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A properly sewn and fitted waistband is a joy to wear. It never stretches, wrinkles, or folds over as some waistbands have a way of doing, nor does it bind you or slip down on your hips. To attain this ideal combination of fit, good looks, and comfort, you must know a few general facts about waistbands.

Your preference and garment style determine waistband width. Most waistbands need the reinforcement and body of interfacing or ribbon seam binding to prevent stretching- particularly loosely woven fabrics and wide or contour waistbands. With knits, use elastic in the waistband to ensure the proper stretch and fit. Unless the garment is gathered, the skirt is usually eased to the waistband to accommodate the curve of your body directly below the waistband. For this reason, your skirt should be 1/2" to 1" (13 mm to 25 Mm) bigger at the waistline than the finished waistline measurement of the garment. If the ends of the waistband overlap, the overlapping edgefaces toward the left or the back. Side closings are on the left side. The underneath section usually extends at least 11/4" (3.2 cm) for the underiap. Put in the zipper before you apply the waistband, unless directed otherwise by the pattern instructions.

Straight Waistband
This waistband is cut on the lengthwise grain for the least amount of stretch, and can be constructed in many ways. Base your construction on the type of fabric, the style of the garment, and the wear that it will receive. If using a zipper, position the zipper stop 1/8" (3 rnm) below the waist seamline.

Cut interfacing for the full width of waistband and baste to wrong side of fabric 1/2" (13 mrn) from edge. Trim interfacing close to stitching. To hold interfacing to waistband along foldline, stitch through both layers on the facing side of the waistband 1/2" (13 rnrn) below foldline. Turm waistband, right sides together, along foldline. Stitch ends to within Vs" (15 rnm) of the edge. Grade seams and trim corners (1). Turn and press.

Pin and baste the waistband to the garment, matching markings. Ease the garment to fit the waistband; stitch. Trim and grade seams, leaving garment seam allowance widest. Press seam toward waistband. Turn in the remaining raw edge and slipstitch over the seam, continuing across the underiap (2). Fasten with hooks and eyes (3).

Variations on a Straight Waistband
If your fabric is fairly heavy or bulky, you may wish to use one of the following methods to eliminate bulk and make a flat, smooth waistband.

First, to reduce the ridge caused when all seam allowances at the waistline are turned in the same direction, lay the waistband pattern piece with seamline of the unnotched edge even with selvage. The selvage acts as a finished edge and is not turned under (1).

The second variation produces a thinner, less bulky appearance. Cut the waistband from your fabric equal to its finished width plus two seam allowances. Lap grosgrain ribbon (purchased in the same width as the finished waistband) over the upper seam allowance, even with the seamline; stitch ribbon close to edge (2).

Finish both waistbands by folding them right sides together along the upper seamline or foldline. Stitch across both ends. Trim corners and grade seam allowances. Turn and press. Attach them to the garment as usual. Slipstitch the selvage of the fabric or the edge of the grosgrain ribbon over the seam, continuing across the underlap. Be sure that the ribbon does not show on the outside.

The last variation is a quick, sturdy way to finish a waistband on a casual or sporty garment. Stitch the right side of the waistband to the wrong side of the garment. Press seam toward the waistband. Turn in the remaining edge and baste it over the seam on the right side of the garment. 1:@rom the right side, lopstitch close to basted edge through all thicknesses (3).

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2006 March 28