How to Sew a Cumberbund

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Wrapping the waist with a broad sash is part of traditional male dressing in India, Iran and parts of South America. The "kammerband" in India has come to be called the "cummerbund" in the West, and is worn instead of a belt and vest for formal occasions. The cummerbund is usually black and matches the bow tie, although more festive fabrics may be used for occasions like holiday parties.

Things You'll Need

  • Grosgrain fabric
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler/straight edge
  • Matching or contrasting thread for top stitching
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Hook and eye closures
  • Boning
  • Seam tape
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing needles
  • Pressing cloth
  • Choose a grosgrain fabric in black or a suitable festive print. Purchase a length of fabric that is sufficient to wrap around the waist plus 3 inches.

  • Cut a length of fabric per the measurement in Step 1. Cut the fabric two-and-a-half times as wide as the desired width of the finished cummerbund.

  • Iron the fabric on the wrong side. Fold under 1/2 inch and stitch in place along lower long edge. Starting at the bottom edge, fold one inch of fabric under, wrong sides together, then fold back 1/2 inch for the bottom pleat. Press well keeping the pleat straight and even.

  • Press well, keeping the pleat straight and even. Topstitch the first pleat in place. Continue folding the fabric under and then back on itself and stitching the resulting pleat in place.

  • Continue pleating until the cummerbund is about 9 inches wide. Make the cummerbund wider for a taller or long-waisted man. Turn under 1/2 inch along the top edge and stitch into place.

  • Sew four boning casings, two at either side of the waist, into the sides of the cummerbund, using the seam tape. Trim the boning and slid it into the casings.

  • Finish the short ends of the cummerbund by trimming them with matching grosgrain ribbon. Sew a hook-and-eye closure every 1/2 inch along the ribbon trim. Add a second row of hooks parallel to the first to adjust the fit of the cummerbund.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear the cummerbund with the pleats facing up.

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