Methods To Master: Sew A Couture Waistband

Learn how to construct a couture waistband using silk organza, hair canvas and Petersham ribbon. The result is a refined, lightweight and strong waistband without unsightly ridges or bubbles from traditional fusible interfacing.

•    Skirt pattern with side-zipper closure
•    Fashion fabric (amount according to pattern, plus waistband measurements)
•    Silk organza, Petersham ribbon & hair canvas (amount according to waistband measurements)
•    Zipper (according to pattern envelope)
•    Two sets of hooks and eyes
•    All-purpose thread
•    Hand sewing needle
•    Removable fabric marker
Determine the desired skirt upper-edge placement on the body, such as the natural waistline or 1” below the natural waistline. The featured skirt sits at the natural waistline.
Measure your waistline circumference, and then add 1” for ease; record as
the waistline measurement. Add 2”to the waistline measurement for the waistband underlap and seam allowance; record as the waistband length. Add 1” to the waistline measurement; record as the interfacing length.

From the fashion fabric and silk organza, cut one rectangle each measuring 21⁄2”x the waistband length. The finished skirt waistband is 11⁄2” wide.

From Petersham ribbon, cut one rectangle measuring 11⁄2”x the
waistline measurement.

From hair canvas, cut one rectangle measuring 11⁄2”x the interfacing length.
Cut out the skirt pattern pieces, excluding the waistband, from the fashion fabric following the pattern instructions.
Use 1⁄2” seam allowances unless otherwise noted.

Construct the skirt front and back following the pattern instructions. Install the zipper into the left-skirt side seam following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Position the organza rectangle right side up on a flat work surface. Draw 1⁄2” seam allowances along the rectangle perimeter using a removable fabric marker (1).

Position the hair-canvas rectangle right side up over the organza, aligning the edges with the markings; pin.

Stitch a lengthwise line along the hair canvas 1⁄8” from one long edge. Repeat to stitch lines 1⁄4” apart along the remaining rectangle width. Stitch a vertical line 1⁄8” from the hair-canvas short end and 1⁄8” from the remaining long edge. Repeat to stitch a line on the remaining hair-canvas short end (2).


Designate the rectangle layers as the waistband interfacing.

Position the interfacing rectangle over the fashion-fabric rectangle with wrong sides together; pin. Hand baste along the perimeter (3). Designate one long edge as the upper edge.


Fold the waistband upper edge 1⁄2” toward the wrong side; press. Hand stitch the seam allowance edge to only the hair canvas. Repeat to press and stitch each short edge to the hair canvas (4).


Position the waistband lower edge and skirt upper edge with right sides together, aligning one short end with the front-left side seam opening and the opposite short end 1” beyond the back-right side seam opening; pin.

Stitch the waistband to the skirt. Press the waistband up and the seam allowances toward the waistband (5).


Evenly center two hooks along the left-waistband wrong side, aligning the hook edges with the short end; hand stitch to secure (6).


Fold each ribbon short end 1⁄2” toward the wrong side; press. Place the ribbon over the waistband with wrong sides together and 1⁄8” to 1⁄4” below the waistband upper edge; pin.
Hand stitch the ribbon perimeter to the waistband using a fell stitch, making sure to stitch the ribbon over the hooks (7).


Evenly center two eyes along the right-waistband right side, 1” from
the waistband short end; hand stitch
to secure (8).


TIP: To increase or decrease the waistband width, add or subtract the same amount to the ribbon and canvas width measurements

-Justine Abbitt

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