A warm Fit for Art welcome to our friend and Eureka! Pants collaborator, Sarah Veblen who has prepared the directions for you to add elastic into pants finished at the waist with a facing. Special thanks too to Monica Walker who provided the photographs for this post. She worked on these faced waist pants at our Pants Licensing Seminar in December.
For some figures – especially curvy ones – having elastic at the waist makes a pair of pants much more comfortable, because the elastic “grips” the body. This prevents the pants waist from moving around on the body, especially when sitting.
If you have a waistband, it’s easy to insert elastic in just the back portion of the waistband or the whole waistband. While it’s not often seen in ready-to-wear, did you know that it’s also possible to insert elastic in a faced waist? I’ll tell you how!
Let’s start with fitting the waist of pants with a facing. Typically, you need to make the waist of faced pants a little tighter than the waist of pants with a waistband, because it’s the tension or tightness at the waist (the upper edge of the pants) that keeps the pants in place. If the waist of a faced pair of pants is loose, the pants tend to sink on the body, and that in turn adversely impacts both the appearance and the comfort of the pants.
You can probably see that inserting elastic into a faced waist might make pants more comfortable and help keep the pants in place on the body. Although you could put elastic around the entire waist, my clients have found that elastic in just the back does the trick. Here’s how to do it:
Choose your elastic. I prefer 1-1/4”-wide elastic, because more of the body is “gripped,” and it doesn’t dig into the body the way narrow elastic does. I also like pajama elastic, because it’s softer than other elastics, so it tends to lay with the body and not be so noticeable.
Choose your facing depth. Facings can be any depth, so don’t be afraid to tinker with your pattern. To determine the facing depth using a 5/8” seam allowance at the waist, this is how I think about it: 5/8” (seam allowance) + 1/8” (room at the top of the elastic) + 1-1/4” (width of the elastic) + 1/8” (room at the bottom of the elastic) + 3/8” (for clean finishing lower edge of facing). With this formula, you can customize the depth to your liking. You can also make the facing deeper, if you want to give the pants more support below the elastic, but the elastic should be up against the waist as described here.
Sewing. These instructions are for a center back zipper, but the zipper can also be on the side. (Note that fly front zippers are not typically used with a facing, because of the complicated construction.)
- Make the pants and apply the zipper.
- Interface the facing using a lightweight interfacing in the back.
- Apply the facing, taking all the normal steps, including understitching the facing.
- Press and pin the facing in place.
- Topstitch the back facing along the lower edge of the facing, 1/4” to 3/8” from cut edge of facing if you have used the above measurements. The topstitching forms a casing. If you have made a deeper facing, topstitch about 1-3/4″ from the waist of the pants to accommodate 1-1/4”-wide elastic.
- Cut the elastic. To determine how much elastic to start with, measure the pattern from the center back seam to the side seam, and add 1”.
- Insert the elastic into each back casing. I use a large safety pin and start at the center back, so the safety pin ends up at the side seam. Have one cut edge of the elastic even with the zipper tape, and topstitch vertically through all layers (pants, elastic, and facing) about 1” away from zipper; topstitching should start just below the waist and end at the stitching forming the casing.Topstitched and elasticized pants!
- Pull the elastic up a bit, pin in place at the side seam, and try the pants on. Adjust the elastic so that it is comfortable, and take the pants off.
- Topstitch vertically through all layers at the side seam (stitch-in-the-ditch), again starting just below the waist and end at the stitching forming the casing. Trim away any excess elastic, but do not trim too close to the vertical topstitching.
Now you are ready to complete the pants.
We want to thank Sarah for her excellent contribution to our collection of pants posts that come to you the last week of every month. You can learn more about Sarah at www.sarahveblen.com. And thanks to Monica, our licensed Eureka! Pants Professional for modeling and sharing her pants photos.
Here she is sitting in our pretty pink pants fitting booth at the Cleveland Expo where she fit pants by appointment. We always provide pants fitting opportunities at the expos we attend and would love to help you get great fitting pants next time we are in your area.
Happy Sewing, RAE