Sharp Corners… A Work in Progress

Close-up of a green waistband with the zipper tab showing and someone's thumb with shiny green nail polish.
Finished Sharp Corners

I can definitely tell that my sewing skills have improved with practice. Patterns that I once avoided because I was afraid of this or that technique no longer scare me. I can sew better, stronger, faster. So imagine how frustrating it was for me to see that my waistbands were looking wonkier and wonkier. Everything else progressed… but the corners of my skirt waistbands. I went to books for an answer; I searched the Web for a clue; I even considered getting a private sewing lesson to get this mystery solved. And then, the solution.

Close-up of a green waistband where one can see the zipper tab, two pins on each side of the waistband, and someone's thumb with shiny green nail polish.
Sharp Corners on the Horizon

I came across the Sew Essential site while browsing the Internet for sewing content. The explanation on how to insert a zipper was very detailed and really helpful. Halfway through the page, the warning: Do not clip the corners of the waistband! And would you believe it, the source of my problem was trimming the corner! That sewing truth that clipping, notching, and trimming seams will get us a smooth and crisp seam–that was the real culprit behind my ugly corners.

Too Much Trimming

Close-up of a black and white polka dotted waistband where one can see the zipper tab. One side of the waistband is shorter than the other, and the corners are rounded.
One Sad, Sad Waistband

When I first started sewing, I was not familiar with the principle of trimming. My seams might not have been the crispest, but the corners of my waistbands looked fierce. They stood there, 90 degrees of awesomeness. As I learned more and became more concerned with the finishing of my clothes, I really got into clipping, notching, and trimming seams. In my head, I had to get rid of all the excess fabric so that the corners of my waistband looked sharp. The more my corners looked bad, the more I trimmed them. 

This was all fine and dandy for most seams, but not that little bit of a corner. While trimming your seams will prevent bulk, in this case, it will take away all the fabric that the corners need to get their structure. Had I just left them alone, I would not end up with messed up corners. 

The Solution

For nice, crisp corners, make sure not to overtrim! The excess fabric will provide your outside corner the structure that it needs.

  1. Fold the top seam allowances toward the interfaced side. This will provide your corner with even more support.

2. Fold the side seam allowances in.

Detail image of the side seam allowances folded towards the inside of the skirt.

3. Fold the waistband with wrong sides together.

It helps to press the seam allowance on the lining so that you have a defined edge to match to the zipper teeth.

Detail image the folded waistband and the zipper opening ready to be sewn.

4. Pin the opening.

Detail image the folded waistband with a pin.

5. Hand sew the opening.

Detail image the finished waistband.

Why hand sewing, you ask? Even though I do not enjoy hand sewing, it provides a lot more control. I can make sure that the both sides of the waistband are exactly on the same level, and I can keep those corners looking pointy as ever.

6. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to gently push the fabric into the corners and shape those corners into pointy little wonders.

Nice, Pointy Corners… A Work in Progress

Image of the lower back of a woman. She wears a green skirt.
A Work in Progress

I don’t ever wear tucked in shirts, so it seems like a waste of time to put so much work in perfecting a waistband. To be honest, it was more the frustration of not knowing how to correct the problem that was upsetting me. It took a lot of looking round, but I can always count on the online sewing community to save the day!


  1. Su
    January 26, 2022 / 1:46 pm

    Great tip! Kind of you 🙂

    • SewGoth
      January 27, 2022 / 5:54 pm

      Hope it will help 🙂

  2. January 29, 2022 / 6:56 pm

    Those are very sharp corners! I am still definitely not that great at zippers, but that will come with time I am sure!

    • SewGoth
      February 6, 2022 / 12:23 pm

      Zippers can be tricky, but the more you practice, the better they get. And if it does not look good the first time you sew your zipper, just unpick! I cannot tell how many times I had to unpick a zipper that did not want to cooperate. That’s what I love about sewing—there is always a chance for a redo.

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