Finishing the Waistline

Before you finish the waistline of your skirt, be sure it fits properly. If you need to let out or take in a seam, it will be easier to do now. If you alter the skirt at the waistline, be sure you make the same adjustments on the waistband or facing. When the skirt fits, finish the seams with zigzag stitches or pinking shears if you are afraid the fabric will fray.

What if my pattern calls for lining?

Don't panic. The lining is put together just like the skirt, except you simply press the seam allowance under where the zipper would be. Line it up inside the skirt when you're ready to add the waistband.

Adding a Waistband

Generally, waistbands call for interfacing on half of the band. You can cut it out much the same way you did the interfacing for the neck and sleeve facing on the dress in Chapter 15. One edge of your waistband will probably be straight and the other will be notched. Press the straight side under ⅝″.

Lay the center of the fabric waistband piece along a straight edge of the interfacing with the notched side of the facing on the interfacing. Cut the interfacing, and either stitch and trim or trim and fuse it to the waistband. If the waistband is narrow, it may not call for interfacing.

With the right sides together, pin the notched edge of the waistband to the waistline of the skirt, matching the notches. The waistband will extend beyond the skirt on both sides of the zipper. Press the seam allowance toward the waistband. Grade the seam allowance, and clip the curves if necessary.

With the entire waistband piece extending above the skirt, fold it in half with right sides together. The fold of the straight side should line up with the seam. Sew across the ends. The end seam should line up with the lap side of the zipper, but on the other side, it will probably extend at least 1″. This will allow for snaps, hooks, or buttons.

Clip the corners and turn the waistband. Press it flat. Topstitch or blind-stitch the folded side to the inside of the waistband seam.

Finishing a Bandless Waist

Skirts without waistbands are very much the fashion. The top edge of the skirt is finished with facing exactly the way the neck edge was on the dress in Chapter 15.

Sew or fuse interfacing to the facing. Sew the pieces together and turn under the outside edge. Sew the facing to the waist, clip and grade the seam, and turn the facing to the inside. Turn the ends under at the zipper, and tack the facing at the seams and darts. You may topstitch it as well.

Binding Alternative

Some women don't like the bulk of the facing on a bandless skirt or pants. You can solve this problem by using narrow, single-fold bias binding around the waist. Stitch around the waist at ⅝″ if it isn't already stay-stitched. Lay the binding flat side up on the right side of the seam allowance. One side of the binding should be right on the stay-stitching. Sew close to that edge of the binding. Extend the binding beyond the zipper on both sides by about ⅝″.

Trim the waistline seam allowance shorter than the binding, and clip the curves. Turn the binding to the back and press it flat. Wrap the ends of the binding under the seam allowance and ends of the zipper tape, and pin them flat out of the way of the zipper. Stitch close to the lower edge of the binding.

Elastic Waist

If your skirt has an elastic waist, make a casing at the top. Your guide sheet and pattern will tell you how much to turn it under and the width of elastic you should use. Leave a gap in the casing for about 2″ at the back seam to insert the elastic. Your pattern might call for a round of topstitching at the top edge of the casing.

You can replace spent elastic on a skirt or pants by opening the casing and pulling the old elastic out. If the elastic is sewn on, remove the stitches, then make a casing with extra-wide bias tape or by cutting a waistband facing from similar fabric.

Measure the elastic around your waist without stretching it. Cut it 1″ longer than comfortable. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic, and thread it through the casing. Be sure you don't accidentally pull the other end of the elastic through the casing as well. Overlap the elastic and pin the ends together with the safety pin. Try on the skirt to make any final adjustments to the elastic. Sew the layers of elastic together by stitching a square on the overlap. This will lie flatter than sewing them together like a normal seam. The square of stitching will ensure that they hold together securely.

Slip the stitched elastic into the casing, and finish sewing down the casing. If you are afraid the elastic will twist inside, stretch the waistline by pulling from several different places so the elastic is distributed evenly. Stitch in the ditch through the casing and elastic at each seam.

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