How to: Petersham Ribbon Waistband

It’s been crazy here Dearhearts – so please, if my posts are a bit scatter-brained, forgive me. Now that you know all the in’s and out’s of petersham ribbon (see last week’s post), you can start applying it in various ways to different sewing projects you may have. This is but one way, I have more still to come! As you can see, my blanket skirt is coming along quite nicely. Again this is the skirt section of Sewaholic’s Lonsdale Dress and its been a breeze to make. Let me tell you where I’m at as far as skirt construction, so that if you decide to opt for a waistband like this you’ll know when to insert. The skirt sections are sewn together, plus the pockets. I’ve also got the lining all put together (but not put into the skirt yet) and I’ll be taking a cue from Tasia (and her clever Crescent zipper insertion which you can see here and here) for inserting my zipper. Alright. As you can see, I’ve done a little something fancy with the petersham here. I’ve used both the 2″ plum and the 1 1/4″ honey from the shop. My brilliant Mr. S actually helped me come up with this. I was debating on which of these colors to use for the waistband and Mr. S cleverly thought I should use both. His eye is getting better and better, don’t ya think?

Step 1 For the waistband, you will need two lengths of petersham that is your waist measurement + 1/2″ for wearing ease + seam allowances. Please note, that I’m only talking about the plum petersham I’m using here. You’ll want both an inside and outside waistband – the honey petersham is just a trimming for the outside (its not on the inside). If you plan to wear your skirt/bottom with a shirt tucked in, I would recommend taking your waist measurement over clothing, just so that you don’t get it too tight. To begin, you’ll need to pre-shrink the petersham (do this before cutting), by soaking in warm water for a couple of minutes and drip drying. Once dry, give the petersham a good press and stretch slightly as you go.

Step 2 Next, stitch the petersham facing waistband to the skirt lining. To make this step easier, I added a basting stitch along the seam allowance of the lining and lined up the petersham with the stitching line. Topstitched the petersham to the skirt lining and then took out the basting stitch. Did the same thing for the outer skirt too, but added the covered belt buckle and honey petersham beforehand. Bonus Tip You can also hand baste before stitching with your machine to make things even easier. I did that for the honey petersham as I applied it to the outside waistband.  After you’ve applied the petersham, give your seam allowance (skirt fabrics only) a good trim to 1/4″. Makes for alot less bulk when wearing. Easy as pie right?

Step 3 ✂ Now, its time to add your zipper to the lining. Keep in mind that I’m using a trusty standard metal zipper (a lovely Riri number from New York, no less). To insert, stitch the zipper tape to the lining with the zipper’s wrong side pinned to the lining’s right side. In other words, if you were to put the lining on at this point, the zipper would be facing outward from the body. Hopefully that gives you an idea, because it tends to feel a little backwards. Oh and do make sure that you’ve changed over to your zipper foot – that will make this a whole bunch easier.

Step 4 ✂ Time to add the skirt lining with the zipper to the outer skirt. To do this, you’ll do the same thing you did with the skirt lining to the outer skirt, but this time, you’ll attach the right side of the zipper to the right side of the outer skirt. You’ll end up with the zipper inserted and the fabric from the skirt folding away from the zipper. Now its time to tack that down. I did this part by hand with a prickstitch, but you can also do it by machine.

Step 5 ✂ Once done with the zipper, all that’s left is to stitch the waistband facing to the outer waistband along the top edge and then stitch in the ditch just below the lower edge of the petersham. To stitch in the ditch refers to stitching through all layers, in the area just below the seam allowance where the waistband and skirt sections meet. Stitch from the right side of the skirt and go slowly, using a thread that matches your skirt for added invisibility.

And from there, you’ll have a lovely petersham waistband and a beautifully inserted zipper to boot. What do you think? If I’ve confused you to no end, do not miss Tasia’s own tutorial for her Crescent skirt zipper insertion, which I sited earlier.

Happy 1st day of December! I’ll give you a good show and tell of the finished skirt come Monday!



23 thoughts on “How to: Petersham Ribbon Waistband

  1. Thanks for sharing all the ribbon tips!
    Actually, I could use your advice on one of my projects. I’m making this jacket from Burda style
    I am supposed to finish the neckline with grosgrain ribbon, but I’m afraid it will make it a bit stiff. Should I use Petersham instead? Also I’m having trouble sourcing the right color ribbon for my jacket, would you have online sources to recommend?
    thanks again for all the pretty tips and tutorials! 🙂

  2. Oh, I really wanted an excuse to get Petersham ribbon from your shop, so many pretty colors, but didn’t have a project in mind. But this is such a great idea so…next time!

  3. Nice, very nice. I’ll reference this next time I’m going on about waistbands… I wish I could do this myself, it’s so cute but I can’t really wear straight or narrow waistbands… 😉

    Such a cute cute skirt.

  4. Okay, slightly off topic question…is your lining cut on grain or on the bias? I’m working on a bias cut wool skirt, and I want to add a lining, but not sure if I need the lining to drape or to help stabilize. I love the idea of the petersham waistband, and am filing the idea to use on a future project!

