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Remember the Pants-with-a-bow crazypants from a couple of days back? Some of you asked for a tutorial on the waistband, which I will now condescend to sort of give to you, despite an extremely pathetic lack of offers of gifts in return. I do have to warn you, however, I stopped taking pictures partway through the sewing process, because honestly, I really can’t be bothered to think about your needs when I’m sewing.  Okay, let us begin.

This tutorial assumes that you have some knowledge of how to assemble a pair of pants or a skirt with a waistband and zipper. It also assumes you have a pant/skirt pattern with a curved waistband, or that you can draft a waistband from an existing pattern or sloper. I drafted a wide, 2.5″ waistband for my pants. You should have a front waistband and a back waistband. If your pattern has a waistband that has a seam in the center back, no seams at the side, and closes in the center front, you’ll need to create a front and back waistband from it. Create the back waistband by slashing the piece where it meets pant side seam, removing any seam allowance at the center back end, and mirroring it at the center back to create an arc that will go from one side of your waist to the other. Use the other piece to create a front waistband in the same fashion, remembering to remove anything that goes past the center front, such as extended tabs, etc. If you use seam allowances on your pattern, add them back in at the sides.

Okay, with me so far? Here’s what your back waistband will look like. See how it’s mirrored at the center back? Now first, (not pictured) MAKE A COPY of your front and back waistband patterns. They will be the patterns you use for the inner waistband. This is the outer waistband. Draw a line 2″ from side edge at one side (2 5/8″ inches if you’re using a 5/8″ seam allowance) like so. I should note that I actually did my waistband drafting backwards by accident. You’ll see here that I drew this slash line at the right side of the waistband, but it should actually be at the LEFT side if you want your the bow on your left hip (I fixed this when cutting my just flipping my pattern over.)

Ok, now slash at the line you just drew. This will create your back outer waistband and side-back outer waistband pieces:

And if you’re using seam allowances, don’t forget to add them back in to both pieces:

As you can maybe see, I drew in some notches for matching.

Then do the same thing to the front outer waistband (again, I did this backwards by slashing on the left side, but I should have slashed on the RIGHT side):

In the end, here are both outer waistbands and outer side waistband pieces:

The way the construction works is that you’re going to create two long sashes, and each of them will get “sandwiched” in that slash. Make sense?

Now we draft the bow. I made each of my sashes 32″ in length. I did this by tying a mini USB cable at my waist and determining how long I wanted it to be. You could make yours longer or shorter, as you like. The important thing is that the WIDTH at the end where it meets the waistband should be THE SAME AS THE WIDTH OF THE WAISTBAND.

Start drafting the bow by drawing a line the intended length of the bow, 32″ in my case:

Then at one end of the line you just drew, square off a line that the same length as the intended finished width of your waistband.  In my case, the waistband is intended to be 2.5 inches in width after sewing, so I drew a 2.5″ long line, with my original line meeting it at the center:

At the other end of the line, square off another line. For my sashes, I wanted them longer at the bottom than at the top, so I squared off a 5″ line:

Now, connect the ends of the short lines to form the seam lines of the sash.  If you would like the bottom edge of your sash to be angled, draw that angle in:

If you’re using seam allowance, add that in as well on all sides. Here is the finished sash pattern. The center line can serve as your grainline, unless you would prefer to cut the sash on the bias (I did not):

At this point, I stopped taking a lot of photos and you’re just going to have to rely on your mind’s eye and your smarts. Cut one inner front waistband and one inner back waistband (remember the original waistbands I asked you to put aside at the very beginning?) from your fabric. Also cut one outer waistband (front and back main pieces, and front and back side pieces) from your fabric. Cut the sash twice on doubled fabric (four sash pieces in total).

With the right sides facing, pin the sash pieces along three sides, excluding the top edge where the sash meets the waistband, and stitch. Ooh, sorry for the weird photo angle:

Trim the seam allowances along the three sides, clip the corners, turn the sashes right side out, and press. That’s it, now I’ve really run out of photos.

