Crescent Sew-Along #17: Trim Ideas for the Waistband

Happy Friday, everyone! Wishing you a weekend full of relaxing and sewing – and sunshine if we’re lucky!

This is going to be the first weekend I’m not coming into the office, so if you have any troubles following the sewing steps, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you Monday!

Today’s Sew-Along post is all about trim ideas for the waistband. In case you liked the look of trim but aren’t sure where to start, here are some suggestions!

Satin Ribbon

Look for a ribbon that’s approximately half an inch wide or narrower. Any wider and it will be hard to curve it around the shaped seamlines!

Satin ribbon works great and even though it’s straight, it has enough softness to curve around the seamlines. You can use either side, the shiny side or the dull side, whichever one you prefer!

Velvet ribbon

For a fancier look, this velvet ribbon would look lovely along the curved seamlines. If you like the look of the velvet ribbon, make sure your stitching is very, very even. Crooked or uneven stitching will be really obvious because of the raised pile surface!

Embroidered or brocade ribbon

This would be pretty on a solid-coloured skirt! If you’re worried about the ribbon being too stiff, curve it in your hands along an imaginary seam, and see how the ribbon handles the curves and turns.

If the florals are too dainty for your tastes, look for geometric or other patterned ribbons. I like the taupe-coloured ribbon that’s on the far right – on a taupe skirt, it would be pretty and neutral! Or maybe the black version on an all-black skirt.

The stitched-detail on this ribbon is really subtle – I like it! It’s barely noticeable but adds a little more interest than just plain ribbon.

When choosing a ribbon

For a subtle look, choose a matching ribbon. You’ll barely be able to see the trim detail from far away, only once you get closer.

For a bolder statement, choose ribbon in a contrasting colour. In this example, I’ve chosen turquoise ribbon to bring out the accent colour.

If you’re using contrasting ribbon, like the turquoise, it might be hard to find a perfect match. That’s all right! It’s OK for the ribbon to be slightly off, as long as you like the look of it. This ribbon is slightly bluer and brighter than the print, but it’s close enough that it works.

Try laying different colours and types of ribbon over your fabric, and compare the difference. In the photo above, the orange is the obvious choice. It’s pretty, it’s simple, but it may limit the colours you can wear on top. The white dotted ribbon is a little more unexpected and playful. It’s up to you!

Online sources and ideas

Are you using ribbon or trim on your waistband seams? What kind? Any suggestions to add, or great sources for buying trims online?

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13 Responses to Crescent Sew-Along #17: Trim Ideas for the Waistband

  1. Corinne May 13, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    What phenomenal ribbon collection! I like the stitched on example you are using. I can see that used for sweater trim, intimate wear, many things. Will check out the on-line resources you suggest.

  2. Stacy May 13, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    So many inspiring ideas! I will keep all these in mind when I can get back to my sewing.

  3. Stephanie May 13, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    A great post! I’m not doing this sew along but I’ll tuck it away till my next project.

  4. Catholic Bibliophagist May 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    How I wish we had a store around here with such a nice selection of ribbons and trims! Since we don’t, thanks for the mail order links.


  5. Jane Elise May 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm #


    This isn’t a trim question but I need help. I have just skipped ahead and sewn in the zipper and sewn the yoke to the facing…upon trying it on, it is MAJORLY too big.

    I don’t know what I did :( I used stretch denim and made View A because it’s coming into Winter. I thought I was so careful. Is it because of the stretch?? Did I miraculously lose weight? Did I mis-measure?? I didn’t interface the yoke because I decided it was firm enough (was that wrong?).

    What can I do to make this wearable??

    If anyone can be at all bothered to peak into this issue for me, I have posted photos here:

    I really don’t want this skirt to be sent to the Shame Bin.

  6. Tasia May 16, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    @Jane Elise: Hi Jane Elise, I will jump over to your blog and take a look! I hope I can help you out. At first read-through it sounds like your denim has stretched out because it’s stretch, and because it’s not interfaced. Let me take a look and I’ll reply over on your blog!

  7. Musetica May 16, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Hi, I have a question about trims…are these examples of what I could use to finish up raw edges, instead of bias tape? I imagine I would have to be folding them in half and encase the raw edge in between the two sides? Sorry, I usually just zig-zag the edges but I would love to try this (if I understand it correctly). Sounds like so much more fun. Thank you! :)

  8. Jane Elise May 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Thanks for your replies, Tasia! I will go back and take in the side seams. I think I have lost weight but also I have learned about stretch fabric and not interfacing! Thanks so much. I don’t mind the extra work to make it fit as long as I am learning something along the way :) I love the pattern and will definitely be making more versions.

  9. Tasia May 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    @Musetica: Hi! The trim ideas are for decoration, to sew on top of the curved waistband seams. It’s an optional detail that shows off the curved seams on the waistline. But you’re right, you could use bias tape or seam binding to encase your raw edges. You’d do exactly what you suggested – fold it in half, slip the raw edge inside, and then topstitch the binding close to the binding-edge. It finishes the edges very nicely!

  10. Tasia May 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    @Jane Elise: Interfacing makes a big difference! You wouldn’t think so especially when you’re using a stiff fabric, but it really does stabilize your work and help it stay the same size. Stretch fabrics can change dramatically when you sew with them! Think of what happens to stretch jeans when you wear them all day – they stretch and bag out at the knee, the rear end, the waistband. Or those sweaters that get saggy elbows.. stretch makes a huge difference too. I’m glad you love the pattern and aren’t put off by the challenges from your first attempt! Once you get it to fit you right, transfer the changes to your pattern pieces or make notes, so you know what to do next time. (Just a suggestion! I think i’ll remember what I did six months ago, but I never do…)

  11. Stephanie May 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I don’t think I use ribbons nearly enough. This is a good reminder of how great they are!

  12. Diane September 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Hi Tasia
    Any tutorial on how to sew this trim to the waistband? I don;t know where to start…

    • Tasia September 16, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      Hi Diane! I sewed down each side of the trim, about 1/8″ to 1/16″ away from the edge. That way both sides are anchored and won’t flip up, better than sewing right down the middle. Hope this helps!