I’ll discuss two methods for attaching your skirt waistband today. The first will be using a modern fusible interfacing and the second is for sew-in interfacings (such as organza or hair canvas).
For this method you’ll need your fabric waistband piece, fusible interfacing that works with the weight of your material (see the supply post for suggestions), an iron, and press cloth. (Note: You may want to first “shrink” your fusible interfacing if you so desire. There are various methods for doing this from soaking the interfacing in warm water to steaming the piece prior to fusing. I suggest trying a couple methods and seeing what suits you best!)
Begin by cutting a strip of your sew-in interfacing the length of your waistband and 1/2 the width. Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. (If your fabric doesn’t hold a good crease, thread trace this center line.)
With the wrong side of the fabric waistband up, place one long edge of the interfacing along the stitched traced/foldline down the center length of the waistband (about 5/8” from the bottom edge). The fusible side of the interfacing strip should be facing the fabric.
Place the press cloth over your waistband. With your iron set to the appropriate settings for your interfacing and fabric, fuse the interfacing to the waistband. Remove the press cloth, let the fabric cool and check that the interfacing has properly fused.
For this method you’ll need your fabric waistband piece, a sew-in interfacing fabric (see the supply post for suggestions), and silk thread in addition to your other sewing supplies.
Begin by cutting a strip of your sew-in interfacing the length of your waistband and 1/2 the width. Thread a single strand of silk thread on a needle. Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. (If your fabric doesn’t hold a good crease, thread trace this center line.)
With the wrong side of the fabric waistband up, place one long edge of the interfacing along the traced line/foldline down the center length of the waistband. Secure with a few pins. Baste the long edge along the foldline with long basting stitches (these will be removed later).
Using the silk thread, tack at one end with a few backstitches. Catchstitch the short sides and bottom of the interfacing. Only catch the interfacing (not the waistband underneath), and then in the seam allowances of the waistband.
Now we’re ready to sew the waistband to the skirt! First, make sure that the top stop of your zipper clears the seam allowance area. I generally like to make sure this is about 3/4” below the cut edge of the waistline (my 5/8” seam allowance, plus 1/8”). Either way, make sure you sew carefully around this area as we sew through all the layers!
Attaching the Waistband – Method #1
Stay stitch along the waistline edge of the skirt, about 1/2” from the edge.
Fold the seam allowance of the long waistband edge without the interfacing to the wrong side. Press.
Fold the waistband right sides together, and stitch across the short edge, from the center foldline to the folded seam allowance (on the side without interfacing). Repeat on the other short edge.
Clip the corners and turn right side out; press. Give those corners a good press (use a blunt tool—like a large knitting needle—to gently poke the corners out if needed). I like using my clapper to get a good, flat edge after steaming the fabric.
Pin the interfaced side of the waistband, right sides together, along the waist of the skirt. On the front edge, line up the short edge evenly with the zipper/side seam. On the back there will be excess waistband (approximately 1”) that will form an underlap tab.
Baste if your fabric is slippery. Stitch using a regular stitch length.
Now is a good time to check that there are no puckers along the waistline seam as above. If there are, rip out that section of stitches, smooth out the excess ease and re-stitch! Press the seam allowances towards the waistband. Give the waistband a good press from the right side too.
Pin down the loose inside edge of the waistband to the waistline of the skirt. If your fabric is slippery, I recommend basting this edge.
Using a needle and single strand of thread, slipstitch the waistband to the waistline. I usually try to do this along the original waistband stitching line, or even in the seam allowance.
Finish by adding a skirt hook and eye to the overlap/underlap edges of the waistband. Alternatively you can add a machine-worked buttonhole and small button, or a series of smaller hooks and eyes (or even snaps).
Attaching the Waistband – Method #2
This method is identical to the one above, except for the following:
Fold the seam allowance of the long waistband edge without the interfacing to the wrong side, 1/8” shy of the actual seam allowance. (So if you have a 5/8” seam allowance, fold 1/2”) Press.
Follow waistband construction as above, up until the inside of the waistband is pinned for enclosing the seams.
Pin down the loose inside edge of the waistband to the waistline of the skirt. This will cover the original waistline seam by about 1/8”. Baste in place by hand or machine.
On the right side of your skirt, carefully “stitch in the ditch”. This means you should stitch in the original seam line, so your stitches virtually “disappear” into the seam from the right side.
Press the waistband. The back of your waistband will look like the above image.
Finish as indicated above for waistband version #1.