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Tips & Techniques > Slightly Stretchy Waistband

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Posted by: Lisa Laree
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Posted on: 11/20/02 1:55 AM
Last Updated: 4/22/05 10:39 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 14 people   
Update 4/22/05 I have figured out a variation on this that even works for bulkier/stiffer fabrics...
Updated Slightly Stretchy Waistband

I first encountered this technique in a Threads (# 54) article on Donna Karan's wardrobe elements. Sandra Betzina has included it in her books, calling it the 'Designer Waistband that Grows'. It is a great technique and makes for very comfortable waistbands. The general idea is that the interfacing in a waistband is replaced by elastic. In a nutshell, the steps are
1) Before you cut, adjust the pattern (use your favorite method) to increase the garment waistline (and the waistband) so that it measures 2 - 3 inches MORE than your HONEST waistline measurement.
2) Sew the waistband to the garment with a 5/8" (preferably - it's easier to anchor the elastic to a wider SA) seam allowance; finish the other long edge.
3) Cut a piece of elastic the width of your desired finished waistband so that it is about 2 - 4 inches LESS than your waistline measurement (the actual measurement depends on the stretchiness of the elastic)
4) Quarter mark the waistline seam allowance and the elastic
5) Place the elastic so that it is between the seam allowance and the waistband, with one edge on the waistline seam
6) Turn the waistband toward the garment so that the seam allowance extends and overlaps the elastic, then machine baste across the elastic and the seam allowance ONLY at each end and at each quarter mark. This stitching is perpendicular to the waistband.
7) With the seam allowance extended and next to the feed dogs, and the elastic facing up, zigzag the elastic to the seam allowance, stretching the elastic to fit the waistband as you sew. Remove the basting.
8) Fold the ends of the waistband in half, RS together, with the finished edge folded to the wrong side so that the folded edge matches with the waistline seam; stitch across the ends, trim the seam allowances and turn the ends right side out, over the elastic.
9) Fold the waistband over the elastic, wrapping it tightly to the wrong side and pin the finished edge to the garment.
10) Vertically machine baste at regular intervals through the waistband and the elastic (I've tried skipping this step - it's not worth it! )
11) From the right side, stitch the waistband in the well of the seam; remove basting
12) Hand sew a trouser hook-and-eye to the ends of the waistband
13) Enjoy your nice, comfy, stretchy waistband the next time you go to a potluck supper…

For a more detailed description, including pictures of the process, see Power Sewing Step-By-Step by Sandra Betzina, pages 115-118

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7 Comments
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AnneM said...
I was just thinking about this concept the other day, although I hadn't gotten it figured out yet. Great tip. I really should check out that Power Sewing book.
7/21/04 8:08 AM
PVA said...
I remember seeing this a long time ago, and couldn't remember where. I'm goin to use it, and thanks, so much, for this review. I know it's a real winner!
5/29/04 11:02 PM
sewgirl said...
I've tried elastecizing the back of the waistband, but keeping the front interfaced, for that flat look.
1/10/04 7:51 PM
Lisa Laree said...
Aless, I've seen that technique in RTW,too. I was puzzling out how to do it when I saw this technique and went with this instead. If you figure out how to do it, let us know!
1/24/03 10:47 AM
Aless said...
I was drawn to this review as I saw a similar technique used in a pair of trousers bought recently by my DH. Instead of the whole waistband lining being constructed using elastic, the trousers had a small(about 3")section of elastic just behind the side seams,attached to the waistband lining but not attached at the top or bottom of the elastic edges.(Hope that makes sense!) I was fascinated by this idea, but haven't had time to work out just how it was done.It just gives that tiny bit of waist adjustment allowance which some people need in RTW and could be copied by those who sew for themselves.
1/24/03 2:40 AM
Debbie Spriggs said...
Oh Lisa, Thanks bunches. This is the waist treatment I have wanted to try.
1/13/03 4:08 PM
Jennie Pakula said...
I remember reading about this somewhere but could never find it again! Thanks for a clear & useful explanation.
12/1/02 10:36 PM
 
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