The Donna Skirt: Working with waistband stiffener a/k/a Ban Roll

Ban Roll is more of a waistband stiffener than an interfacing. I describe it in a previous posting about selecting the best waistband height for the skirt and your figure type.

I tried using a shortcut that I’d devised during a rush sewing job to make a pencil skirt in time for a job interview. At the time I thought it was pretty neat but when I tried it again yesterday the results were dismal. So, it was back to the method I learned in school. It takes more time but the results are much better.

The waistband for any skirt should have at least 1/2″ to 1″ of ease added to it. The extra ease takes into consideration the extra bulk a slip or petticoat and a blouse add underneath the skirt. Also, some fabrics tighten up when they are sewn. This is why a careful fitting of a toile and fittings during the construction process are necessary.

The half-circle skirt pattern includes some extra ease that must be eased into the waistband of the skirt. This ensures a smooth fit around the waistline. Use as many pins as you need making sure to match the points on the waistband to the key points on the skirt (side seams, center front and center back).

The waistband stiffener is a little difficult to use at first but I found it worth the effort since the results are good. The waistband will stay up and never roll or wrinkle. Just be prepared to take your time and if necessary use up a few hand sewing needles in the process.

1. Press the waistband in half from the right side. Open it up to the wrong side. Pin the waistband stiffener along the fold line. Begin and end at the markings for the side seams of the waistband. The stiffener does not extend past that.

2. Using a single strand of waxed or conditioned thread catch stitch the waistband stiffener to the waistband on all sices. I found using a smaller size of hand sewing needle the best for this part.

3. Pin the waistband to the skirt, easing in the fullness between the match points of the skirt and the waistband. Baste. The lower edge of the waistband stiffener is the guide for machine stitching. I keep this side up when sewing the waistband in.

4. After machine sewing, trim and grade the waistline seam allowances. Steam press upwards. Catch stitch the waistline seam to the stiffener.

5. Turn the waistband over the waistband stiffener and baste all the seam edges in place, making sure the fabric is not slack when pinning and basting in place over the waistline. Slip stitch all edges in place.

6. The waistband is closed using a skirt hook and a smaller hook and eye. Pin and sew into place.

7. Completed waistband with hooks and eyes. I use the smaller hook and eye inside the skirt because it is lighter and will not add extra bulk inside the waistband.

8. View of completed waistband from the front of the skirt. Notice how smoothly it encircles the waistline.
Note: The extra ease held in by pins is necessary to accommodate The Donna Blouse which has a seam at the waistline for the waist yoke.

9. View of waistband at side seam with lapped zipper.

10. The skirt is now ready to hang on the dressform or a padded skirt hanger for 48-72 hours or more. This step is necessary to let gravity do its work. The flares will become more prominent as the threads fall into place.

Next posting will detail how to mark the hem and finish it with a wide strip of bias cut organza in lieu of horsehair braid or nylon braid trim. This produces a softer flare.


3 thoughts on “The Donna Skirt: Working with waistband stiffener a/k/a Ban Roll

    • H Ruthi. I recommend you print out the photos of the waistband stiffener and take it to the store when you go shopping. Or send a screen shot when inquiring by email. Sometimes the sales help will then know what you need. It can be hard to find but here is where I get mine from:

      Online through: Steinlauf and Stoller Inc.
      Bricks & Mortar location: 239 West 39th St.
      New York, N.Y. 10018
      Store Hours: Monday – Friday 8 AM- 5:30 PM EST
      212 869-0321
      Fax 212 302-4465
      Toll Free 877-869-0321

      Locally, here in Brooklyn a fabric store that specializes in home decorating still has a small supply of dressmaking supplies and fabrics. They do not have a website:

      DeCrescenzo Brothers
      6914 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11228
      (718) 680-3030


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