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!