5 best ways to add WAISTBANDS to your skirts and pants

Different types of waistbands 


Most waistbands do multiple duties in a garment. Other than just holding up  a skirt or a pant , or serving as place holders of accessories like bows, they are also eye stoppers – they bring the eyes to the most lean part of your torso. A neat and carefully made waistband is an essential prerequisite to a well tailored outfit. Checkout the different types of waistbands and how to go about adding them easily .

1.Straight Waistband


How to add a basic  straight waistband to your dress or skirt

Straight waistbands are classy, there is no question about it. The fitting finish of this waistband makes this one give a slim look to the whole silhouette. They will be fitting smugly at the waist and make the whole garment look the best. It is a perfect finish for fitted garments. The most popular straight waistband width is 1.5 inches though I have sewn ones which are 1 inch and more than 2 inches as well.Checkout the pattern /sewing tutorial for pencil skirt for sewing a waistband of this type

One of the most important criteria for getting a good looking waistband is to interface it. You can use a fusible interfacing of medium weight. Either interface the whole waistband fabric or cut the interfacing to the width and length of the dimensions of the final waistband you want. In the second instance the seam allowance is done away with and hence no added bulk when sewing the seams of the waistband.

How to attach the waistband to the skirt

When attaching the waistband to a skirt, stitch the waistband to the skirt  after the skirt is finished, including gathers, pleats, darts and tucks, zipper is attached, or opening finished with a turn under finish or facing.

  • Cut out the waistband pieces
  • Length of the waistband = top edge of the skirt piece + 1″ seam allowance ( + 1″ overlap if you want an overlap for attaching fasteners like hooks, buttons etc)  width of fabric piece  = 4 1/4 inch for a 1.5 inch waistband
  • Adhere the interfacing to the waistband piece to the wrong side of the waistband piece
  • Keep the waistband piece on the skirt waist edge, rightsides together. Keep the seam allowance extended at both ends ,as well as the overlap.
  • Overlap would be extending past the edge
  • Join the waistband and the skirt waist  along the long edge. Donot forget to back stitch at the start and ending
  • Press the 1/2 inch seam allowance of the other long edge to the inside with a medium hot iron.
  • Press the waistband by almost half right sides together ( almost half means less than 1/4 inch more than half, so that when we machine stitch from the top, the edge on the back will be caught in the stitching line correctly.)You can also hand stitch the edges using whip stitches
  • Stitch the side edges at both ends with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  • Trim the corner and the seam allowance
  • Turn the waistband right side out.Pull out the corners with a sharp pointed object ; You need square corners
  • On the wrong side of the skirt, the folded edge will be overlapping the seam line, even extending a little bit.  Pin the whole waistband in place with the folded under edge
  • Top stitch, stitch in the ditch from the top along the seam line. The turned under edge at the back will be neatly caught in this stitching now.

2.Facing waistband


Adding a facing waistband can give a seamless and neat finish to the waist area,. You will have a very smooth skirt edge without any separate waistband. It is better if the facing is made with a lightweight fabric . Checkout the sewing tutorial for a straight skirt with yoke  with the faced waistband for how to sew this type of waistband with a zipper and also the  post on drafting and sewing facing to fabric edges

yoke skirt pattern

3.Stretch Waistbands


The two main types of elastic waistbands are self-waistband which uses a tuned under finish to create the casing for elastic and separate waistband which uses a separate strip of fabric to create the waistband. You can also use wide decorative elastic directly as a waistband without a casing.  Then there is shirring which is used to gather the fabric at the waist. A stretch paperbag waistband is a variation of the elastic waistband.Checkout the post on different ways of sewing elastic waistbands for more details

sewing elastic waistband

4. Drawstring waistbands

 waist bands

A drawstring waistband is very similar to the turned under waistband. It is basically made by just turning under the waist fabric edge and make a casing for a drawstring cord which will tighten the loose waist of the garment.Eyelets or buttonholes are added for the cord to pass through. Checkout the tutorial for a drawstring lounge pants for sewing instructions for a drawstring waistband ( seperate) or sewing instructions for salwar pants for a turn under drawstring waistband . 

drawstring lounge pants

How to make a drawstring waistband

Step 1

Two buttonholes have to be sewn on the either side of the center front of the waistband for the drawstring to pass through. You can use eyelet holes instead of buttonholes. Metal grommets are very easy to apply on clothes. Checkout the tutorial to make different types of eyelet holes including metal eyelets . These holes has to be completed before making the casing

Mark the folding line of the upper edge of the casing. After you have marked the center front, mark buttonholes 1/2 inch to either side of the center front right on the casing.
Finish the buttonholes or eyelets

Step 2
Fold the fabric edge twice, to the inside, Pin in place.Stitch the casing along the folded edge. 
Top stitch the top edge of the casing as well; so that there is a channel for the drawstring cord to pass through

Step 3

Cut a length of cord
Length of the cord should be 30 inch added to the hip round measure
You can use shop bought cord or simple fabric tubes made using the tutorial found here

Step 4

Insert the cord / tube through the casing with the help of a pin. You can join the ends of cords or tie knots at the end of the cord or make cord stoppers like the ones in this gift bag tutorial  to prevent the drawstring from slipping outside the casing.

5.Wrap around waistband 

how to sew a waistband

Checkout this wrap skirt tutorial to see this kind of waistband which is a very comfortable and casual one because this waistband is as fitting as you seem fit. It is how you tie it that make or break it. You can also use a button fastening with a wrap around waistband as is shown in this wrap skirt tutorial

Please donot forget to share the post if you find it interesting 

Related posts

DRESS silhouettes

Comments 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *