A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo on Instagram of a pair of shorts I had made with Thread Theory Design’s Jutland pants pattern. One of my followers asked how I constructed my waistbands. Since I like the pants so much, I made another pair and I decided to document this aspect of the construction and share it here.
This particular pattern uses a self piece and a liner to create the waistband. I have yet to make a lined pair of pants, so I just use a doubled piece of self fabric for the waistband. These are summer shorts and made from light fabric. To give it more structure and strength, I use a fusible hair canvas inside. The hair canvas is cut without the seam allowance, so as not to add any additional bulk.
After this prep work I pin the waistband to the pants. I start at the left side of the pants, since the hair canvas can add some bulk to the end seams. I want this bulk to be behind the fly, on the right side of the pants. While pining, I make sure to stretch the waistband some, because I want it to be what determines the fit, not the part of the pants below it. I have some earlier examples of pants I made where the band is looser than the pants themselves. Not a good thing.
Since I have the hair canvas cut without the 5/8″ seam allowance, I can use it as a guide to my stitching. I stop and start right at the edge of the pants, not the edge of the waistband, which sticks out by a seam allowance. Below you can see the inside of the pants with the waistband folded open behind it.
After this I trim the ends of the zipper off and the work on the waistband ends begins. Working from the inside of the pants, I fold the fly of the pants under a 45° angle back onto itself, right next to the seam we just stitched. I then hold it there in place with a pin. Make sure you don’t fold it over the seam stitching because we’ll be sewing over that line again in a moment and we don’t want to catch this fabric. We just hold it here so it is out of the way. We then fold the waistband over this and pin it in place. The waistband is now folded against the crease we pressed into it earlier.
I now turn the whole thing over and add two more pins to keep the waistband nicely folded onto itself. I’ll be stitching through all the layers and I don’t want it to shift. Then I put it under the machine, aligning the needle exactly with our previous stitching. The stitching will be from a couple of inches in to the end of the waistband.
I will lock the beginning with a couple of backward stitches and stitch along the previous stitch line towards the end. It is key to go just to the end, but not beyond it. To make sure, I stitch to almost the end, and then go one stitch at a time. I’ll lift the foot, and look between the layers of the waistband to see if I can see the needle. At first you’ll see the fabric of the fly between the layers of the waistband. But the needle will show when you have just gone beyond that fabric.
It is then time to turn the fabric a quarter turn and sew straight across the waistband. Finish off by locking the stitches with a couple of backwards ones.
Now I remove the pins and trim the corners and all the excess fabric to reduce bulk.
Next, turn it right side out and use the point turner to get the corners crisp. You should have the side of the waistband nicely line up with the side of the fly. And the inside of the waistband is now stitched to the pants for a couple of inches.
Now it is time to press the inside of the waistband under, just along the stitch line that attached the outside of the waistband. Press this well, for it will make for an easier job top stitching and it will make the end result look so much better. I like to pin the inside to pants at strategic intervals, just to make sure the waistband fabric we’re catching with the top stitching isn’t moved ahead of the rest by the feed dogs.
Now all that is left is running the top stitching along the whole waistband, making sure we catch the inside of the waistband.
And with that, the waistband is done.
Bartack the belt loops in place, make the buttonhole and it’s done.
Please let me know if you found this useful.