Agnes sew along (5): Waistband and finishing touches

This is part 5 of the Agnes Skirt sew along series. The other posts can be found here. We’re in the home stretch, and the skirt is nearly done, so let’s continue..

If you want to use a Petersham ribbon as an alternative to the waistband, this tutorial explains how. I tend to use the Petersham option for thicker fabrics where I don’t want the bulk of a waistband.

  • Follow steps 46-48 to prepare the waistband, so that you have pressed along the central fold line, bound one long edge with bias tape and notched the unbound long edge 5/8″ (1.5 cm) away from the short ends of the waistband.
  • Step 49: Pin the waistband to the skirt with right sides together. The unbound edge of the waistband should be against the raw edge of the skirt waist, and align the notches you made on the waistband in the previous step with the edge of the skirt on each side. Those notches should align with the edge of the zip shield on the left side of skirt, and the edge of the zip teeth on the right side of the skirt. 
    Note: If you had cut a longer waistband to allow for pattern matching (as discussed in Part 2), ignore the notches mentioned above and place the waistband so that you are happy with the pattern matching. You will have a longer overlap at each end than 5/8″ (1.5cm), but just you can trim the ends down when we get to that step.
  • Steps 50-51: Check that the zip tape is caught between the waistband and the skirt, and that the zip shield is extended flat. Stitch all the way around the waistband with a 5/8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance. Then trim the waistband seam allowance and press it upwards, towards the waistband.
  • Step 52: Fold the waistband back on itself along the centre foldline (right sides together), and stitch along the short edges – stopping at the stitching line (at ⅝”) where the waistband meets the skirt. I have a long overlap in the image below, but I’m just stitching in line with the end of the skirt and will then trim it down.
  • Turn the corners out and check that everything looks nice and square. Re-stitch if necessary. Trim these seams and the corner, and then turn the waistband right side out.

The Inner Waistband

Now we will stitch down the inner waistband (which is folded to the inside of the skirt), over  the skirt and lining. The inner edge is not folded to the inside of the waistband – that’s why we bound it with the bias binding. Instead, it will look like this inside the skirt:

  • Pin the inner layer of the waistband to the skirt in line with the stitching of the outer waistband seam.
  • From the front of the skirt, stitch along the waistband seam, so that the needle falls right in the stitching line of that seam (“stitching in the ditch”) to secure the inner waistband to the skirt. Be careful with the pins! At the corners of the waistband, secure the bound edge of the inner waistband at the ends of the waistband so they are neatly tucked away.


Hand-stitch the inner waistband to the wrong side of the skirt by catching your hand stitches to the seam allowance that is folded up inside the waistband, but not stitching through to the front of the skirt. Tuck the bound edge in neatly at the ends of the waistband and stitch them in place with a couple of hand stitches.


In Part 4 we left some of the hand stitching to be done at the end. If you have followed the steps in the instructions, you may have done these bits already, but if not, now’s the time!

  • (Step 42) Pin, and then stitch, the lining to the zip tape. You may find it easier to press the lining lightly around the zip opening first, with its seam allowance folded to the inside. That will give you a crisp folded edge to stitch along.
  • (Step 44) Hem the main skirt:
  • (Step 35/43) Hand stitch the short section at the base of the vent, if you didn’t do this in Part 4:
  • Secure the lining to the main skirt with thread chains. Mine are usually around 1″ long. The video shows how to stitch a thread chain (including exclusive footage of me stabbing my finger with the needle whilst attempting to check the recording and close off the chain at the same time – d’oh!).

Sew a skirt hook and bar at the centre back waist. The hook should be slightly to the inside of the end of the waistband and the eye should be slightly to the right of the zip. You could alternatively make a buttonhole and sew on a button if you prefer.