January 30, 2011

Bias Waistband Fun-ness

Behind the scenes of this sewalong, I've been trying to stay a few steps ahead. It was in this spirit that I put together a black pinstriped pair of Burda #127. It was also in this spirit that I found my efforts with the bias waistband foiled. It continued to bubble even though I had let the bias section hang for days and then tried a number of different stabilizers and put the facing on the striaght grain. Still no luck. Still there was bubbling and it looked as if I had a very weird body problem going on in the waist. And I can't just put the waistband on the straight grain. There is NO WAY I'm matching the plaids, stripes or any other imaginable design on these trousers with the waistband. IMPOSSIBLE! The pleats and darts do not allow it. I'm a real stickler for these types of things too and so I soon found that I had to make the bias thing work somehow.

Thankfully, I'm here to tell you what works. Hopefully you still have a few extra scraps of your trouser fabric left to make amends for this. I began to seriously look at some RTW trousers. This past week, I poked around in my closet, looking for some pants to wear and remembered that indeed, I don't really have any that fit quite right at the moment. The whole reason I'm making these new ones. And then these old pinstriped blackies caught my eye. A rather rotten polyester pair, that don't fit and have not yet been tossed into the recycling pile. And then of course, I saw the "epiphany." As you can see, these pants have a waistband that is cut on the bias. In fact, they have a waistband that is cut in two pieces, both on the bias, both create a chevron pattern (meaning that each was cut on a different bias to correspond) then stitched together and this creates a waistband that will not bubble. The pulling effect from the top section cut on the bias cancels out the pulling effect of the bottom section cut on the bias and vice versa. I'm sorry, but this is seriously cool to me. Do you realize that not only does this create a more interesting design for the trousers themselves whilst also solving the problem of matching patterns whilst also creating a beautiful fit in the waistband? Three birds with one stone. Please tell me that a cry of delight just escaped your lips! One escaped mine and at that moment, you could have never met a happier girl. Let me show you how to create it:

Altering the Paper Pattern

Let's create a new waistband pattern from the old one first. Take your waistband pieces and trace them out onto a fresh piece of paper. Measure the vertical length of your waistband and divide it in half. Mark this length down from the top all the way across the middle of your waistband. Label your waistband pieces and cut them out.

Each piece will need to have a seam allowance added to it now for the middle of the waistband where the two pieces (waistband top and waistband bottom) are stitched together. For this step you can retrace the newly formed pattern pieces and add a seam allowance; tape a seam allowance on; or add the seam allowance when you cut the pattern from the fabric. I chose to tape a seam allowance on. I added a 1/2" seam allowance, but you are welcome to add whatever seam allowance you like. After all was said and done, I made sure to label my seam allowances so as to avoid confusion.

Cutting the Fabric

Using my aforementioned quick and dirty way of cutting bias waistbands cut your newly formed waistband pieces out. Please note that this is only for the shell of the trousers. The interfacing and the facing will still be cut on the straight grain. Please also note that though my photo shows two of the pieces facing downwards on the fabric, all should be facing up. I was experimenting with something, but all should be facing up on the fabric.


Stitch the top waistband piece to the bottom waistband piece for both the front and the back waistbands, right sides together. Make sure your bias pieces form a chevron pattern across the seamline. Press the seam open. At this point, reposition the newly formed waistband pieces onto the original waistband pattern and cut any excess.

Attach the interfacing of your choice to the waistband pieces at this point. I've kind of got a soft spot for this fusible knit interfacing. Oddly, I find that for certain things it acts as a sort of "spider web," being soft yet giving just the right kind of support and it gives support in a net like fashion. It's rather cool if I do say so myself.

With right sides together, stitch the front waistband to the back waistband at the right side. Press seam open. Do the same for the waistband facing.

Stitch waistband to waistband facing along the top edge, right sides together. For added stability and resistance to stretch, add a waistband stay by applying a piece of grosgrain ribbon or seam binding to the seamline. Understitch facing. Press facing to wrong side of waistband. Press up the hem on the facing.

Now you are ready to stitch your waistband to your trousers. It goes on rather well after this point. This post was supposed to be up yesterday, so sorry. A day late and a dollar short as they say. Tomorrow its the zipper. More a re-post really. Otherwise, I do hope you are all doing well with your trousers and I do hope today's waistband post was kind of inspiring. It's fun to share fun-ness with you.

Until tomorrow then.


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