I have an old, over sized sweater with holes in the cuffs and a broken zipper that I curl up in almost every night, in my favorite chair with my book of choice. Do you know why I hang on to that unsightly piece of textile year after year? Because it’s comfortable. Comfort is a valuable consideration in all my clothing choices. I really don’t see the point of sacrificing my comfort for the sake of a piece of clothing. Which is my biggest argument for knowing how to sew. I can make what I want, how I want, out of whatever I want, to fit how I want it to fit.
Today, I’m going to show you how to sew a very basic, very comfortable, yoga style knit waist band. You need some type of knit fabric, mine was a knit/spandex mix. You don’t need a pattern, but you do need to know your waist measurement, and the measurement of the top of whatever skirt your attaching it to. We aren’t going to cover the making of a skirt here, just how to make the waist band and attach it to the skirt. I should probably point out, that I am an avid proponent of drawing out your own pattern. You’ll get the correct fit every time, because it isn’t made to fit a generic person, it’s made to fit you!
Let’s begin with a square. You need it to be two inches LESS than the width of the top of your skirt. (If your fabric does not have much stretch, only subtract one inch.) You want it to be 16 inches high. A 16 inch waistband will translate down to an 8 inch finished waist band. If you fold over the waist band it will be four inches finished. So, to simplify, my squares (don’t forget you need two of them!!) here are 20 inches wide (because the top of my skirt was 22 inches) by 16 inches high.
I always start off my patterns with a basic shape, like a square or rectangle. Then I add in the shape it needs to fit my body. A woman’s waist typically curves in at the sides, some more than others. We need to adjust this waistband to follow that curve. Put a dot two inches from the side, in the middle of the waist band. (If your fabric is not very stretchy, only measure in ONE inch. If your body type is an hourglass figure, you may need to cut in more than two inches.)
Now, use a french curve ruler, (or eyeball it) and curve the sides in at the place you marked.
Do it to both sides, and your square should now look like this!
Sew along the curved lines. I used my serger, but you can easily do it on a regular machine too. Just set your stitch to the longest zig-zag you can make, and use a walking foot if you have one.
Fold the waistband down, like a hotdog, so that the seam is now invisible. The RIGHT side of the fabric should be facing out!
Turn it upside down, so the raw edges are at the top, and slip inside your skirt. (Your skirt should already be sewn together at the side seams.) Your skirt should be WRONG side out! Pop a pin at the sides and centers to hold it in place.
Sew around the top to connect it to the skirt. Keep all three raw edges lined up together as you sew. Don’t forget, the waist band is smaller than the skirt top, so you’ll have to stretch it slightly as you sew.
Flip it all right side out, fold down your new waistband, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!
This fabric had such an interesting border to it, that I decided to make it the main feature of the skirt as a handkerchief hem. It has little slits on the sides, which you can’t really see, that make it wonderfully flowy to wear. The fabric print feels a little exotic to me, like I ought to throw a turban in my hair and go to World Market and shop for scones or something while I’m wearing it. (I don’t actually shop for scones, just in case you were wondering. I’m not that cultured.)
At any rate, this style waist band gets a ten on the scale of comfort in my book! It’s well worth the trouble of learning how to make it. Once you’ve figured your system out, you can easily make a skirt in under a half hour…which is very handy for those of us who regularly have “I have nothing to wear” moments! You can also adapt it for a child’s skirt, or add it to your favorite pj pant pattern.
Well, I’m going to scurry off into the sunshine, and enjoy my Labor Day off….and I hope you do too!
Psalms 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: