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Tape a Pants Waist

IMG_2231 (1024x765)In our Eureka! Pants that Fit and Sporty Details patterns, we mention taping the waist for a stable finish at the top of the pants.  If you don’t know what that is, read on!

Pants with curved waist finishes, such as a facing or a shaped waistband, can stretch out of shape easily.  They are not cut on the straight of grain to keep them rigid like a traditional waistband.

Even if you use a non-stretch interfacing to support the facings or shaped waistband, the tension that is created when the body expands and moves can cause the waist to loosen with repeated wearings.

Sewing a non-stretch “tape” into the seam at the top of the pants will minimize the problem. Choose a tape first and make sure you have enough to wrap around the entire waist

Fusible 1/4″ straight of grain tape is an excellent choice and you can fuse it on top of the interfacing before sewing the seam.

The white tape is fused over the interfacing and then stitched into the seam.
The white tape is fused over the interfacing and then stitched into the seam.

That is what I did on the waist of these sporty detail pants.  Because the sporty detail shaped waistband has a seam in the center back and on each side, I fused the tape to each waist section.  This will allow me to alter the pants easily if I gain or lose weight.

Another option is to sew a silk organza or silk chiffon selvage into the seam.  It is a thin, light weight addition as well as being quite stable.  I love to use silk organza to tape a pair of fine silk or wool dress pants.  Snip and tear the selvage at 1/4″ to remove it from the organza yardage.  (When I am underlining something in organza, I will remove the selvage and put it in my interfacing stash to use on pants later.)

Silk organza selvage
Silk organza selvage

Twill tape is another classic option for stabilizing a pair of faced pants.  This is perhaps the bulkiest of the 3 choices, even though today’s twill tape is not like your grandmother’s twill tape.  It is flatter and narrower with a nice polished finish.

Your three choices from top to bottom, silk organza, fusable straight tape and twill tape.
Your three choices from top to bottom, silk organza, fusable straight tape and twill tape.

Choose your tape and pin the tape so it sits flush with the seam.  It should be the same length as the facing along the 5/8″ seam allowance.  Keep it as smooth as possible.  If the tape is loose, it will add bulk at the waist; if its too tight, the faced waist will look puckery and fit tightly. Stitch it so one edge is just barely captured into the seam stitching.

I find taping especially useful if your fabric has a little stretch.  That extra give feels great in the hips and legs, but uncontrolled stretch at the top of the waistband looks rumpled whether you wear your tops tucked in or over your pants.

Have you used other materials to tape a waistband?  Were you pleased with the results?

Do you live in the greater Baltimore area?  Next Saturday, February 27th we have a Fit for Art Trunk Show scheduled at Needle and Thread in Gettysburg, PA.  Come see some of the new jackets and tops we have been busy sewing this winter, the taped jeans from this post and lots of old favorites.

Happy Sewing!  RAE

2 thoughts on “Tape a Pants Waist

  1. How about adding tape to pants that are already finished? I have two pair of Eureka pants with a faced waist and they loosen up quite a bit during the day.

    1. You can open up the faced waist and add some tape into the seam line so it stays stable. I have even taped the waist of purchased jeans with twill tape to keep them from stretching out. Good luck Nancy and let me know if it helps. RAE.

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