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The Good Times Skirt | waistband tutorial

THE GOOD TIMES SKIRT | waistband tutorial

We’re really excited to share with you our new pattern The Good Times Skirt!

I really love the contrast waistband detail. The zip finishes right at the top of the band giving a crisp, clean look and also means we have no buttonhole to deal with! And while this tutorial is meant for The Good Times Skirt, you may well find some useful tips for any waistband!

ABBREVIATIONS | 

WS: wrong side | RST: right side together | RSU: right side up | RS: right side | SA: seam allowance | WB: waistband

METHOD |

You should have completed up to STEP 17 of your instructions and are now ready to pop on the waistband.

INTERFACING THE WAISTBAND |

I designed The Good Times Skirt to use the WRONG SIDE of the denim as the FACE SIDE (the RS of the cloth, AKA the side on show to the world) for a contrast waistband. Therefore, the interfacing will be fused onto the darker side (normally RS) of the cloth. You can, of course, use either side of the fabric. It’s up to you if you want a contrast waistband or not – it’s your skirt after all! I’m going to refer to the finished (seen by the world) face side of the waistband as RS or RSU, no matter which side of the fabric you’ve decided to use.

I’ve used slotted waistband interfacing (a) because I had it, (b) it’s easy to get hold of and (c) because it showed well in photographs. It is quite a stiff interfacing but it’s been OK to wear especially after washing – I’ve actually been wearing this skirt for over a year. Depending on your denim and how you like the waistband to feel you may prefer to use something softer, I’d suggest a medium weight fusible interfacing. Test out different interfacings on a scrap of your fabric first and then block fuse your waistband. Jeans are often done without any interfacing, if that’s your preference, but the waistband may stretch!

STAYSTITCH | I don’t mention this in the instructions, but you may like to staystitch the waist of the skirt before you start to prevent it from stretching. Denim is quite a stable cloth so I didn’t do this step and, with the exception of very fluid fabrics, I rarely staystitch anything if the truth be told. If you prefer to staystitch or will be trying your skirt on a lot as you make it and are concerned the waist may stretch staystitching will be a good option.

TO STAYSTITCH THE WAIST | In the seam allowance stitch with your normal stitch length from the side seam to the centre of the waist. Repeat from the other side seam back to the centre again.

NEATEN |

Once your waistband is interfaced, one of the long edges needs to be neatened. You could overlock (serge) or zigzag stitch in a matching or a contrasting colour, or finish with Hong Kong binding. Press in half to give you a centre fold line (that’ll be handy later when it’s time to pop the zip in).

Next pin WB and skirt with RST with edges aligned, match notches with seams and be sure to make sure the WB SA extends 1.5cm beyond the skirt at the zip opening.

The skirt eases very slightly onto the waistband to help fitting over tummies! 

Wrap the 1.5cm SA around to the WS of the skirt and pin.

Stitch the waist seam closed with a 1cm SA. It’s a good idea to check now your waist seam lines up on either side of the zip opening and fix it if necessary.

The corner of the waistband is going to be bulky so clip the corner and grade the waist seam. To grade the seam, carefully trim the SA on the skirt by half. Press the waist seam flat.

This is the Instagram worthy picture…

TIP | If this corner is still a little bulky and thick (depending on your choice of denim, it may be) my tip is to hit it with a hammer. 

…this is the reality!

Yep, a hammer – oh, what fun! Now, you don’t want to damage the skirt, so protect your garment by laying it on an offcut of denim and cover the area with a double layer of denim and gently whack with a hammer to flatten. Press the area with your iron again. Gently repeat if necessary! This is an incredibly useful tip for hemming Jeans too. Also, very therapeutic – enjoy!

The last step! Turn the waistband to RS and press waistband and SA upwards, away from skirt body.

TIP | Check again that your waist seam is level and not staggered – the zip opening should be exactly the same length on each side. If it’s not even now it’s easy enough to go back and restitch one side so they do line up, don’t wait until you’re putting the zip in to find out!

So that’s the waistband done, next stop…the zip!

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