Aaaaand… we’re back! Now that the pleats, sides seams, and hem of my wrap skirt are done (as of the previous post in this series), I can get on with the waistband. In this particular pattern*, the process involves a bit more than your average waistband; being a wrap skirt, the waistband extends at one end into a tie end, and the other tie end is sewn separately, then attached at one side seam of the waistband. (Confused? So was I. All will be explained and illustrated.)
* I’m using McCall’s 5430 for this sew-along; you’ll find more information in the first post in this series. Of course, you’re welcome to use your own wrap skirt pattern, as long as you’re clear that my assembly instructions may not apply— but the sewing techniques should still be helpful!
What we’ll cover today:
- Ease-stitching the waist edge of the skirt;
- Sewing the separate tie end and basting it to the waistband;
- Sewing the outside waistband pieces together (meaning the ones that will show on the outside);
- Attaching these pieces to the skirt.
First, did you remember to do your homework? If so, your waistband pieces are already appropriately interfaced. If not, do that before proceeding— and be careful to follow the pattern instructions carefully as to which pieces get interfaced, and where; there are a lot of different pieces in this waistband, and it’s easy to get them mixed up. Which reminds me of a tip I wanted to mention:
Tip: When you’re using a pattern like this one that has multiple versions, it’s a good idea to use a highlighter to mark the steps in the instructions that only apply to your garment, thus:
Glossary: Ease-stitching simply means a line of stitching, sewn within the seam allowance and usually with a fairly long stitch length (I use 4, as a rule). The purpose is to fit a piece that’s slightly larger into a slightly smaller one by distributing the excess fabric evenly; the ease-stitching helps to control this distribution.
The general idea is the same as for creating gathers: you’ll pull on the bobbin-side thread to create gathers. Creating ease is just pulling less on the thread. This is frequently used to help shape sleeve caps, for example, so that they fit smoothly into the armhole without actual gathers.
1. Ease-stitch across the top of your skirt, just inside the 5/8″ seam allowance line.
Tip: It’s a good idea to establish certain standard ways of doing things when you sew. For example, when I ease-stitch, I always have the right side (RS) of the fabric facing me when I sew; this way, I always know that the WS is where the bobbin thread will be. You could also use a different color of thread in your bobbin to indicate where to pull the thread, since ease-stitching will never show on the outside of your garment.
Another ease-stitching tip: Do not backstitch at the ends! You’re going to want to pull those threads later.
2. Now let’s work on the waistband. First, sew the separate tie end pieces together (in this pattern, that’s pattern piece #4). At the angled end, sew a few backstitches at each corner to reinforce them; you’ll be trimming away a lot of the seam allowance later.
4. Now that the tie end is finished, we’ll baste it onto one of the waistband pieces.
Tip: Use what I call the Above & Beyond approach when basting: Start your basting above the piece that’s getting basted (the tie end, in this case), and finish beyond that piece. This helps keep the basting stitches from working their way loose. You can see how I did the same thing when basting the pleats in place.
5. Assemble interfaced pieces of waistband. Okay. For this part, I had to really look closely at the pattern instructions to figure it out. Here are the notes I added:
6. Now it’s time to attach the waistband to the skirt! Remember the ease-stitching you did earlier? We’ll see if it actually needs to be adjusted:
I think that’s plenty for today, don’t you? Next time, we’ll add the facings to the waistband we made today, add the buttons and buttonholes, and then we’re done! (Wow, already?)
Homework: Go ahead and sew your remaining waistband pieces (#5, 6, 7) together; that’s just the 2 side seams. And let me know how you’re doing with your skirt!
Coming up next: We’ll finish the waistband, nay, the entire skirt, by adding the waistband facings, then finishing with buttons and buttonholes. We’re on the home stretch!
Want more sewing stuff from Colormusing? Check out myBratelier (lingerie sewing, including bras!), and Changing Your Clothes, which covers everything from repairs & alterations to dyeing and remaking thrift-shop finds.