Easy couture technique for waistbands – yes, easy!

New pencil skirt

New pencil skirt

Since I make a lot of  skirts I’ve decided to up the ante and start adding in couture techniques or different elements to keep my skills moving forward. On this pencil skirt from Burda 8155 I used a couture waistband technique from Susan Khalje which is featured in the latest issue of Threads magazine (March 2013). The short of it is to place petersham or grosgrain and sandwich in between the fabric and lining of the waistband.  It offers much more stability in the waist area.  

For the pertersham cut out the same length as your waistband pattern piece, which is usually your waist measurement plus 4 inches. Install the lining if there is one.  Next place the petersham on the right side of fabric, above the skirt’s waistband stitching line.  Here is where I added a step.


I  basted a 1/2 inch line on the outside of the skirt in a contrasting color so I could use that line as a guide to place the petersham.    You baste or sew the petersham a “hair above” the garment’s waistband stitching line. 


Petersham sewn on the skirt a hair above the basting line

Sew the waistband on to the skirt

Attach and sew the waistband on to the skirt

Next sew the waistband on to the skirt.  I sewed the waistband on at 1 inch.  Thus encasing the petersham when you fold over the waistband towards the inside of the garment.  I hand stitched the waistband to the inside.  And, there you have a stable waistband.  Check out the Threads article for detailed photos and more on fasteners too. I was amazed at how easy this technique was.  Perfect for a beginner.

Fold the waistband over the petersham

Fold the waistband over the petersham and hand sew in place

I’m not sure what the material content is for the fashion fabric on this skirt but it looks and feels luxe.  I got the material at the awesome Denver Fabrics here in Denver.  This is the skirt I’m wearing to the 1st Sew and Suds hosted by HISS Studio!

So, will you add this in your next skirt or pant waistband?

15 thoughts on “Easy couture technique for waistbands – yes, easy!

  1. That fabric is really cool! Perfect for a pencil skirt. I’ve just drafted my own custom skirt pattern and I’ve been experimenting with new fabrics. I’ll definitely have to try this. Thanks for the tip. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Beautifully finished waistband! I make a lot of skirts too…though I prefer no waistband. The petersham treatment works fine on its own, without the band. Useful tip re basting guide!

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