Monday, 20 August 2012

D.I.Y: Drafting a Sweetheart Waistband

I personally think that waistbands are an opportunity for flair and character that is lost on modern clothing.  Pants and skirts end simply, bluntly, with no attempt to reinforce the aesthetic of the piece, except perhaps through the fastenings.  Boring!
So today we're looking to the fitted waistband, and how we can add some interest without detracting from the rest of the skirt, and still creating a nice trim waist!

This DIY does not cover sewing techniques for the waistband, we'll get to that for later.  I just hope this encourages you to think about waistbands differently when you are designing your own pieces to sew!

1. Draw out your basic block.  For mine I determined the total height of the waistband (3", sloping down to 2" for an elasticated back), with the length of the piece being half of your total waist measurement.  

2. Draw on your desired look.  Since I did the scalloped hem tutorial, I decided to do a sweetheart waistline and keep the trend going.
I probably should not have used my curve stencil straight from the drying rack.  Ooops!

3. Using a ruler, draw a straight line down to the lowest point on your waistband, creating an angle you find pleasing.  Sloping all the way down to the corner creates the gentlest slope, bringing the outside end of that slope closer in to the centre makes it steeper. 

4. Go over the slope and add some curve to it so it blends into the rest of the waistband naturally.  I sloped mine down to 2", as I plan to use 2" elastic for the back of the waistband.  

5. Label your waistband, and cut it out. Because I plan on having the waistband symmetrical, I decided to create the pattern such that it requires to be cut on the fold (indicated with those 2 arrows in the centre-front).  

6. To create the top edge of the waistband when it is decorative, simply line with interfacing and sew exactly like the scallops DIY, or stay tuned for another tutorial with sewing instructions for the half-elasticated sweetheart waistband! 

In fact, you could use the scallops tutorial to create a fully scalloped waistband! This would only work for skirts or pants with zipper or button closures.  However, for a half-elastic waistband such as this one, you can make the structured front of the waistband scalloped.  Fun!

I like to label all of my pieces to keep well organized.  I create most of my own patterns, so knowing what everything is (and what article I made it for) is essential! I also like to mix and match, so it's good to know I can find the sleeve I drafted for a labcoat, when I decide it's just right for the trench coat I am making.  

What shape of waistband are you going to add to your next sewing project?



  1. Cool! I would love to see how it turned out!



    1. Hey Marielle,
      This post is part of a series that will culminate in a completed skirt. I find the thought of drafting a pattern can be daunting, so I gave it its own complete post so it doesn't seem so bad! I'll be editing the posts to properly reflect this.
      Check back soon for the elasticated back tutorial, complete with photos!


  2. This is making me miss sewing clothes properly, with patterns and all. Cannot wait to see the final skirt :)


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