MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Jun 22, 2012

Waistband Wonderland -- Installing Hook & Eye Closures



Readers, is there anything more challenging than making a nice clean waistband on a pair of mens pants -- or womens pants, for that matter?  Yes, collars can be hard and so can cuffs, but waistbands -- especially the ones with those fancy hook and eyes -- can be troublesome.   Here's how I make mine.

BTW, I never add hook and eyes to jeans, only to more formal-looking pants with waistband extensions.  Often I don't even add belt loops to these, like my most recent linen pants.

Look, Ma, no belt loops!

So here's how I do it.

First, I cut my waistband long enough so that there's plenty of extra length on the side that's going to have the extension.  On mens pants this is the left front side (which will extend over the right front).  Lately I've been using fusible interfacing on the outer waistband side, and basting a strip of hair canvas to the inner waistband side, and it's been working very well -- not too stiff, but not too lightweight either. I hate a flimsy waistband -- so Shecky Home Ecky.



You can stitch the waistband onto the pants from the inside and topstitch the outer waistband, or start from the outside and stitch-in-the-ditch from the front to catch the inner waistband (or slip stitch by hand).  Lately I've found that, especially with slightly unstable fabrics, it's always better to stitch the outside waistband first -- that way if there's any unsightly bunching or weirdness, it will be hidden on the inside of your waistband.

Anyway, I stitch the waistband on, leaving a few inches open on either end (on the inner waistband side, in my case), and making sure the left side with the extension has those extra inches of length.  I like my extension to be a full two inches, which is what it is on a favorite pair of RTW pants.



Next, I press my extension so that it's perfectly even -- checking the width against the right waistband, which it's going to overlap -- with seam allowances turned under neatly.



Two hooks will be attached to the inside of the extension.  They will need extra support, so I add two layers of a roughly two-inch long piece of hair canvas, and place it in what will be the inside of my waistband extension.





Now I take my hook pieces and I make sure I understand how they fit together and which direction they go -- I always check this against my RTW pants: I've put them in wrong before.  BTW, I bought my hook and eyes at C&C Button on 38th St; they come in four parts: two eye pieces (on the left, in photo) and two hook pieces (on the right).





Next, I place one hook (the side with the sharp prongs) through the inside waistband extension (the side reinforced with the extra hair canvas).  Carefully, with a pair of pliers, I bend the prongs down over the inside hook.  Then I do exactly the same with my second hook.  I follow the spacing that's on my RTW pants: the first hook is above the top of the zipper, and the second hook close to the edge of the extension.  If it isn't close to the edge, the extra fabric beyond the edge won't lay flat.





Next, I fold the edge of the extension, right sides together (with the seam allowances folded up), and stitch closed the edge of my extension.  At this point, the bottom edge is still open.  I trim the edge.  You can leave a little hair canvas in the stitch line.  I find this creates a crisper edge.  I then turn this right side out and press.





I will now edgestitch this closed -- you can also slip stitch it by hand.  Since I edge stitch along the entire waistband anyway, my machine method works perfectly.





To add the eyes, I follow the same method, reinforcing the side that the sharp prongs of the eye will go through.  To get the placement exact, I put the eye on the hook and see exactly where it lands on the right side of the waistband.  I mark this point with pencil or chalk; OK, I don't always mark it, to be honest.

With pliers, I now fold down the prongs.  I close up this side of the waistband just as I would any old waistband, stitching the edge right sides together, with the seam allowances folded up, and turning and edgestitching.







The finished waistband looks very clean and closes securely.



Readers, I hope this was helpful to some of you.

If you have an questions, or alternate methods that work for you, please share them!

Happy Friday, everybody!

32 comments:

  1. This is very helpful! I attempted a pair of pants a while back (they ended up terrible for a dozen reasons), but my waistband was probably the saddest part. I am certainly bookmarking this in case I feel adventurous again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great tutorial. Thank you for sharing. The linen pants are perfect - what every well dressed New Yorker needs, too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. A very helpful tutorial. Thank you. The new linen is terrific. Is it vintage?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome tutorial! Your results look very professional.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have got to get those hook-and-eyes with prongs! I am so tired of the ones that you sew in. Thread + metal edge = short life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sew-in kind are great for low-stress places like the space above the back zipper of a dress. For a waistband, these work much, much better. (Many pants also add a button tab adjacent to the zipper fly, so there's even less stress on the hook and eye closure.)

