I recently went through my fabric stash and found some gorgeous floral fabric I had completely forgotten about. There was enough there for a top and a skirt.. or so I thought. When it came time to making the skirt, there simply wasn’t going to be enough fabric to make a waistband. I did my best to Tetris the pattern pieces around but it was no use. Determined to make it work somehow, I decided to use some of the remaining off-cuts appliqué-style on a neutral fabric base.
So here are the steps:
Firstly, I cut out the waistband piece out of plain fabric and interfaced it. I cut it longer than necessary, adding about 3 or 4 extra inches. This was a precautionary step and you may not need to do this if you’re really careful with measuring. Fold it in half lengthwise and press.
Next, I folded the waistband in half and marked the side seam, and in half again to get the centre front. If you are using commercial pattern pieces, the centre front may already be marked which is handy. You can also double check where the side seams will be (and therefore where to make the CF point) by carefully laying the waistband piece over the garment’s waist and marking the side seam points.
I fiddled around with the off cuts and chose the best ones. I actually only did this for the front of the waistband but obviously there’s no reason you couldn’t do the back as well. They fit quite well within the front section of the waistband when I lay the pieces on top.
Time to prep the scrap pieces. Mine were already the same shape which made things easy. If you are going to for symmetry, pay close attention to getting the shape identical for both pieces. I stay-stitched the diagonal edges to make sure they didn’t warp or move around. I then chopped off the excess fabric at the corners, and then folded those diagonal edges under and pressed carefully. Pressing the corners can be a bit fiddly so just take care to make sure they don’t move around too much. You want the corners to be neat so the raw edge doesn’t poke through. Then I stitched the two scrap pieces together at the centre and pressed that seam open.
Next, I aligned the appliqué pieces (which are looking rather pretty at this point) with the centre front marking on the waistband and pinned them in place. Make sure you open out the waistband before pinning the appliqué on and sewing, or you will sew through two layers of waistband to the inside (like I did!)
A final test to see how it looks against the skirt before sewing. I then sewed the appliqué pieces on, stitching close to the edge. Slow and steady here, especially when you get to the centre and need to pivot. You want the stitching to look neat because it’s visible.
I cut off any excess, overhanging bits after that.
From here onwards, it was waistband-business-as-usual. I stay stitched about 1.2cm from the top and bottom of the waistband, making sure that the stay stitching was the same length from the fold on each side. I then folded the waistband in half again, with the appliqué side facing down. From here, I folded the raw edge (of the inside of the waistband) under so that the fold line matched up with the stay line of the outer part. I pinned this fold and pressed.
I pinned the waistband to the skirt and marked where to cut the excess on the overlapping waistband ends. I then folded the ends with right sides together (and the pressed edge still folded over) and carefully sewed each one closed. I then snipped off the excess at the corner and turned the ends out, pressing again.
Ok now the final pinning of everything together. I sewed the waistband to the skirt on the stay stitching line and then pressed the seam up (into the waistband section). I used my tailors ham for this to help with all the bulk and dealing with the curve of the skirt pieces (especially around the waist pleats).
Once the waistband was pressed, it was easy to top stitch for a lovely neat finish.
And finally, I tried on the skirt, overlapping the waistbands ends, and marking where the hook and eye closures would be sewn. I sewed those on by hand and that was it!
I must say I’m quite pleased with the result. It was a bit of an experiment but it worked well. Next time I will also play around with different waistband colours for a different effect, as well as incorporating some appliqué to the back of the waistband.