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Straight waistband to shaped waistband?

I have a question I can’t find the answer for with Google and the PR boards/knowledge base. The answer is not in David Page Coffin’s book on trousers (more a man’s view on waistbands) or in “Pants for real people” (only advertising a certain interfacing). So I’m trying my readers: I have used a straight waistband on a pair of trousers, but want to change this to a shaped waistband. Is there a special method to change this? Anything to take into account to change? Or can I take the pattern pieces for a shaped waistband from another pattern and use that?

Simply something I haven’t done before. Thanks for your thoughts/ideas in advance.


  1. Ik zou de gewenste bandbreedte aan de bovenkant van de panden (voorbeen en achterbeen dus) afmeten, en tekenen. Vanaf de bovenkant van de panden dus. De originele band kun je vergeten.
    Dat afgetekende deel afknippen en de figuurnaden wegvouwen. Zo krijg je een band op vorm. Die eindigt dan precies in de taille (als je dat wilt, zo niet dan moet je er meer afhalen aan de bovenkant).

  2. I just swiped a waistband I liked from another pattern (with a similar rise) and twiddled it to be the right length. I much prefer a contour waistband.

  3. I do it all the time so I can confirm yes it works. I have two favourite contoured waistbands which I use on all my pants. I often replace a straight waistband with one of my favourites.

  4. Hi Sigrid,
    I took a pants course once and the instructor had converted a straight waistbank by putting small darts in the band to make it contoured. She folded the paper waistband pattern piece and taped the darts closed and then traced around the resulting contoured waistband piece. It was necessary to smooth out the curves.
    Good luck!

  5. It is useful to have a waistband that you have made before, since the curve etc. depends on the circumference of the pants top edge and their rise. I swiped a contour waistband from a Burda WOF jeans pattern to use instead of the waistband supplied with the Jalie jeans. It worked fine.

  6. I'd offer the same ideas as TanitIsis and Sew4Fun - take one you like and tweak the length and notches so it fits. The only tricky bit is you may need to stabilise the seamline of the waistband (the leg side) pieces depending on how much bias it has. But you would know this from the other pattern already!

  7. I do it the way Gaileen described - fold out darts in tissue or muslin to match your shape, then on paper blend the upper and lower seamlines to make the curves look right.

  8. The easiest way to get one is to just take one off another pair of pants. The other way is to tape the darts closed and measure down the depth you want the waistband to be and draw it in. Trace off the shape and add sas to the bottom of the waistband. Now add sas to the top of your line on the pants and cut off the part above.

  9. I have often wondered if this could be done. So glad you asked the question!

  10. Well, it seems like I just wanted to give the same advice as everyone else: yes, exchanging waistbands can be done, as long as you keep a few things in mind.
    Because curved waistbands are made by closing up the trouser slopers darts, their curve and size will depend on were on the body the waistband is supposed to sit.
    To swap waistbands in your case, I would recommend looking for a tried and tested curved waistband from a pattern with a similar rise (if I remember correctly, Burda always mentions the position of the waistband in relation to the natural waist)
    Margreeth's option would work well if you wanted a lower rise than the pattern describes. And of course, the 'make your own' options should work as well, but may not even be necessary if you already have waistband patterns with a good fit.

  11. Check out which does seem to pretty much cover it..

    Same principle here

    Basically, you incorporate any darts into your waistband, smooth it out, and sew it on :-). Some bias is necessarily built into the process, which is an improvement over straight waistbands in and of itself.

  12. You have heaps of good advice already, so I'll save my repetition of the same!
    I switch pattern details around very frequently... and a contoured waistband is far more comfortable.

  13. Could you please show a photo on your blog of the difference between the contoured waste band and the straight band as it would be very useful to see how it changed.

  14. I also assist Gaileen, that way you can convert any waistband and it will fit the pant you have.


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