Interface all the waistband pieces.

Take the back outer waistband and pin it to the side back outer waistband right sides facing, with one of the sashes sandwiched in between. The edges should match up with the top edge of the sash, and the sash should be centered such that it does not extend between the top and bottom seam allowances of the waistband. Stitch. You should now have a complete back outer waistband with a sash coming out of it.

Repeat the process for the front outer waistband and front sash. You should now have a complete front outer waistband with a sash coming out of it.

Stitch the front outer waistband and back outer waistband together at the right side to form a complete outer waistband with sashes. Press.

Stitch the front inner waistband and back inner waistband together at right side to form a complete inner waistband (keep in mind that the inner waistband will be facing inwards towards your body when you are wearing it, so this will look like the reverse of the outer waistband).

Assemble your pants or skirt as desired or according to the pattern instructions, leaving an opening on the left side for your zipper.

Stitch lower edge of outer waistband to top edge of pants or skirt right sides facing, being careful not to catch the sashes in the stitching. Press.

Stitch inner waistband to outer waistband right sides facing at top edges. Turn inner waistband to inside of pants and press.

Install side zip and finish inner waistband as desired. (I usually turn the seam allowance of the inner waistband to the inside, and slip stitch it to hide the seam allowances of pants and the outer waistband.)

Okay, hope you could follow all that.  If so, ta-dah! Pants with a bow!

After discovering last week that the coveted pants from Burda July 2010 were not meant to be, I pulled out my entire Burda collection and started sifting through for other flowy pant patterns, but nothing was really to my liking. And then the day before yesterday for no reason, a phrase popped into my head:

“Pants with a bow!”

It kind of stuck in my head and I said it over and over to myself, “pantswithabowpantswithabowpantswithabow…” I’m not sure if this is inspiration or mental deterioration at play, but suffice it to say I became quite fixed on the idea of “pants with a bow.” I drafted them mentally on the way to work yesterday morning, and then on paper yesterday evening (using my pant sloper), and finished off the evening by sewing them up zippy quick. Here’s how they turned out:

Super easy pants! (BTW, I love how a pair of pants that actually fits properly makes me feel so much less short- the inseam on these is a meager 27.5″, and I cut them to wear them with very high heels, so you can imagine how short my actual inseam is. But I look almost sort of tall-ish in these pants when no one is standing next to me!) They have a 2.5″ wide waistband, slightly flared legs, and a side zip. No pockets, no fly, no darts, no cuffs, just simple and clean! Here’s the rear view (kids, cover your eyes!)

(Incidentally, I really don’t care for how not blind my machine-stitched blind hem is compared to when I hem by hand. I almost always hem by hand, but I decided to give it another shot with the machine last night since it was getting late, and really, I might just unpick it and re-hem these by hand.)

And of course, there is the bow. I realize that by adding this bow, I’m reducing the wearability of these pants (you can wear a pair of basic beige pants once a week if you want, but I don’t think you can get away with giant bow crazypants quite as often), but I wanted them. With a bow. And I didn’t want some cop-out detachable bow either. I wanted the bow engineered into the pants. I just made two long tapered sashes which are sort of “inserted” into the waistband about an inch away from the side zip.

Actually, I slashed the outer waistband and inserted the sash so that there are no exposed ends. If anyone is interested, I can show you how to draft the pattern for this- it’s very simple. When the sashes are tied into a bow, it mostly hides the side closure, which is nice.

The fabric is some drapey stone beige wool that I’ve had in my stash for a long time. It’s smooth and kind of spongey and it might be wool crepe, but I don’t really recognize the weave. I think I bought it to make some basic pants a while ago, then wasn’t interested in making beige pants anymore. Recently I pulled it out again and earmarked it for the Vogue 1183 Kay Unger dress, but upon holding it up to myself in the mirror, I realized that the cool beige color does not belong anywhere near my face.

Anyway, that’s it. Some new quick-to-draft and quick-to-sew crazypants for the Selfish Seamstress. Pants with a bow! Pants with a bow! Pants with a bow!

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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