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Charlotte Skirt Sewalong #4: the waistband

Our Charlotte skirts are fast approaching the finish line, folks! Today we'll be showing you how to attach the waistband flawlessly, and finishing the flap fastening.

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london

If you need to catch up, look at the previous Charlotte skirt sewalong posts.

Ok guys, let's get to it.

Step 1:

With right sides together, fold your waistband in half lengthways. Stitch one end shut and the other end in a sort of reverse "L" shape, stopping at the point marked "centre back" on the pattern. This will form the fastening flap. Trim the excess seam allowance, turn to the right side and press the entire waistband, as shown below.

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand londoncharlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london

Step 2:

Open up the waistband and pin one of the raw edged lengths to the waistline of the skirt, right sides together, as shown below. Bear in mind that the waistband has 3/8" ease to accommodate the peplum, so if you're making either the plain or ruffle-hem variations, you might need to make up for that by stitching the non-flap end of the waistband with a full inch seam allowance as opposed to the recommended 5/8". The best way to make sure you get a perfect fit along the waistline is to start pinning your waistband at the flap end, and any extra length at the other end can be easily adjusted without having to repin the entire thing. Once you're happy with the waistband pinned to the waistline, machine stitch into place. Press the seam allowance up into the waistband.

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london

Step 3:

Now press the seam allowance of the remaining raw edged length inwards and pin it in place inside the skirt along the waistline, thereby sandwiching the raw edged seam allowance at the waistline of the skirt.

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london

Step 4:

Time to put the kettle on. Or pour yourself a whiskey - but only if you're already a confident blind stitcher and you are, in fact, of age to be sippin' & sewin'.

If you've decided to add a lining to your Charlotte skirt, you'll remember us taking you through the motions of blind stitching. If that's all news to you, fear not, we're gonna do it again. We just can't get enough.

  • Thread up your hand sewing needle with a length of thread about 5" longer than your waistline measurement. Knot one end securely a good few times.
  • Use your needle to pick up a few strands from the lining fabric (or the main fabric of the skirt if you are omitting the lining), and pull the needle through (fig.1).
  • Reinsert the needle into the pressed edge of the waistband directly above the point at which your needle just came out (fig.2). Using the pressed fold as a guide, slide the needle an centimetre or so along  inside the fold and then come out again.
  • Keep repeating figs. 1 & 2 the entire length of the waistline and securely knot off your stitching at the end. If you gently pull back the waistband you'll see lots of tiny, evenly spaced stitches, that invisibly secure the inside of the waistband (fig.3).

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand londoncharlotte skirt sewalong - by hand londoncharlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london

Look at that for a crispy finish.

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london


We think that the neatest, and most practical way to finish the fastening on the Charlotte skirt is by hand sewing a hook & eye or a popper to secure the flap down (make sure you catch only one layer of the fabric with your needle so as not to have any unsightly stitches showing through). You can then sew a button or decorative something onto the flap without having to bother with a buttonhole. We'd only recommend buttonholes for the very confident sewist and certainly not for anyone using a fabric prone to fraying. It's only going to end in tears. This time we went for a popper...

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london


And a decorative something.

charlotte skirt sewalong - by hand london

Just one post left to go - sniff - in our first ever official sewalong! We'll be back before the weekend with all things hem. We'll be going over three different hemming techniques, showing you how to add a back split for added walkability and showing you how we did that dipped hem ruffle mini... Do you dare?

Comments on this post (9)

  • May 05, 2014

    Great blog and sew-along, I really needed to be reminded of the steps.

    Just want to add that the decorative clasp, and flap-closing in the back could well be a little closer to the middle, and perhaps shorter? And it seems to be overlapping/pointing in the ‘male’ direction? ;)

    Ending with a useful tip for excellent results; press, press and press(where expected) – during the whole work process.

    — Oda O

  • Feb 01, 2013

    I know we’ve been loving it too! It makes it such a pleasure to take the time and draw out the whole process. And it hasn’t been announced yet… but yes we are definitely going to do an Elisalex sewalong! I’m SO excited – even going to do some fabric recon today! We’ll be announcing it soon, watch this space ;)

    — byhandlondon

  • Feb 04, 2013

    Glad you’ve been enjoying it! In terms of the hook – do you mean a kind of bulky oversized version of a hook and eye? If so, you could try sewing it on to the outside of the flap (like we did with the black fastening) making it into a decorative feature! Sew the hook to the outside of the flap just on the edge so it hooks on to the bar right there. Does that make sense…?

    — byhandlondon

  • Jan 31, 2013

    Thanks so much. That really helps. I agree that they can be a bit crunchy.

    — Kirsty

  • Jan 31, 2013

    Oh, I love the decorative closure on the waistband…what a cute detail!

    — Marie

  • Jan 31, 2013

    I am really enjoying this sewalong, normally I rush to try & get things finished and make loads of silly mistakes but doing it slowly with your guidance has meant no mistakes and a much neater finish to the whole garment! Thank you (Are you going to do the Elisalex next?)

    — Tracy Lucas

  • Jan 31, 2013

    Hi, Would you recommend putting some interfacing in the waist band to make it stiffer? I’m using a linen and wondering whether or not I should bother ‘stiffening’ it a bit?

    — Kirsty

  • Jan 31, 2013

    We here are not fans of interfacing. If you are using a very lightweight linen and making the waistband wider, then it might be wise to add interfacing (but avoid fusible if you can as we feel it gives a distinct ‘crunchy’ feeling…) but if you’re going for the given slim waistband and your fabric is slightly heavier than quilting cotton, I wouldn’t really bother with interfacing. This is, however, a personal choice – if you feel like your waistband is a little flimsy then definitely stitch in a layer of interfacing (or you can use the same linen you’re using for your skirt if you don’t have interfacing) – but only one layer applied to half the width of the waistband – so altogether when folded in half lengthways you have 3 layers. Hope this helps!

    — byhandlondon

  • Feb 03, 2013

    Hi Guys, I second the sewalong pace. It’s been great not to be rushing through. Now I’m really itching to wear my skirt! I have used a trouser/skirt hook and bar on my closure and it doesn’t really lie as flat as I would like. Is there a way in which it can be sewed so that it looks flat and neat without the ends sort of popping up? I hope that makes sense?

    — Kirsty

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