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Donovan Sewalong: Waistband

Welcome back! We are in the home stretch now with the Donovan Skirt; the body of the skirt is finished, now we just have to finish sewing the waistband! You can view all of our Donovan Sewalong posts here.

If you aren’t adding a waist tie to your skirt, you can skip the interfacing and buttonhole markings and skip ahead to sewing the waistband together.

First, grab your waistband piece. Using your preferred marking method to mark where your buttonholes will go on the right side of your waistband. We used a Clover Chaco Liner.

We are going to apply some interfacing around where the buttonholes will go. Apply a 3″ by 2″ (8 cm by 5 cm) rectangle of interfacing around the buttonhole markings on the wrong side of the waistband.

Next, sew the buttonholes on the markings. We used a Singer buttonholer attachment (watch our Instagram story about our buttonholer attachment here). Your machine might have a buttonhole foot for this purpose; all machines are different. If you haven’t tried making buttonholes before, consult your machine manual, and then practice buttonholes a few times on a piece of scrap fabric before moving on to your waistband buttonholes.

Once you have sewn your buttonholes, it’s time to cut them open. Before cutting our buttonholes, we like to use a liquid seam sealant to reinforce our buttonholes. Common brands include Fray Stop, which we used here, and Fray Check. It’s not mandatory, but we really like the way it secures buttonholes. Just apply a few drops and let it dry for 5 minutes before proceeding.

We used a special buttonhole chisel to open our buttonholes. You can also carefully clip the buttonholes open using thread snips or scissors. We don’t recommend using your seam ripper for cutting open buttonholes; you just have less control that way.

Once your buttonholes are all set, fold your waistband in half, right sides facing, matching notches. Pin and sew the short ends of the waistband together using a 5/8″ (1.6 cm) seam allowance.

Press the seam open.

Next, with the wrong sides facing, fold the waistband in half lengthwise, matching the waistband notches to the skirt side seams. We like to give the waistband an extra press here to make sure it’s nice and neat.

With right sides facing and matching notches, position your waistband over your skirt body so that the buttonholes are facing the front of the skirt, and the raw edges of the waistband and the skirt body are flush. The side waistband notches line up with the side seams. Pin in place.

Sew around the skirt top using a 5/8″ (1.6 cm) seam allowance. Leave a 2″ (5 cm) gap just to the right of the center back, next to the waistband seam. This gap is where we will be inserting the elastic.

Finish this seam using your desired method. We used a serger. Make sure to leave the gap unfinished!

Press the waistband up and the seam allowance towards the skirt.

In our next post, we will be inserting the elastic and topstitching the waistband! We are in the home stretch now. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

About the author


Hi, I'm Chloe, the Creative Assistant at Helen's Closet! I'm a Vancouver transplant from San Francisco. I love sewing, the outdoors, and RuPaul's Drag Race.

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