Sunday, January 31, 2010

High and Tight: The Waistband Tutorial

I am fond of the waistband. Since I am so short-waisted and hippy, I will wear any skirt high and slim on the waist, and that means a faced waistband. The instructions in commercial patterns are typically horrid, but I have come across a rare educational treat on occasion. From my many waistband attempts I have developed a method that works best for me. Here's what I do:

1. After fusing interfacing onto the facing sides of your waistband pieces, with RS (right sides) facing, stitch the sides to the fronts. Iron open seams.

2. This step is to prep for 'stitching in the ditch' later, and it's such a time saver! On the facing sides of your waistband, stitch a line 1/8" less than your seam allowance along the bottom edge. For this skirt, my seam allowances are 5/8", so I stitched a line at 4/8".

3. Now iron up edge along your stitch line. This is so much better than having to measure along as you iron.

4. Now pin the facing side and outside of your waistbands together, RS together, and stitch along the top edge. Be sure to pin and match seams first, the the centers, and then the centers of centers. That way, everything is neat and matched and will ease together.

5. Now 'grade' the interfaced layer by trimming away half of the seam allowance; then clip up to your stitches every 1/2" or so along the top edge. Flip so that WS are together and iron on the right side.

You'll end up with this: A lovely band just waiting to get attached!

6. Next, with RS together, pin the outside of your waistband to the outside of your skirt along the top edge. Again, be sure to match seams first, then stitch.

7. Clip curve before pressing. The easiest way to iron is to open the waistband and press seam allowances up and into the inside. Then flip over to the RS of your skirt and iron again. Since we're about to stitch in the ditch, make sure that your seam is really ironed well.

8. Fold facing side of waistband over, encasing all seam allowances and ugly fraying bits along the top edge. The prepped ironed crease should cover the stitches on the WS of the skirt by 1/8". Pin along the WS of the skirt, with the pins out of the way enough to sew over.

9. Here's the fun part: stitching in the ditch! Sew on the RS of the skirt, with your needle inside the seam that connects the waistband to the skirt. Go slow, and stitch along the entire waistband seam. There is a presser foot that has a little seam guide on it that can help... but I personally enjoy the thrill of free handing it.

9. That's it! Check on the wrong side of the skirt to make sure that your ditch stitches caught all the waistband, and go over spots that might of been missed. You slip stitch or machine stitch these spots.
If you used a thread color that matches well, and if your ditch stitching was not perfect, no one will be the wiser.

Enjoy your beautiful waistband!


  1. I just had the most dreadful time trying to make a skirt with a waistband! The instructions were so confusing and I am new to this sewing thing. Thank you so much for your instructions! That makes far more sense and I can't wait to try it out!

  2. The part about sewing a line so you don't have to measure while you're ironing? That's going to change my life. Why didn't that ever occur to me before?

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. You are so welcome! It's amazing how a few little tricks can make all the difference in the world.

  4. The tip about sewing a line in the fabric to use when pressing is BRILLIANT!!!!! Best sewing tip ever. I feel like I have been living in the dark without this information.

  5. Great tutorial!! Your tip for prepping for stitching in the ditch is particularly helpful.

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  6. thank you i had no idea how to do this from my pattern instructs and you saved me :)

  7. This work is excellent. Noteout this idea is very incredible i like it very much thank you.
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