Posted on Leave a comment

How to Sew a Paperbag Waistband

paperbag waist on Pai Shorts

Add cute or dramatic paperbag waistband’s to your garments with these easy steps!

Go cutesy, or all out drama with a paperbag waistband!

You can also use this handy tutorial if you discover the elastic you have is smaller in width than required for your waistband!

These look especially great with elastic waistbands like on our Pai Shorts sewing pattern, Tio Trousers, but could also be used on the Mānuka Skirt sewing pattern!

Paperbag waistband tutorial:

How to adjust for a paperbag waist


At the pattern piece cutting stage, add the desired finished paperbag height x 2 to the top of the waist band.


Mini: Add 20mm (3/4″) for a 10mm (3/8″) paperbag

Medium: Add 50mm (2″) for a 25mm (1″) paperbag

Large: Add 100mm (4″) for a 50mm (2″) paperbag

In the example photo with the blue Pai Shorts I have sewn in a “Mini” 10mm paperbag effect.


Cut out pattern and sew as usual.

paperbag waist tutorial


After attaching the waistband to your garment (trousers, shorts, skirts etc), but before inserting the elastic: Top stitch around the top of the waistband with your desired paperbag height.

Press the top edge.

This creates a casing for the elastic to be threaded in to.

Continue to sew your garment as per the given tutorial.

paperbag waist on Pai Shorts
Pai Shorts with a 10mm Paperbag Waist, and NEW Front-Pocket style

Navy and Blue Tiny Gingham

Congratulations! Your Paperbag waistband is complete, and looking great!

Show us know the results in our  VIP Community , or tag us on instagram @belowthekowhai !

Love and happy sewing,
Sophie x

Leave a Reply