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Half-Elastic Waistband Tutorial 
29th-Sep-2009 09:12 am
VM thought

I’ve wanted to try out this method of sewing half-elastic waistbands with one continuous piece ever since theosakakoneko shared her amazing results on sew_loli. And boy, I’m never going back. It’s so much easier and cleaner than trying to do the flat section and the elastic section in two pieces, then trying to join them together smoothly. Plus all of my half-elastic brand skirts are sewn like that with a single piece of waistband. Anyhow, I worked up this tutorial so I can share it with everyone.

First, make your skirt. I did a very simple rectangle skirt with two horizontal pintucks. To add pintucks to a rectangle skirt, just add to the total length, the width of the pintucks times two times the number of pintucks. For example, I typically wear 21" long skirts and the two pintucks are each 1/2" wide. So my fabric length has to be 21+0.5*2*2 = 23" plus seam allowance.

As you'll see, because I only had one yard of this fabric and stubbornly wanted to do pintucks anyway, I not only needed to use a white underskirt, the waistband ended up narrower than what I usually make also. But I grab it from my stash. Hurray for stash reduction!

Install your zipper. Or if you’re making a half elastic skirt without the zipper, just seal up both of the side seams.

Now you need to do some math. This is the hardest part of the entire tutorial, I swear. WARNING: None of my calculations below includes seam allowance!!! Don’t forget to add it in when you do your own.

First, determine how much elastic you want in the waist band. For a 27” waist, I picked arbitrarily 10 inches to be elastic because I like having the flat waistband on the sides. BTW, I’ll be using 27” as an example for the rest of the tutorial.

(A) Calculate half of your total waist. 27/2 = 13.5” (This is your front flat waistband.)
(B) Calculate how much flat waistband you need in the back. 10*2=20" (This is what you will gather.)
(C) Calculate how much flat waistband you need in the back on either side of the elastic. (13.5-10)/2 = 1.75”

Your total length of your waistband is 13.5+10*2+1.75*2+1.5 =38.5” The 1.5” is for the tab that your hook eye thing will be sewn on. Times 2 is the ratio your elastic section will gather at. You can increase or decrease it depending on personal preference. (If you’re doing this without a zipper, please skip the 1.5” and just sew the two ends of the waistband together like a tube.)

The width of your waistband depends on the width of your elastic. I used 5/8” for this skirt. When you make your channels, make sure to leave at least 1/8” of space for the elastic. So my channels should be at least 3/4” wide each. I’m using two channels for this skirt, but I usually like to use three. Again personal preference. My final waistband width should be 0.75*2*2 = 3” plus seam allowance.

Now cut out your waistband interfacing. One piece is (A)+(C) = (13.5+1.75) = 15.25” long. The other piece is 1.75”+1.5” long. (If you’re doing this without a zipper, please skip the 1.5”.)

Bond the interfacing to the waistband like above. The top is your front flat section of the waist band, the side is your future elastic section, and the bottom last bit will be the last flat part and the hook eye tab.

Press down the longitudinal center. Press seam allowance on one side as shown above. (Tip: Try to keep the pressed seam allowance side a tad longer than the one on the other side. It’ll help you in the waist band installation. I did this sloppily and as you’ll see it came back to bite me later. )

Find the middle point of your elastic section. (It should at the center of 20”) Mark it with a pin.

Baste or pin it to the center back of your skirt. Work from the center outwards. Stitch it down.

Now gather the rest of your skirt and baste it on to the flat section of your waistband.

Make sure you leave that 1.5" for the tab on the shorter flat section end.

Stitch it down and clip seams to reduce bulk.

On the ends, fold over the waistband and stitch across. Miter the corners and flip inside out. Now ain’t that neat?

Stitch the bottom seam for the elastic section ONLY. You can do stitch-in-the-ditch or do top stitching like I did above. Stitch your channels. 3/4" apart in this case.

Insert the elastic. I use safety pins to worm my way through. But watch out for the other end. Profanities have been known to fly freely when certain people lose that other end. I usually anchor that with another safety pin to the fabric.

When you’ve finished threading both channels, carefully remove the safety pins and stitch vertically across on both sides to secure. Elastic section complete! No sweat!

You're through the woods! Now the simple last step is to finish stitching the flat sections of your waistband.

I didn’t press very well as you can see, so the inside seam is all over the place. XD Nonetheless, this method leaves no unfinished seams, not too bulky, and pretty straight forward in my opinion.

