Sew-alongs · Sewing for Argentine Tango · Sewing Techniques · Skirts · Tango Skirts

Wrap Skirt Sew-Along 4: Finishing the Waistband

Now that we’ve got the main part of your waistband/tie ends constructed, we just need to add the facings to the waistband, do some hand-stitching to finish the waistband invisibly, then complete the skirt with buttons and buttonholes. We’re almost done!

Almost done!
Here’s what my skirt looked like at the end of the last sewing session: Waistband and ties are sewn to the skirt, but still need facings (note the raw edges at the very top).

Note: After looking at the dozens of photos I took while finishing my skirt, I’ve decided to split the completion of the skirt into 2 parts. This one will get you through the waistband/tie end facings (including instructions for doing the hand-stitching), and the second will cover the buttons and buttonholes.

Let’s start by sewing our remaining pieces together.

Sewing waistband facings together
1. Sew your waistband/tie facing pieces together; press seams.

Tip: You’ll notice I’ve pressed my seams open, rather than serge the edges and press them to one side. There are 2 reasons I chose to do this. 1: These seam allowances will be completely covered; they won’t show at all. And 2: My fabric is fairly substantial, and I decided that pressing the seams open would result in less bulk at the seams.

This is an individual choice, based on your particular set of circumstances. If, for example, your fabric is inclined to ravel a lot, you may want to serge the edges to control this. But do think about the additional bulk, not only from the 2 layers of seam allowance pressed to one side, but also from the serger threads. It does make a difference.

Now let’s sew the facing to the skirt. Make that pin the facing to the waistband already in place:

Pin facing in place
2. Pin facing in place, to existing waistband. When you sew the facing to the waistband, you’ll start stitching where your original waistband seam left off (where the arrow is pointing).
Pinning the other end of the facing
Pinning the other end of the facing in place. (Facing is the bottom layer, not really visible here except the small corner under the pink arrow.) You’ll start your stitching at that arrow.

I know it’s a lot of pinning (and don’t forget to match the side seams), but stick with it! All this preparation really does make the sewing part easier.

Now, starting at the short end (the end without the long tie end extension), sew the facing to the waistband, beginning where the pink arrow indicates in the above photo. Go all the way across the waistband, and around the end of the tie.

Tip: Remember to back-stitch in the corners, before and after pivoting, to reinforce them:

Reinforcing corners
3. When sewing the facing to the waistband, remember to back-stitch on both sides of each corner; this will reinforce the corners to help get a sharper point when you turn the band right-side out. (In the photo, I’ve already trimmed some of the seam allowances, graduating down towards the corner.)

When you’re done sewing all the way around, trim the seam allowances around the corners of the tie end, and the 1 corner at the opposite end of the waistband, gradually trimming closer to the stitching in the corners (see above photo). This helps reduce bulk in those corners.

One more thing to do before turning everything right-side out: Clip the waistline, in the seam allowances:

Clip waistline seam
Clip about halfway into the waist seam allowance, about every 2-3″.

Tip: Why clip this seam? You’ve probably already noticed that the waistband is actually curved (not just a long rectangle); clipping eases that curve as it goes around your body, making it fit better, as well as feel more comfortable.

Go ahead and turn everything right-side out now, including the long tie end. (If you need help turning those tight corners on the end of the tie, see my tips in this previous post.)

Press the waistband seam
4. Press the top-of-waistband seam. Pressing this seam open first, as shown here, will really help get a nice crisp edge when you fold the facing to the inside and press again.
Pressing the tie end.
To get a nice sharp edge on the tie end, fold it so the seam is towards the center (pink arrow), then press the seam flat as far as you can into the corner. Repeat with the seam on the other side, then refold the tie so the seams are on the edges, and press again.
Press facing edge under
Finally, press the facing edge under 5/8″, fold facing to inside of skirt, and press seamline at top of waistband. Now we can stitch the facing down on the inside.

Are you ready for some hand-stitching?? This is a very nice way to finish off the facing, plus, if you’re not yet familiar with the slip-stitching technique, this is the perfect way to practice it! (It’s the same stitch I use to do a hand-stitched hem, and various other sewing tasks.)

The pattern instructions merely say to slip-stitch the facing down; I’m going to show you not only exactly how to slip-stitch, I’ll also show you my tricks for making all your thread ends disappear inside the facing!

Tip: Don’t start with too much thread— it will only get tangled up and frustrate you. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) I usually pull out about an arm’s length of thread to start.

Pin facing down on inside of skirt
5. First, pin the facing in place on the inside of the skirt, matching seamlines at sides; line up the folded edge of the facing with the waist seamline.
Start hand-stitching facing
Tie a knot in the end of your doubled thread, than anchor your thread in the seam allowance, as shown here.
Knot your thread.
Pull thread through seam allowance, leaving a tail; use this tail to tie 2 knots here. You’ll tuck the tail inside the facing as you proceed.

Now to show you the slip-stitch! (If you’re already familiar with this, go on ahead; you may want to see how I finish it off at the end so no thread ends are left in the open.)

Beginning slip stitch
Slip-stitching: 1) Insert needle through a stitch from the waist seamline (white arrow); 2) Pick up a few threads from the folded edge of the facing (pink arrow). This should be at an angle, a little further along than the white arrow; the aim is to create a zig-zag sequence (see next photo).
Slip-stitching the facing
Work your way across, first catching a thread from the seamline, then a bit of the folded facing edge; angling your stitches creates this zig-zag effect.
Finishing slip-stitch
When you get to the other end, make sure all seam allowances are tucked inside the facing, then pull needle through a loop of thread and tighten. Don’t cut your thread yet!
Finishing slip-stitch
It’s hard to see here, I know, but the arrow is pointing to where I’m pushing my needle through the facing. Red Alert: Don’t let your needle go through the other side (outside) of the waistband, and don’t lose your needle inside the facing!
Trim thread ends
To finish, pull thread through the facing; while putting tension on the thread, clip the thread ends close to the facing. The cut ends should disappear inside the facing.

There! A perfectly-finished waistband facing!

How’s your skirt coming along? I’d love to see it, and would be thrilled to post your photos in a sew-along follow-up post! Just e-mail me ( to let me know, okay?

Homework: If you’ve completed your skirt with the waistband shown in this post — no homework! Oh, you might just make sure you have 2 buttons that are nice and flat, since they’ll be going on the inside of your skirt’s beautifully-finished waistband.

Coming up next: Yes, we will actually finish this skirt next time! We’ll be making buttonholes and sewing buttons to the inside of the waistband, and that’s it!


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.

And don’t miss all my color-palette-related excitement at the  A Musing blog! (Click on the dots above to visit my mother ship,


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