Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hudson Pants Alternative Waistband Tutorial: Part 2

See Part 1 for instructions on how to create the waistband unit.

You'll be pleased to know that Part 1 is the tricky part (if that's what you were thinking as you followed along). For what it's worth, making the waistband unit is only tricky the first time as you're figuring it out. Thereafter, it's a rather pleasant activity.

Inserting the Waistband Unit into the Pants Unit

For clarity, the waistband unit is comprised of the waistband fabric and the elastic (now assembled). The pants unit is simply the assembled pants legs part of this pattern, now waiting for a waistband.

1. Get oriented. In the pic below I've aligned the centre back seams of the waistband and pants units. the waistband will be attached to the pants by sewing the two, right sides together with the raw edges abutting each other. Make sure that the wrong side of your waistband (the part with the zigzag stitch) is visible.

To clarify, in this photo the waistband is not atop the pants unit. It's sitting above...
2. Pin the waistband to the pants. You can repurpose the pins you used to pin the waistband, prior to pressing. You will likely need to ease the waistband, slightly, around the pants as the waistband will be smaller (by up to a couple of inches). If you've got a lot of easing to do, you can consider clipping the waistband (within the seam allowance only, obviously!) to give a bit of extra stretch. Mind you, the fabric is stretchy so you may not need to do this even with a moderate easing requirement.

When the pinning is done, it'll look like this:

3. Go to your sewing machine and stitch the waistband unit to the pants unit. I use a straight stitch because this is pre-serger basting for me. If you do not have a serger, consider using a zig zag stitch or an overlock stitch to ensure the plasticity of the seam.

You want to stitch within .25" of the elastic - the more confident you are that you won't catch the elastic, the closer you can go. I leave a bit of wiggle room because it makes me less nervous about the serging stage (to follow).

4. Here's how it looks from the right side when you're done. This is NOT pressed:

5. If you've got a serger, now's the time to neaten the raw edge... Serge with the waistband on top so that you can feel - and avoid! - the elastic as you go. Of course, following the basting line of machine stitches should be adequate, but you'll have more cues if you serge with the waistband unit on top.

You'll note that my waistband finishing is particularly lackluster. For some reason, my serger didn't love the double-thick waistband fabric (though it didn't mind any of the other double-thick seams). As a result, my finishing is wonky and I didn't approach the basted stitch as closely as I usually would. I was just trying to keep it together...

6. Press the waistband on both sides:

In the photo above you can see that the waistband is still a bit wavy. I'm willing to bet that, after 2 wears and a wash, this will be almost unnoticeable. While worn, the gathers disappear completely. Again, I'm still experimenting with the required width of the waistband fabric. I hope to be able to diminish any wrinkles still further.

I think you'll agree that it's very tidy, smooth and it's lovely not to see the stitching from the right side.

Here's a final shot of the completed pants (remember, I did not make the pockets):

And, so that you can see the flat profile of the waistband, here's a questionable selfie:

So there you go. I really do hope that this helps a few peeps looking for an alternative Hudson Pant waistband. Moreover, it works on all kinds of stretch waistbands!

Please do let me know if you get some use from it. These things are grueling to put together. I'd love your feedback!


  1. Thats exactly how I do my waistbands for Elle pants! I like the finish a lot.

    1. So tell me, then. Does yours look like this when finished? Do you get rid of the gather-look (pre-wearing) altogether? I'm sure I learned this technique from somewhere but I cannot remember where - maybe my Kwik Sew leggings? May some Jalie pattern?

    2. Here's an old post on how I do it... I'd say there is usually a bit of gathering, but my waistband never shows, so it doesn't bother me! :)

  2. Great technique: Love the lack of gathers at the waistband. (I wouldn’t be worried about gathers when the pants are off - there are far more important fitting issues IMO!) Thanks for your work in putting this together. Sue

  3. Love this waistband treatment, and cool pants, but mostly in awe of your torso (not in any weird way at all, I hasten to add!)

    1. Oh, Evie, you are truly too kind. But thank you nonetheless.xo

  4. Wait, this is you? This is the "pillowy" lower belly you're working so hard to get rid of? OMG. I should've known, though. You're an obsessive perfectionist in all things, aren't you?

    If I weren't such a nice, mellow Californian with two glasses of red wine in me, I'd fly up to Toronto right now to show you what a pillowy lower belly really looks like. Then I'd have to beat you with a stick to fix your insane tendency toward self-criticism. I'd use the most "pillowy" baseball bat, lol.

    1. I cannot tell you how hard I laughed when I read this comment. I LOVE it! And you are very kind, even as you are mean :-) PS: You know it was a good angle, right? And I have been doing yoga for 3 months so it's not quite as pillowy as it was. I might still be able to out-pillow you!