    1. Well, actually this is something that I address when I recap the skirt on Monday. However, I’ll definitely answer that question here because it was one of the things that really didn’t work very well. The skirt is cut on the bias and the lining is cut on the straight grain. The problem lies when you sit down because bias naturally stretches from side to side more than straight grain. So the lining now peeks out just a little too much when you sit down. Now I’ve had skirts in the reverse before – skirt cut on the straight grain and lining on the bias. That works fine. But it does not work the way in which I did it. Oiy!

      1. Thanks! I’m using some vintage acrylic/wool from my Grandma’s stash, and I want it to turn out as something I’ll really wear and enjoy! I have only one bias cut garment that I purchased, and it has a bias lining (I double checked.) My main concern was if the two fabrics would stretch differently, and whether or not I’d just end up with a big ol’ mess.

      2. They should stretch about the same, I think. Just allow them enough stretch time. I would give the skirt a good hanging for about a week before you cut it off and hem it. I’m so disappointed that I put in the lining on the straight grain! So disappointed! Gah!

  5. I have a question about the hem on your skirt in your last post about petersham ribbon. Is the ribbon on the hem folded in half and then applied to the hem?
    I just received my order from you and can’t wait to apply it to the waistband of my skirt. I was contemplating buying more for the hem.

    1. It’s not folded in half, but that is definitely an option you could do. The hem on the skirt from the Petersham vs. Grosgrain post was finished as a traditional hem and then the petersham was applied to the top with topstitching.

  6. This is beautiful!!! I love love love this! I really am going to have to find some petersham ribbon and try this for my next skirt. I’m really loving your colors… maybe I’ll snab some of yours 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful instructions.


  7. S: I’ve been wanting to try this forever and I’m considering it with my suit skirt. Thing is, I don’t want the petersham on the outside – just as the facing on the inside of the skirt, attached to the lining. Would I simply make the lining unit (above) and then sew the right side of the skirt (fashion fabric) to the right side of the petersham (lining unit) and then flip the lining to the inside (making sure to roll the fashion fabric slightly to the wrong side of the skirt to prevent the petersham from peeking out? The challenge I see is that there would be no way to affix the lower long edge of the petersham to the skirt other than at the zipper (because there would be no waistband to stitch in the ditch of). Any thoughts you might have would be so appreciated.

    1. OK, let me see if I can answer your questions one at a time here. I definitely think you can get away with using the petersham on the inside of the skirt only (great idea too!). I think you have exactly the right idea. Stitch the petersham to the fashion fabric, right sides together and then flip the petersham the inside. Understitching might help and a little interfacing right at the waistline probably wouldn’t hurt things either. I think the petersham will attach just perfectly the lining and from there you can tack it to the zipper area and then also to the side seams if needed. Hopefully this helps – I think you are definitely on the right track! I’ll stay tuned! Can’t wait to see your finished result – your jacket is just gorgeous!

      1. Thank you so much for this feedback! Would the petersham be attached to the lining at this point (I think yes) and I also think the zipper would be in the lining unit, right? Also, will I hand stitch the lining and zipper to the fashion fabric (maybe not strong enough?) or would I stitch the zipper and lining at that spot to the fashion fabric by machine?

  8. I don’t think I was clear in my last comment. What I mean is that I’m confused about a couple of things: 1. when do you attach the zipper (as part of the lining/petersham unit) to the fashion fabric and 2. how does the zipper attach to the fashion fabric (presuming it is first sewn by machine into the lining unit). I assume you sew the lining unit at the zipper opening by machine but since I can’t see the inside of the pic above (3rd from the bottom), it’s just a bit unclear visually. Is that a straightforward action? Does it leave 2 lines of stitching along the front of the lining at the zipper seam allowance? Having never done any of this before (with the petersham and the lining unit and the sewing the zipper into the lining fabric first), I just want to be sure I understand.

    1. Once you’ve attached the zipper to the lining, then attach it to the fashion fabric. The zipper attaches to the fashion fabric by first basting the zipper and the fashion fabric right sides together – meaning that the zipper is right side up and then the fabric is basted to the zipper tape. So from there you’ll have a zipper that’s attached to both the lining and fashion fabric but that still needs to be topstitched in place atop the fashion fabric layer. If you really want and feel more comfortable, you can for go the basting part and insert the zipper (that’s already attached to the lining) like a normal slot seam zipper insertion. I feel the basting just adds the ease of inserting the zipper in this manner, but ultimately that decision is up to you.

      The lining is attached to the zipper by machine. You stitch the zipper tape’s wrong side to the lining’s right side (the right side in this tutorial is considered the part that actually rubs against your body). It feels very weird, I’ll admit and sounds even weirder as I’m explaining it. The idea here is that you won’t see the stitching line of the attachment of the zipper to the lining, but you will see the two lines of stitching on the lining where you topstitch the zipper atop the fashion fabric.

      Does that make sense? My apologies for my photos not including more info – I suppose I could have added in a few words here and there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s