Notions: Add a Waistband to a Skirt

This is a great technique to know & can be used for Up-Cycling Vintage finds- cut the top off a Vintage dress if it doesn’t fit but make a great Skirt for instance, or if you are making a Skirt, or re-sizing a Skirt.

Once you know the Skirt fits, you can construct & attach the Waistband.

Cut a band 10cm longer then the top of your skirt, & a corresponding piece of light weight fusible Interfacing. First, iron on the Interfacing to the back of the Waistband, then Iron the Waistband in half. Finally on one side Iron under 1cm as illustrated.

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Using a nice, hot Iron fold the Waistband over & Iron along the fold. It should lie completely flat. Use your tape measure to measure the 1cm turn up as you Iron. When completed it should look like the lower illustration. 

When you are happy, attach the Waistband to the Skirt. Find the Centre Front of the Skirt by folding in half, place a pin there to mark it. Fold the Waistband in half & place a pin at the half way point of the Waistband. Match the un-ironed side Right Sides Together to the Centre Front of the Skirt as illustrated. Continue pinning all around the Skirt until you have the Waistband completely pinned to the Skirt from Zip edge to Zip edge.

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Pin at a right angle so that your sewing machine will sew straight over the pins. Leave the excess fabric at the end, do not cut it off yet!

Sew, with a 1cm Seam Allowance, from one Centre Back Zip opening the other. Remember to go backwards & forwards at the beginning & end of your seams so they don’t fall open.

Once the Waistband is attached, fold back on itself & line up the pre-ironed fold with the freshly stitched one as illustrated. On the left hand opening cut the excess Waistband fabric down to about 2cm. On the right hand opening cut the excess down to 5cm. Pin both as illustrated, & so that each centimetre Seam Allowance fold is up/back.  Stitch each closed. The Left opening stitching should run parallel with the Zip. The right approx. 3cm away from the Zip. Cut excess fabric & clip the corner.

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Try to line up the Seam Allowance folds accurately as illustrated above left. Once trimmed place at least two pins in to hold everything securely as you stitch. Remember to go back & forth at the beginning & end of each little seam! Trim & clip as illustrated above right so that when turned out a sharp point will be formed. 

Turn the Waistband out the right way, making sure the corners are sharp, & start the pin the Waistband down along the Waist every few centimetres.


Match the pre-ironed fold to the stitching around the top of the Skirt & pin. Try to match this as exactly as possible- do not pin too high or too low. 

When the Waistband has been completely pinned down as best you can, sew along the edge to hold in place. Normally I would do this by hand with a regular Slip Stitch however; for this example I have done the more commercial Machine Top Stitch which; when performed neatly, provides an excellent finish.

You will need to attach the Zipper Foot to the sewing machine before proceeding, this will enable you to stitch as close to the edge of the Waistband as possible for a neater finish however; if you do not have a Zipper Foot just use the regular Foot & be aware you need to watch carefully as you stitch to get as close as possible to the edge.

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Be aware this may take a couple of goes to get right, keep your Quick Unpick close! As illustrated in the first picture above, line the fold of the Waistband up with the Machine Stitches already sewn & pin. Then- & this is where the Zipper Foot comes in handy, because you will be able to see what you are doing- sew along this edge neatly. The finished effect should be that of the centre picture (back), & the right hand picture (front). 

Now, if you’re anything like me you’ll be off to your favourite Thrift Store to find some pieces to Up-Cycle for the Summer! Contrast colour Waistbands are super cool, if there isn’t enough matching fabric, as are contrast fabric weights- try Velvet with Lace for instance.

Hope this has inspired you, happy stitching!

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