Now you can add your hook eye enclosure to the top of your zipper, which I haven’t gotten to around yet. I suck at hand sewing so I avoid it as much as possible, lol.

My skirt is super short because of that yardage shortage so I’ll be wearing it with a white ruffle underskirt.

If you have any questions about any of the steps, please don’t be afraid to ask. That’s how I can keep improving the tutorial. Also, if you ever decide to try this out, I’d love to see your creations on sew_loli.

x-posted to sew_loli and my journal.
29th-Sep-2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
That's a lovely skirt and this is is a very nice tutorial!
30th-Sep-2009 02:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
(Deleted comment)
30th-Sep-2009 02:25 am (UTC)
XD I wish! Thank you so much!
29th-Sep-2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
fantastic tutorial :)
that fabric and skirt in general is beautiful aswell
30th-Sep-2009 02:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so happy I finally used that fabric. It's been sitting around for years and years.
29th-Sep-2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
I just added this to my memories! :)
Thanks so much for the awesome tutorial.
30th-Sep-2009 02:36 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. I hope you can get some use out it. :)
(Deleted comment)
30th-Sep-2009 02:26 am (UTC)
Haha, I'm glad you can decipher my paint scribbles.
29th-Sep-2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
adding this to my memories and i'm printing it for my sewing book. then i'll print it again in color so i can have all of your lovely pictures.

i only wish that you had posted this a week earlier, as i was trying to do this to a skirt i was making and that ended up as fail.
30th-Sep-2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much. Best of luck on your next project. :)
29th-Sep-2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Very nice Tutorial! Thank you ^^
29th-Sep-2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Such a pretty skirt....*sigh*
30th-Sep-2009 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
29th-Sep-2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you!this is a really nice tutorial. I think yours has explained probably some of the obvious things about a half elastic that no one ever included but I still didn't fully understand!
30th-Sep-2009 02:17 am (UTC)
Which part did you get stuck on? Maybe I can still help.
29th-Sep-2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
Great tutorial and NICE skirt, many thanks n_n
29th-Sep-2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
Added to the memories!! ^^
30th-Sep-2009 02:17 am (UTC)
Thank you!!!
29th-Sep-2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Great tutorial! Also, that skirt is beautiful with the underskirt. It just really seems to pull everything together.
30th-Sep-2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! I knew the skirt was going to be indecently short, so I'm very happy that the underskirt idea worked out. :)
29th-Sep-2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
that is an amazing tutorial! Your sewing is very professional looking, and I love the colourscheme of the fabric - it's really pretty<3
30th-Sep-2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It makes me very happy to hear that.
29th-Sep-2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
I was literally just wishing last night that a tutorial exactly like this existed here. Thank you so much!!!
30th-Sep-2009 02:46 am (UTC)
I must've sensed it somehow, lol. Very glad I could help.
29th-Sep-2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
You've just read my mind^^ This tutorial is great and exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much!!!
30th-Sep-2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you can find use for it.
29th-Sep-2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
how useful!
29th-Sep-2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this, I am working on a skirt where I wanted to use this, but I had to figure out exactly how to do it.
Thanks to your tutorial I don't have to cause myself a headache anymore.
29th-Sep-2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Hooray, thanks for posting this! I hope I can use it soon.
29th-Sep-2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Lovely skirt! And thanks sooo much this is way better looking and easier then the way I do it
29th-Sep-2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
wow you continue to amaze me.
29th-Sep-2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Im going to try this. I do my half waistband so different but yours looks a hell of a lot nicer!
29th-Sep-2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
That's a great tutorial, thank you for sharing!
29th-Sep-2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
thanks for making this tutorial! I had a hard time trying to figure out how am i suppose to sew the waistband in >_<
and you have neat sewing! <3
29th-Sep-2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
What a gorgeous skirt! And thanks a lot for the tutorial; I do my waistbands different, but yours are so much nicer, so I'll probably switch to this way!
29th-Sep-2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
what a beautiful skirt and nice tutorial ^__^! I shall definately try to do this your way, since I normally sew it the other way, I close all of the flat section and in the end do the elastic part~
Waistbands have always been such a huge pain in the ass for me, since Im totally obsessed in having the seam to be precisely equal on each side @__@.. the day I find the perfect technique Ill be the happiest person in the world XD
30th-Sep-2009 02:53 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always hated to do half elastic waists too because they always turn out slightly strange. This way seems easier, but I still haven't perfected it. Please share your technique when one day you do find it. XD
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