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Give Your Jeans Professional Finishing Touches | Web Extra

A contoured waistband and topstitched belt loops complete the look of premium denim jeans.
Threads #196, April/May 2018

Take your jeans-sewing experience further with a well-fitting, curved waistband that won’t stretch during wear, and belt loops that are quick to sew.

In Threads #196 (April/May 2018), author Jacque Goldsmith shows some of the features that go into high-quality denim jeans, including sturdy, indigo-dyed fabric and a professional fly-zipper closure. Find out how to add good-looking and durable finishing touches.

Stabilize a contour waistband

A curved waistband hugs the body more closely than a traditional straight band and is an excellent choice for many women. However, a curved band has many areas of bias grain along its edges, which tend to stretch and distort during wear. You’ll need to stabilize the upper edge to keep the band fitting the way you like.

 1. Stabilize the waist edges. Cut the waistband and facing pieces and join them at center back. Press the seam allowances open. On the band, staystitch just outside the waist seamline, within the seam allowance. On the facing, sew a strip of twill tape, extending 1/8 inch into the seam allowance, with the stitching line just outside, within the seam allowance.

Cutting waistband and facing pieces

2. Join the waistband and facing. Sew up one short end, along the waist edge, and down the other short end.

Sewing up one short end

3. Trim the seam allowances. Cut along the twill tape’s edge.

Cutting along the twill tape’s edge

4. Turn the band right side out. Then attach it to the jeans.

turning band inside out

For more information on jeans waistbands, click here.

Stitch belt loops efficiently

stitching belt loops

Belt loops are essential for the look and function of a great pair of jeans. You don’t have to sew individual loops, or make skinny tubes that are difficult to turn right side out in stiff denim. This method makes nice, even loops quickly.

1. Prepare a denim strip. Cut a strip 1 1/8 inches wide. For five belt loops, a…

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Previous: 10 Tips for Creating Great-Looking Denim Jeans Next: How to Sew a Nonstretch Waistband


  1. mabowles | | #1

    I'm stuck, please help! Im trying to put in the fly zipper as instructed in article, "Denim Details, 3106, pgs 38-43. I did fine until the next to last step, sew the crotch seam. Without clipping the curve, how do I get the two seams together without wrinkles?

    1. RCarnes | | #2

      The seam allowances are fairly narrow, which should help a bit with the wrinkling. However, it can be a challenge to sew any curved seam. My suggestion is to hand-baste the lapped seam in place, supporting the work with your hands or over a ham as you baste, so you can maintain the seam's curve. Then, as you machine-sew the seam, allow the seam to curve or bend as it wants to in front of and behind the presser foot; flatten it just at the presser foot. If you don't fight the curved shape, it tends to behave a little better.

      Another helpful notion you might want to experiment with is 1/4-inch-wide Steam-a-Seam 2 fusible web tape. I love this product! It holds finicky little seams together neatly so you can sew them accurately, without the distortion that pins might cause.

      Bear in mind, too, that the portion of the seam closest to the zipper is the straightest, and it's the only part that's likely to be seen. The curviest section is closer to the inseam, where it's not as obtrusive.
      - Carol Fresia, Threads Technical Editor

  2. User avater
    ThomasRenner | | #3

    Nice style

  3. User avater
    AntoneGreen | | #4

    I love your way of explaining jeans stitching step by step.

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Sew Your Own Jeans

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