14 May 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 8 - Waistband)

Despite having made several pairs of jeans and pants, I still have to improve my waistband-finishing technique.  It's not as neat as I'd like it to be and I know I can do better.  The thing is, I don't quite know where I go wrong in the process to not produce a nice clean edge.  I don't know if I stitch too far or not far enough.  In any event, this part always takes me longer due to the amount of unpicking I have to do.

Waistband (125 minutes)
The Jalie waistband is a rectangle cut on the bias.  In all of the jeans I made, I never cut my waistband on the bias because that would give way more stretch than I wanted.  So I cut mine on the crossgrain.  Once the waistband is attached to the jeans, it is folded lengthwise over the waist seam and topstitched.  Most pants patterns have you cut two waistbands and stitch a seam along the top edge, but this pattern's waistband has a built-in facing. 

The advantage is that there isn't additional bulk along the top edge of the waistband.  You can get a good press and have no problem topstitching along this edge.  I see two disadvantages:  (1) I don't think the gaposis fix (briefly described below) is as good as it can be and (2) one can't have a cool contrasting fabric on the inside.  Having made these jeans multiple times, I might try to alter the waistband to address the disadvantages.

As part of Jennifer Stern's "Blueprint to Better Jeans" class on PR, I developed a contoured waistband to help eliminate gaposis at the back.  It is created by removing small vertical darts from the waistband and yoke simultaneously.  I'll detail the process I used to contour the waistband in my next post.

Once interfacing is fused to the wrong side of the waistband, stitch the center back seam.  Next sew a guideline along the seamline of one long edge and press under along this line.  Since my waistband is contoured, I sewed my guideline along the inside (shorter) curve.  Press to the wrong side along this line.

waistband after the CB seam is sewn
(As I write this, I am starting to wonder if I attached my waistband upside down.  It didn't seem like it as I was sewing, but now I have doubts.  When I tried on my jeans to assess the fit, I noticed that I have some  gaping at the back and this never happens.  It's possible that the waistband stretched a bit while sewing.  I'll wear a belt and pay closer attention next time.)

Pin the right side of the waistband to the wrong side of the jeans matching notches and center front.  Stitch.

front view with waistband stitched and ready for folding
At this point, I shorten the zipper and place a safety pin across the zipper teeth to prevent from pulling the tab off. 

Fold waistband right sides together near the center front.  Stitch, trim the seam, and clip the corners.  My waistband is a bit longer because I added some width when I first cut it out.  I like to have a little extra allowance, just in case.

After sewing the waistband's right side to the jeans' wrong side, fold the waistband over top and topstitch.
view from the inside with waistband folded over

finished waistband

Time recap:

1.  prep - 33 minutes
2.  back pockets - 91 minutes
3.  back - 30 minutes
4.  front pockets - 61 minutes

5.  fly - 87 minutes 
6.  in/outseams - 80 minutes
7.   belt loops - 29 minutes
8.  waistband - 125 minutes

Total time:  8 hours, 56 minutes

I finished the jeans completely yesterday!  I need to snap some photos of the belt loops, button, hem, and of me wearing them.  I hope to do that and write the final post in this series this week.

Until next time, peace!



  1. wow that's a lot of hours & everyones cheering me on to make jeans, you can do it they all say lol! lol! I commend you on so many completed pairs of jeans!

    1. Thanks Helen! You CAN do it! You just have to try.

  2. LOVE this series on the Jalie Jeans and really appreciate the clear and organized way you put it together. I've attempted Jalie Jeans twice. the first pair was a wadder. The second pair is more or less wearable. I will definitely be referring to your posts for my next attempt. Thank you!
    :-) Chris

    1. You're quite welcome! I'm glad you find it helpful. It took me five muslins before I just threw caution to the wind and went for it. I'm so glad I did. =)

  3. Yes, the waistband, which is the scary part for me. You are so good at jeans. I'm still promising myself that I will make jeans.

    1. Thanks Faye! I am still perfecting the pesky waistband. Some pairs have turned out better than others. This pair is one of the "others." LOL

  4. I so want to make jeans because I wear them all the time but to tell the truth they scare me. Your jeans look fabulous so I really should bite the bullet, get over it and just do it.

    1. Yes, yes! Just do it! I say it all of the time: if you can't make a pair of pants, you can definitely make a pair of jeans. There are a few extra seams, topstitching, and a closer fit. You can do it!

  5. I'm not sure how you can solve this problem - I never get my waistbands to look 100% neat either - it's so annoying. You take such care with your work, it would be so lovely for you to solve this problem.

    1. I know there's a better way to do this. I just have to sit down and work on nothing but waistband samples until I get it right. When will that happen? =)

  6. I think you did a beautiful job on your jeans! They look very professional!


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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