Tips for using flat front, elastic back waistband

Tips for the flat-front waistband on the MyFit Joggers

The number of style options in MyFit patterns makes them among the most versatile PDF sewing patterns available. On the MyFit Joggers, there are six waistband options alone. The large number of style options, means the combination of options, plus the pattern’s adjustments for fabric stretch and body measurements means the possible different patterns that can be generated is almost unlimited.

For certain options however, some limits or caveats have to be added as a warning to avoid unwanted results from a combination of options that ends up being incompatible.

The flat-front waistband on the MyFit Joggers is one option that doesn’t work in all situations, and this post explains how to ensure it works as intended.

Why is the flat-front waistband challenging to get right in a joggers pattern?

The MyFit Joggers pattern is likely the only PDF sewing pattern that offers a flat-front/elastic band waistband on a joggers pattern. The reason others don't offer that option is that by design joggers don't taper in at the waist like trousers do. 

On a joggers pattern the waist opening is set by the hip size, which is part of why they are so comfortable. When body measurements have a high waist to hip ratio there's a lot of fabric that needs to be gathered into the waistband. With the flat-front option that means all the gathering has to be in the small back waist area, which can lead to excessive gathering in some situations.

**A note about MyFit bottoms patterns, waist is defined as top of waistband, not natural waist. Hip should be taken at the fullest part below "waist" that is above the crotch. **

Here are some tips to get the best results with the flat-front waistband option on the MyFit Joggers pattern:

  • If hips and waist are similar size, the flat front waistband will work better and with more fabric types and pattern options. So bodies with a larger tummy or flatter bum will have better results than bodies with a large difference between waist and hips. Consider using high hip for your waist placement in this case. 
  • If the waist is much smaller than hips, the flat-front waistband can work, but fabric choice makes a big difference.
  • Flat-front waistband will work best in a drapey fabric. Gathering may look excessive in a thick or structured fabric like double gauze, denim, structured linen or cotton, or low stretch or thick knits. 
  • Avoid combining the yoke option on the pattern with the flat-front waistband option. The yoke adds shaping to the back, which for most waistbands is a good thing, the shaping has invisible darts which narrow the opening of the back portion of the waist opening. But for the flat front waistband that means the gathering happens over a smaller area, and front waistband is proportionally bigger.
  • Adjust hip measurement in program to enter split measurement and ensure back hips are at least a few inches larger than front hips. The amount of the waistband that is the back portion with the elastic is set by the back hip measurement, as well as the fabric stretch percentage.  
  • Interface the front part of the waistband to stop any stretch, even in a woven fabric. 
  • When entering your fabric's stretch percentage into the generator, consider increasing the stretch entered by 10%, especially for woven or low stretch fabrics. For example, if your fabric is 0% stretch, you would enter 10%. If your fabric is 25% stretch, you would enter 35%.
    For woven fabrics, this will reduce by about 1.5” in adult sizes the waist opening, as well as reduce the ease by the same amount at hips, and by a proportionally smaller amount on the legs (the pattern preview lists ease amounts to see the exact changes). Even in a woven fabric, the waist opening will still be large enough to get over the hips even when the waist opening is a bit smaller, but will be a bit snug going over hips. Because the waistband opening will be smaller, that will be less fabric to gather into the waistband.

Extend gathering over pocket area to make the flat front waistband work better for more fabrics and body measurements

A stylish way to hack the flat front elastic waistband option so gathering is done over a larger area and looks more subtle, is to add pockets and extend the back/elastic portion of the waistband over the pocket area. 

Here are the steps:

  • Choose shallow, slant or curved pocket option. (Doesn’t work with the side seam pocket option.)
  • Generate the pattern and zoom in on the PDF on the waistband piece and write down the measurements for the back elastic and the back waistband casing piece. (No need to print these pieces as we will adjust them in the steps below)
  • Wait to cut the waistband pieces until after the steps below.  
  • When the legs and pocket of the joggers are sewn up, measure the waist opening from the inner seam of the pocket all the way around the back to the inner seam of the pocket on the other side, the inner seams are indicated in red. We will call this adjusted back measurement.

  • Then measure on the front between the two inner pocket seams, indicated by the blue line. We will call this adjusted front measurement.  

  • To calculate the front and back waistband pieces:
    • Front = adjusted front measurement + two seam allowances
    • Back = adjusted back measurement + two seam allowances
    • Elastic for adjusted back waistband = elastic measurement from the flat front waistband piece + (adjusted back measurement - back waistband casing measurement  from flat front pattern) 
  • Cut elastic and waistband pieces with these calculated lengths (use the same width as on the original pieces) and assemble adjusted flat-front waistband following pattern directions.
  • When sewing waistband to legs, align seams of waistband with inner pocket seams on legs, indicated in red.

The result will look like this, with some variation in pocket style. 


I hope this helps you navigate the Flat front, elastic back waistband for the MyFit Joggers.

Please join us in our FB Group or tag us on Instagram to share your makes or if you have any questions. 

~Cynthia and the AP Team

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  • It would be great to link this from the waistband page in the measurements part of the project! I wasn’t aware that it was a bad idea to use a yoke and flat front waistband together (though it worked out pretty well in my pattern).

    Katherine on
  • Thank you this is very useful

    Deborah Moore on

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