Understanding the WaistbandFitting band to waist means more than just making ends meet
Considering how basic they are, waistbands can cause sewers lots of trouble. And considering how much the wearability and appearance of skirts, slacks, and shorts depending on well-fitted waistbands, it’s a good idea to take a close look at them. It makes sense to refer to the waistline as a line; you can usually establish its position with a piece of string. But where a band will rest in relation to this line depends on both the width of the band and the shape of the figure above and below the line. High-hipped figures, for example, will hold bands high against the waistline, and wide bands will almost always need to be longer than narrow ones to accommodate the figure’s larger measurements on each side of the waistline, as you can see in the drawings below and on the facing page.
My students and I tested these ideas in class. For example, when we measured the waistline on my dress form with a tape measure, it measured 27% in. A length of 1 1/4-in.-wide stiff waistband interfacing pulled snugly over this same waistline measured 28 1/4 in., and 2-in.-wide interfacing measured 28% in. The greater the difference between the waist and hips, the longer that wider bands will need to be. Straight figures will notice less or no difference as bands get wider.
At the same time, we noted where the bottom edge of these waistbands fell in relation to the waistline string-in other words, where the waist seam allowance of the garment should be. On the dress form, the edge of the 1 1/4 in. the band was % in. below the string; the 2-in.-band fell % in. below the string.
Getting it right-Pattern companies routinely add 1 in. to the given waistline measurement for waistband ease, but that…