Monday, October 31, 2011

Making your own rib-knit waistband.

I know it's technically Halloween today, but all our costumes are done, so I got started on my Christmas sewing (yay!) by making these soft and comfy pj pants. I've made a bunch of things lately with rib knit waistbands (underwear, a skirt, shorts) so I thought this pattern might be cute with one too.

This is a waistband that I really like because it's cute and comfortable and easy to adapt to almost any skirt or pants pattern that would normally have an elastic casing. If you are worried about it holding the pants or skirt up,
you can still put elastic inside.

the same waistband on a little skirt

I started with this pattern that I picked up a while ago at goodwill for 59 cents. It's not bad but I thought the legs turned out kinda wide for my taste. I shouldn't be surprised because look at those wide legs in the picture! If you want an easy basic pj pants pattern for kids, check mine out here.

The first thing you should do is locate the waistline on the pattern. It is probably marked on both pieces (the front and back) or mentioned in the instructions. (Note: On my PJ Bottoms or Shorts Pattern, the waistline is 1 1/4" from the top of the pattern piece.) Calculate that you will add a 3" waistband so you want to cut the pattern off 2 1/2" below the waistline (that will leave you a 1/2" seam allowance).

I didn't actually cut the pattern off (just in case I wanted to use it later), but I did fold it back 2 1/2" below the waist mark.

Then lay your shortened pattern pieces onto your fabric and cut them out.

Next cut out the waistband from rib-knit material. Cut it 7" tall and the width a couple inches smaller than the actual waist measurement of the intended wearer. I used the basic rib-knit that you can find at joanns. It is not 100% cotton, so it has good recovery. That means it won't totally stretch out and you can trust it to hold your pants up. If you are using something with 100% cotton or you're not sure, just cut a piece of elastic the same length and you can stick it in.

At this point, stitch the pants together except for the waistband and hem (refer to your pattern).

Fold the waistband right sides together and stitch the short (7") ends together. Serging is not necessary, but it's quick.

Now fold the waistband in half lengthwise with the wrong sides on the inside. Mark the waistband into quarters. If you are using elastic, stitch it into a circle now. Then just slip the circle inside. You can use any size elastic here, really, from 1/4" to 2". I didn't use elastic for these pants, and they turned out fine.

Pin the waistband to the outside of the pants or skirt, pinning your quarter marks at the front, back and sides of the garment. The seam should be in the back, of course.

I like to stitch this part on my sewing machine first, and serge second because you need to stretch the waistband to fit the pants as you go.

Finish the hem and you're done! I still might take some off of the outside of that pantleg. What do you think, too wide?


  1. I dunno, I kind of like baggy pants. But if they're bell bottoms, then yeah, take them in a bit!

  2. Wide leg loungers are cute!! What a great idea to put a knit waistband in. - Sarah

  3. Actually, I tried them on and wore them around a bit and they're actually so comfy and nice to wear that I'm not going to change anything. It will be sooo hard to wrap them up and send them to someone else. Is it bad if I wear them myself until about mid-december? :)


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