If I’ve been learning anything from my MMM mini-challenge, it’s that two pairs of pants – my jeans and linen pants – aren’t sufficient for one unique me-made outfit per week! I do have a few skirts, but I really prefer wearing pants to work. I decided to move another pair of the pleated pants to the top of my ever-growing sewing queue, ahead of the husbo’s new jeans.
And, since one of you – you know how you are! – so kindly asked to see more about how I finish waistbands, I used this opportunity to write up a little tutorial on the subject. For fly-front pants that aren’t jeans, this is my preferred method as it reduces waistband bulk, adds visual interest, and somehow seems easier than folding the seam allowance of the inside waistband under. I first saw this technique used on a pair of j.crew pants and used it on my velvetine pants (out of rotation because velvetine weather is long gone) and Nathan’s shorts.
What you’ll need:
- Your inside and outside waistband pieces, sewn together, with the seams where they meet trimmed and understitched
- 1/4″ or 3/8″ double-fold bias binding; yardage = your waistband length
- Marking tool or chalk
1. Trim your inside waistband. How much you trim depends on your seam allowance and the size of your bias binding. In my case, my SA was 5/8″ and my binding was 3/8″; I trimmed off 1/8″, which left me with 1/8″ of the SA not covered by the binding. If I were using 1/4″ binding, I would have trimmed off 1/4″ and still would have had 1/8″ not covered by binding.
2. Cut a piece of bias binding that is slightly longer than your waistband
4. Pin your bias binding to the inside waistband, with the longer side on the wrong side. Stretch the binding slightly as you pin, making sure that the fold meets the inside of the inner waistband.
5. Sew the binding to the inside waistband.
6. Make sure the stitches caught the binding on both sides. Trim off any excess binding.
7. Pin the raw edge of the outside waistband to your pants, right sides together, and sew. (I like the machine-baste first, and then stitch after I’ve made sure my seams match up and there are no puckers.)
8. After pressing the seam you just sewed, trim and grade the seam starting 1/2″ from the edges of the waistband. (I find that not trimming to the edge makes turning the waistband easier.) Trim the zipper if you need to.
9. Fold the inside and outside waistbands right sides together. Pin the raw edges of the waistband together, folding the inside waistband up. Make sure the fold is a little lower than where the pants and outside waistband meet. Repeat for the other side.
10. Using your chalk, draw a straight line where you want to stitch your inner and outer waistbands together. I use the edge or fly shield (or zipper edge, if you don’t have a fly shield) as a guide to make sure my line as straight, and move it a little closer to the raw edge to accommodate for turn-of-cloth. Stitch on the line you drew.
11. Turn your waistband right-side out and make sure it came out straight; if so, you can trim and grade if you like. (I recommend Lisa G’s tutorial on perfect waistband corners.)
12. Your bias binding will be turned toward the inside of the waistband; this is correct. Start folding it open so you can see it from the inside of your pants after the zipper, and press where the binding folds. Repeat for the other side.
13. Making sure none of the inside waistband is showing from the upper edge of the outside waistband, pin the inside waistband to the outer from the outside, along the seam between the pants and the waistband.
14. Check your pins and make sure they’re above the top edge of your bias binding
15. Stitch in the ditch of the waistband seam, removing pins as you go.
16. Make sure the folded part of the inner waistband was stitched down. All you need now is a closure, and you’re done!
I’ll be back soon to share the pants that this bias-bound waistband is attached to!
And, in case you’re in or near Seattle, my favorite thrifted fabric store, Our Fabric Stash, is having a one-day sale event this Saturday!