a Waistband, a Zipper, a Facing & a Lining = Puzzle?

This is not a post that I actually wanted to write, because when I’m faced with this problem, I don’t have an easy and clean solution. Rather, its involved and somewhat messy. Grrr…. I have been getting questions about it and since the sewalong is technically not over because I haven’t posted my final post on the hem, I’ll talk about what I do. I’ll admit right now, it’s rather hateful. Here goes:

If you have no idea of what is going on, or you haven’t gotten to this part yet let’s fill you in. The problem is handling the lining and/or the waistband facing when you have a zipper that goes up into the waistband instead of the waistband having a button or other type of closure. Its a conundrum because when using an invisible zipper the lining and the facing don’t play nice with each other.  I would normally just baste the lining to the shell fabric and insert said zipper and have the facing come down over the top. No big deal. But that’s for a normal zipper. Invisibles don’t work well in this environment. At least they don’t for me. In fact, I went about doing this exact thing on my black pair of trousers just a few nights ago and did it work? No. The lining made the zipper slip out of whack and then warpage, not to mention the end of the zip was rubbing and itching up against my leg. No. Good. Much cursing and swearing ensued as I unpicked.

The coming morning I tackled the zipper again. This time, no cheating. Even Mr. S says you can’t cheat death and you definitely cannot cheat an invisible zipper. So after I had cleaned up my unpicking nightmare, I went about my rotten way of inputting an invisible with a lining and a facing. First, I unpicked the lining about 3 inches into the waistband. Then I restitched the waistband and the trouser shell together, backstitching a few times just before I hit the lining piece I had just unpicked a few inches. Then I did the same thing to the part where the lining was still attached. You with me so far? I know. It’s a mess. I would love to hear if you have a different way of doing this. OK. Now I pinned the lining out of the way, because if I don’t, inevitably I always end up getting it caught in with the zipper.

Then I inserted the zipper. No big deal. Again, here’s my post on invisible zipper inserts. After the zipper is inserted, I tack the lining back to the waistband at the top and then slip stitch it to the zipper, with the raw edge nicely and neatly folded inside. I’ve done that here in red for you.

For the waistband facing, I fold over the top, right sides together and stitch, blindly, on the outside of the zipper. This works best with a zipper foot. You sidle the zipper foot up along the ridge of the zipper teeth, which you can’t see, but you can feel and stitch. Works pretty well, though you would almost think it wouldn’t. There’s a great article for how to do it here.

Then you can go ahead and slip stitch the facing to the waistband.

Why all this trouble? I don’t know. In fact I can’t even give you a good answer. This whole process took the longest on the pants. About a good 2 to 3 hours. I mean it does end up looking awfully nice. And if done right, surprisingly invisible zippers have a good amount of strength with all that fabric and of course stabilization from the interfacing you decide to use.

Tomorrow is definitely the hemming. I promise. Cross my heart. Sware on my life. And then we’re really done! Yay! In the mean time, I have some other fun things up my sleeve. The best of luck, should you dare to do this ridiculous method. Please share if you have a better answer than the above. We all need it.





11 thoughts on “a Waistband, a Zipper, a Facing & a Lining = Puzzle?

  1. Sorry that this part gave you such fits, nothing like being nearly done with a garment and having a major issue that makes you nervous you’ll have to throw the whole thing away. I wish I had a better way to share with you, but I don’t. Sorry.
    On a fun note, from looking at the inner waistband, it looks like you and I will have very similar pants someday–I just bought if not exactly that same fabric–its fraternal twin, yesterday.

  2. That’s a great quote: “You can’t cheat death and you definitely can’t cheat an invisible zipper.” Love it!
    I haven’t gotten to this step yet, but it’s next so I’ll see how it goes. Here’s hoping…

  3. I’m truly sorry to not have posted these sooner. I keep trying to wrap my brain around doing it a different way, but it just doesn’t work with an invisible zipper. It’s a little messy, but in the end, it works. The long way is the short way in this instance.

  4. So glad I’m reading this before attempting it. I bookmarked all these posts since i wear mostly pants and i’d love to know how to sew them (that’s after i’d gain some more experience). I have only one minor requests if it’s not too much trouble: could you please add details about what kinds of fabric you use in your projects, fiber content, etc. and where you get them? I have a lot of trouble figuring out what fabrics would be appropriate for what garments let alone that i seem to have no imagination when it comes to prints and assigning them to a pattern. However, i know what i like and so far i’m LOVING all your projects (yes, went back and read most of your posts). Thank s so much and congrats on these trousers, I’m sure they’re adorable!

  5. Hi Musetica,
    I do hope these posts help you when the time comes for you to make pants. I do try to add the details of the fabric content, though I hadn’t really thought about adding where I got it from, so I will most definitely start doing that. Thanks so much for your sweet compliments!

  6. Hi Sunni,
    just wanted to thank you and say how much i appreciate that you’re taking the time to answer each and every comment. It is very sweet and very considerate of you. Also wanted to tell you that i just got my pattern for the “naughty secretary” dress 🙂 Yay!! your version is just incredibly cute and I must try and make myself one.
    You inspire me ! Thank you!
    Big hug for you from San Francisco! (blushing) 🙂

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