Sewing a leggings waistband with body shaping power mesh

- Sewing activewear, Sewing knits, Tutorials

Cora leggings by Jalie PatternsUsing power mesh or power net (more stable) when sewing leggings waistband will give a body shaping effect and it’s very comfortable too. That’s the conclusion of the experiment that did and this how it works.As I talked about in my previous Cora post I had some major waist fitting woes with the Jalie leggings, and ended up having to do them three times before I was happy with the fit.

The upside to all that hassle was that I had to chance to experiment with different sewing techniques (such as making the gusset in three easy steps). During my experiments I also noticed that several of my RTW leggings didn’t seem to have any elastic at all in the waistband. Instead some of them had lining to stabilize the area, which made me think “power mesh!”

Since I had a firmer version of power mesh  I decided to see if it would work in a waistband. And it turned out well, the only possible downside is that it feels a little less stable at the top. I loved that it was quicker to make them like this, rather than having to attach elastic to the inner waist seam. The fit is also really flattering, because the power mesh works a bit like shape wear.

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

1. Cut three waistband pieces: Inner, outer and power mesh

You should use the inner waist pattern piece for the power mesh lining. I used the outer which added too much fabric.

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

2 . Secure the power mesh to the waistband

I just used a few needles, but basting is perhaps the best choice

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

3. Sew the side seam(s) of the outer leggings waistband

The Cora waist band only have a seam in the back

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

4. Sew the side seam(s) of the inner waistband


Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

5. Sew together the inner and outer leggings waistband

Make sure you flip the side seams in opposite direction for a non bulky seam


Making a waistband with body shaping power meshMaking a waistband with body shaping power mesh

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

6. Topstitch the seam to the inner waistband to keep it in place

Just like you would do with a regular facing. I used a coverstitch, but a zigzag would work just as well


Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

7. Cut away any surplus power mesh

In hindsight I should have used the inner waist pattern piece for the mesh


8. Attach the waistband to leggings/pants/tights 

I recommend basting first to keep the edges of the layers in place

Cora leggings by Jalie Patterns

9. The finished leggings waistband 

I give this method a 4 out a 5. The only thing is that the edge is a little bit unstable and rolls just a tiny bit when I bend over (but return when I stand up). Maybe the best waistband for activewear should combine power mesh and a narrow elastic at the upper seam?

Making a waistband with body shaping power mesh

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  • Reply
    July 17, 2016 at 12:51 am

    It looks great! You said it only rolls a little when you bend but returns quickly wen you straighten up. My question is: does it hold up the leggings even when you run for a long time? Do you ever feel that the leggings are sliding down? I have yoga pants that don't even have the power mesh, just a very wide waistband. The pants hold up during normal movements, but I don't think they could take a run. Would like to know your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Reply
      July 17, 2016 at 6:56 am

      Yes it does! I've used this method now on two leggings that I run in regularly and it holds up incredibly well. Plus the power mush doesn't cut into my waist at all and gives my tummy a flatter silhouette. As for waistbands with no support like mesh or elastic I've had mixed experiences with them. I have a pair of RTW compression type leggings that holds up well in the waist without extra support, but that's because the fabric is so tight in itself. But yoga leggings without reinforcement rides down on me as soon as I start moving more strenuously. But mixing power mesh with elastic would be the most secure method of all I think!

      • Reply
        October 5, 2017 at 2:48 am

        Thanks a lot Johanna! You always give good tutorials and advice. 🙂 I read your reply only now and it’s already more than a year after you made it! But it’s still very good advice and it made me appreciate once again why I followed you in the first place, and why I keep reading your blogs, watching your vlogs on YouTube, and why I’m waiting for your ebook to come out. Keep on sewing! You inspire many people (like me) to sew, exercise and follow our passions. Cheers!

  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I have RTW capris that are made that way – some sort of perhaps power mesh inside and an elastic that sits right at the waist? I love the idea of powermesh though inside waist band for stability. I’m a fan of powermesh for all sorts of things! It makes a great band for the neckline too if you want something different and it comes in a lot of different colours.

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