look great on just about any figure. That sleek construction creates a smooth and flattering silhouette, but it often comes with a catch: the waist seam can stretch during wear, creating a bad fit. Truth be told, my waist size changes throughout the day; what fits wonderfully in the morning may be a little snug after lunch. While I don’t want to compromise fit, I appreciate a range in size in my garments.

My work with knits and swimsuit fabrics has inspired me to experiment with techniques for woven fabrics. Elastic is so comfortable and flexible, why not expand its uses to woven waistbands? Now, I’m not talking about a gathered and bulky look. Simply replace a shaped waist facing or grosgrain waist finish with either of my elasticized techniques, and the outside of your garment will look smooth, well-tailored, and bulk-free. And the best part: your sewing is simplified, and the waist finish changes its contour to fit your body throughout the day.

These waist finishes are most compatible with an invisible zipper application; that way, the ends of the elastic will meet at the top of the zipper. I prefer center-back zippers to side zippers because they are more flattering and create a more symmetrical silhouette in the hip area, but the techniques can also be used on side zippers.  

Method One

Use elastic as a stabilizer

This method finishes the waist of the garment with the lining, and the elastic acts as a stabilizer between the layers. You don’t see the elastic; it takes the place of twill tape or a similar stabilizer while adding flexibility.

1. Cut out your garment and lining fabrics from the same main garment pattern pieces. Cut iron-on interfacing such as Armo Weft or…

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