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Tips & Techniques > grosgrain ribbon waist facing

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Posted by: Katharine in BXL

About Katharine in BXL star
Member since: 8/1/03
Reviews: 73 (tips: 4)
Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 8/3/04 9:10 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 8 people   
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This is great for when you're using a heavy fabric and don't want the added bulk of a facing, are too short on fabric to cut facings, want a thin yet sturdy waist, for short waisted people or those who have shirts that come untucked. Grosgrain ribbons were big in haute couture in the '50s--there's no reason why not to bring 'em back!

Use a wide 38mm/1.5" grosgrain ribbon. Measure your waistband by laying it out flat (on your ironing board) and measure with a measuring tape on its side so it can curve along the waist. Double this measurement to get the whole waist. Add 2.5cm/1" to accomodate folding over at the ends (by zipper) and cut. Shape the ribbon into a curve, pressing with plenty of steam. (Poly ribbons take low/med heat and don't press as well as acrylic.) Let cool. Pin the "tighter" surved side on RS of fabric Fold over the ends and place folds up directly over the zipper tape. The folds will face inside after the facing is in. Place at any seam if you're not using a zipper. Stitch, then fold back over. Press over a tailor's ham if you have it--I don't, and mine are fine. Stitch the facing in the ditch of seams and darts (while you're at it, might as well do a good job) so your facing will never flop out or roll.

Grosgrain ribbons are often seen in little girls' hair. They are horizontally ribbed. I don't recommend satiny ribbons, because the smooth surface will make the waist move when you do, and you can forget tucking in a shirt. They probably don't shape as well either with steam, but I haven't tried. Acrylic ribbons are the best, as they take a press and will gradually stretch to your shape; but I can only find polyestor. Poly works fine. Some smaller width grosgrain ribbons have a anti-fray ridge running along the edges of the ribbon. This would make it difficult to shape with steam. Look for ribbons with ribs going completely across.

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brissew said... (4/19/12 2:31 AM) Reply
This is very well explained and helpful thanks.
Katharine in BXL said... (10/15/04 10:16 AM) Reply
Oooh, rayon with a comfy scalloped edge sounds perfect! Thanks for this resource!
D1Diva said... (8/22/04 1:16 AM) Reply
The Petersham I purchase from The Sewing Place is actually 100% rayon. The reason Sandra recommends this instead of grosgrain is because the Petersham has a scalloped edge which is more condusive to shaping with the iron.
SewVeryTall said... (8/19/04 3:32 AM) Reply
I just wanted this tip to be clearer for beginners who haven't done this kind of waist facing. Personally, I wouldn't even measure the grosgrain, since the garment has already been fitted...I'd just press a curve into more than enough ribbon, sew it on, then trim any excess off.
Katharine in BXL said... (8/18/04 11:12 AM) Reply
Diva, Petersham is another name for grosgrain ribbon that is made from cotton/acetate. Grosgrain ribbon is either poly or c/a (petersham). SVT, right! But I measure after the darts, zipper, crotch, inseam, and outer seams are sewn (and any pockets)--in other words, I do the waist and then hem last. It's important to have the F & B sewn together or you won't get an accurate measurement, since the back is always longer. If in doubt, put the pants on and wrap the ribbon around, then cut with 1" extra. HTH!
SewVeryTall said... (8/17/04 3:00 AM) Reply
Aha! You measured half the waist on the partially sewn garment. No wonder you doubled it! I thought you meant that you measured the front and back pattern pieces on the curved waistband sewing line.
D1Diva said... (8/15/04 11:05 AM) Reply
According to Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing, this waist treatment is done with Petersham which is easier to press and shape than grosgrain. You can find it online at The Sewing Place in different widths and colors. I agree this waist treatment is much more comfortable to wear than regular waistbands especially for us short waisted people.
Katharine in BXL said... (8/15/04 6:58 AM) Reply
SVT, I zip the zipper and lay the pants/skirt flat then measure. This captures the front or back only--double to make the whole circumference. It's less fiddly than measuring all the way around or putting them on and trying to keep the tape in a straight line. Cindie, that's a neat template idea. Makes total sense. Fortunately mine have turned out fine so far without the extra step.
Cindie said... (8/9/04 5:24 PM) Reply
I think this waist treatment is making a comeback. I have seen it a lot in RTW lately, including some Wal-Mart and Target brands. I think it's beautiful. For what it's worth, I belive one of my sewing books suggested creating a template for shaping the ribbon by tracing off the top portion of the skirt or pants pattern.
SewVeryTall said... (8/6/04 7:10 AM) Reply
You say to measure the waistband...why do you double that measurement?
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