How to Turn a Straight Waistband into a Curved Waistband

Learn how to turn any straight waistband into a curved waistband. It's a simple alteration and so important for fitting a curvy figure!

Not to be outdone by Mac, I also finished a pair of Persephone Pants!  In addition to lowering the rise (see how to do that here), I also desperately needed a curved waistband instead of the straight one in the pattern.  So I will show you how to do that today!

    But first let’s take a few moments to admire my pants, shall we?

    Persephone Pants by Anna Allen

    As I said, these are the Persephone Pants by Anna Allen Patterns.  They are described as a sailor pant style, along the lines of the now-famous Sailor Pants by Jesse Kamm.  I’ve admired Kamm pants for a loooong time, but could never pull the trigger on $400 pants, so it was nice to finally have the option to make my own.

      For these pants, I cheated a little fabric-wise.  The pattern specifically says not to use stretch fabric, and I was naughty and used this rust stretch twill that I picked up from Indiesew a couple of years ago.  To compensate, I took larger seam allowances — 5/8″ rather than 3/8″ or 1/2″ (depending on which part of the garment you’re talking about).  But really I probably could have sized down.  Still, they’re very comfortable so I’m not complaining.

        I love the color of this fabric, so I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use it here!  It’s also a very similar color to the Kamm Skin Tone 34, which I love!

          I also used the button fly construction method from the Morgan Jeans, which is a little different than what’s included in the pattern.  That’s purely a matter of personal preference — I just feel like I get a cleaner finish with this method.

          Oh and the other thing you’ll see — I added pockets!  Big ol’ back pockets that have plenty of room for my phone or whatever else I need to haul around.  I would never use those little front waist pockets.  So I eliminated them and stole patch pockets from another pattern.

            But now on to that waistband!  As much as I want to love the simplicity of a straight, folded-over waistband, I just can’t do it.  For me, a straight waistband is a recipe for unwearable pants.  I have a fairly generous backside, but I’m also really short between my waist and hip. This means that I need curved waistbands for them to sit flush against my back.

            The Persephones have a straight waistband, so right off I knew I’d have to alter that.  Luckily, it’s very simple to change a straight waistband into a curved one!

            How to Turn a Straight Waistband To a Curved Waistband

              Before you get started, you’ll need to make a muslin (see how to do that here) to determine just how much you need to curve your waistband.  My muslin told me that I needed to remove about 2 1/2″ total from the top edge of my waistband to make it lie flat against my back.

              Step 1: Trim your pattern piece down and add seam allowances

              Straight waistbands are often cut as a single pattern piece where you fold it over at the top to form your inner and outer waistband.  You can’t do that with a curved waistband — you need to cut two waistband pieces to account for the curve.

              The Persephone waistband is also cut flat rather than on the fold.  We will change that for our curved waistband.  I cut my waistband piece in half, then found the line marking the top of the waistband (where it would fold).  From there I measured out a 5/8″ seam allowance and trimmed off the excess.

              Step 2: Cut vertical slits and overlap to remove excess width

              Before you started, you made a muslin.  That told you how much you needed to remove from the top of your waistband — for me that was about 2 1/2 inches total.  But since my piece is now cut on the fold, I removed 1 1/4″ from my pattern piece.

              Now you’re going to cut several vertical slits in your waistband piece and overlap them to remove that excess.  Cut from the top of your waistband. Remember to go down almost to the bottom of the piece but don’t cut all the way through.

              I cut all my slits in the back of the waistband because that’s where I need to remove all of the width.  If you need to distribute yours more evenly around, then cut your slits at even intervals through your waistband.  Ideally, you’ll remove the width from 3-4 spots.

              Step 3: Smooth the lines

              The hard work is done! But all that cutting and overlapping has left us with less-than-smooth edges on our pattern piece.  You can easily just go with it and cut around those jagged sections, but I think it’s nice to have a smooth pattern piece.  To get that, lay a piece of paper over your modified waistband piece and retrace it. Make sure to mark the fold and any other pattern markings that you need to transfer.

              Step 4: Cut your fabric and interfacing

              Now it’s time to cut!  The pattern instructs you to cut a single waistband piece.  But instead you’ll cut two of your modified waistbands on the fold from your main fabric and one on the fold from your interfacing.

              You’re done! Proceed to sew!

              Now that you have a curved waistband, you can proceed to install it using your favorite method. If you need some instruction on that, Itch to Stitch has step-by-step instructions as part of her Liana Jeans sewalong here.

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