Making a Straight Grain Waistband into a Bias Waistband

This is my quick and dirty way of turning a straight grain waistband into a bias waistband. Totally easy, peasy. Well it will be for Burda #127 at any rate. So with pattern pieces 4 and 5 respectively, 1″ seam allowances except for in those areas that you cut on the fold here we go. Take your fabric, in this case muslin. I used just some scraps that had sort of a square pattern running through it, just so that I could see how I liked it and to give you a better idea of where to place that selvedge edge. Now fabric in hand, you’re going to fold the fabric in sort of a triangle. Open up your fabric so there’s only a single layer of fabric. Fold your selvedge edge along the fabric crease in the middle of the fabric. I’m dealing with a fat quarter here for my waistband, so where the middle of my fabric crease mark is, the other side has been chopped off otherwise you would see the other half of my fabric piece. Does that make sense?

The new fold that is created is going to be where we place the waistband pieces. Now you want those pieces to create a chevron pattern at the seamline on the right and left side. To be quite frank, this messes with my brain a little and so the best way I know to do this is to make sure that as I place my pattern pieces to be cut on the fabric, both of them have to be right side up on the same fold line. And if you are trying to keep that seamline in the back waistband, just don’t cut that back waistband piece on the fold but make sure you have the seam allowance necessary for the back seam. Yes, I realize the photo above only shows one piece, but both pieces should be on this same fold. This means that you be cutting either the waistband front or back with the pattern markings and writing facing up. I know this is a little trippy. But trust me, it works. Now go ahead and cut your waistband pieces out.

After you’ve cut your waistband pieces, give them a good press and stretch them along the bias as you press. Hang them up overnight allowing the bias to stretch as much as possible. In the morning, when you are ready to hit your trouser muslin again, give them one more press and stretch and fold them back to the cutting position, reposition the waistband pattern pieces on top and cut the excess stretch off the sides.

Threadmark the pieces, baste stitch up the right side, press seam allowance open and the top edge seam allowance down. Pin and baste stitch to top trouser edge, easing in if necessary. Press seam allowances upward and give your trousers a good try on. And there you have it! For those of you who choose to do this, this is the method I’ll be using to cut the final trouser as I’m working with plaid and pinstripes. Hopefully this is a helpful alternative for those of you who want to use stripes and plaids and not have to bother with the hassle of trying to wrap your brain matching the design in this area.

OK, gear up for next week’s intensive fitting sessions. Let me know how you are doing and if by chance I’m going too fast or too slow.

  • Ashley - Thanks Sunni! I personally think the sewalong is running a great pace. I’m a little behind since I don’t have time to sew everyday, but I’ll certainly be caught up by Monday.
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  • Kristin - This is awesome! I’m a self taught sewer and as such there are huge gaps in my sewing knowledge…not to mention in my skirt and pant’s waistbands. But no more, hopefully, thanks to you!
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  • G - I understand this is for design but how is this going to affect the fit of the pants? Isn’t the waistband going to stretch when they are worn? Or is this issue addresses by the facts that 1) The waistband is let to stretch and recut and 2) the outer fabric will be cun on the grain?
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  • lin3arossa.wordpress.com - I understand this is for design but how is this going to affect the fit of the pants? Isn’t the waistband going to stretch when they are worn? Or is this issue addressed by the facts that 1) the waistband is let to stretch and recut and 2) the outer fabric will be cut on the grain?
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you Ashley! I’m so glad that the sewalong is going at a good clip for you. Pants muslins are surprisingly easy to sew up. Oh the fun we’ll have next week! Yay!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Kristin,
    I am very much a self taught stitcher as well, but its one of those things that I’m so obsessed with that any and all knowledge I’ve been able to get my hands on is how I’ve learned many things. Surprisingly, the things I learned in grade school about sewing have all been challenged by talking with other seamstresses and reading different sewing books. What I’ve come to realize is that sewing is as much about interpretation as it is about technique. Some things work for you but might not work for others. And that’s that really. Thanks for your sweet comment!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - You are 100% right about being concerned about the bias here. Yes, the bias waistband will stretch, and that’s why you need to get the stretching out of it by hanging it before sewing it. Recutting is important too. Once we get to the construction process of the final pant, the facing will not be on the bias, the waistband will be stabilized with interfacing and we’ll add a waistline stay. With all that the waistband should hold up to bullets pretty much. I’ll be showing in depth details about the construction in about 2 weeks/last part of January. This tutorial is just a stepping stone for the muslin.
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