There are several ways to finish the waistline of skirts and slacks. The straight waistband is the most familiar and the most popular, but a stretch waistband or a simple facing may be used. The pattern will specify a waistline treatment, but a different finish can often be substituted if desired.
Straight waistbands are a stable inflexible finish. They are made to fit the body’s waist measurement plus some allowance for wearing ease.
Stretch waistbands are flexible and can be used on knit or woven fabrics. They can be made of a combination of fabric and elastic or of a decorative elastic. If a stretch waistband is to be used on a garment without a zipper, the hips should be no more than 10 inches larger than the waist – if the difference is greater, the garment will not pull over the hips and still fit the waist snugly.
A facing provides a clean, smooth finish that does not extend above the waistline edge. Made of a lightweight fabric, it can help reduce bulk.
Starting next week, we’ll take each one of the waistbands and facings, including straight waistbands, elastic waistbands, drawstring waistbands, etc and show you how to go through each procedure to make the various types of waistbands.
These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”. This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time.