      Delete
  6. Thank you. I've often wondered how those hooks and eyes are attached

    ReplyDelete
  7. EXCELLENT tutorial. Thank you so much for taking the time and including the place were you got them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks! This is a great tutorial! You are so kind to post this, especially since you're "always making pants for Michael." Like the XTC song... sorry, when I saw the pants for Michael post, the first that went through my head was how it matched the rhyme "making plans for Nigel..." But I'm crazy that way.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is very helpful! I'm with Katrina Blanchalle, I've been using the wrong hooks all along. All my pants have some kind of button closure because I've had such bad luck with the sew on hooks. This opens up new pants possibilities!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dritz sells them pre-packaged: They're called "No-Sew Hook & Eye Closures.

      http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/Dritz-No-Sew-Hook-and-Eye-Closures-4-Count-Silver.html

      Delete
  10. (( I've thrown pants away because I didn't know how to fix those!!))eep
    Thanks for the heads up!
    ~Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  11. YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!! muah!

    ReplyDelete
  12. boocat: That is wonderfully helpful. Thanks for all your great effort on our behalf.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm a big fan of the hooks with prongs. Thanks for the tip on the hair canvas/weft interfacing combo - I've found that all hair canvas is too stiff but just interfacing is too thin.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hair canvas - excellent tip! Thank you so much, you totally gifted me with a moment of enlightenment :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hooks and eyes
    Are you listenin'?
    Sewers' prize
    Fasteners glistenin'
    At sergers we play
    Happy today
    Walkin' in a waistband wonderland!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here's the rest -

      Lots of things can happen in your pants, Sir
      Whether they are red or blue or brown
      If they get to be a place for ants, Sir
      Then you can hitch 'em up
      Or pull 'em down!
      As we age
      Years conspire
      And our rise
      Rises higher!
      The pants that we've made
      Put Sears in the shade
      Walkin' in a waistband wonderland!

      Delete
  16. Peter last year I bought a massive roll of tailor's waist band liner - it is cotton with a strip of latex on one side, a horsehair/canvas type inner facing etc. I think the idea is to bag it in along the top edge with the outer waistband and sew in the ditch. If you want some to play with, happy to post it. This was VERY helpful though, some top tips, thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've used something similar too, but with dressier pants. That's an excellent option if you can find it.

      Delete
  17. Just read your wonderful account of shopping with Ann. Is Cinderella Flower & Feather still there? Not fabric so much, as I recall, but an astonishing arrays of fluffs and fripperies.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a beautiful waistband! I'm hoping to tackle a pair of pants soon and will try and remember to use this technique!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Peter when you align the hook with the eye is that done flat or on the body? Also I've always wondered what those hook and eye sets look like on the inside, never knew they had two parts (can you tell I'm not much experienced in pants?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually do it flat -- there isn't that much guessing where the eye has to go, once the zipper is zipped and the hook is attached. But it would be a good idea to test this with the pants on too, just to be safe.

      I had no idea about how all those pieces fit together at first -- trial and error!

      Delete
  20. Your pants are amazing. I love the fabric! It's interesting that you used "hair canvas" rather than interfacing in the waistband. I've made a only two pair of pants and I plan to make more. I'm going to have to look into hair canvas as well. Thanks for the tip.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I used both: fusible interfacing on one side and hair canvas on the other. It all depends on the fabric and how sturdy a waistband you want. Sometimes self-fabric works just as well as an interfacing.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow. Thank you for this tute.
    I've been mulling over how to do this and you've supplied a great technique I need to try.
    And your waistband finish is perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for the tutorial on waistbands with clear pics on the hook and eye closures. Love the featherweight in the photo. Can't wait to use what I learned!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi
    Great tutorial I always did the hooks and eyes wrong. Will they work with a wide waistband? I thought maybe just put one above the other?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as they're lined up accurately, I don't see why not.

      Delete
    2. Thanks it worked. It was a little tricky doing the straight pieces but I did it.:) Thanks again.

      Delete

Related Posts with Thumbnails