How To Sew a Cummerbund

Originally from India and was originally called a “kammerband” the cummerbund is a gartered belt worn and is part of a tuxedo and is worn during formal occasions.

You could buy a cummerbund in a department store and this would be a good investment if you’re often in a tux after work but you can make your own cummerbund at half the cost and all of the prestige.

  • Follow the instructions below and have these materials on hand:
    • Sewing machine
    • Scissors
    • Boning
    • Tape measure
    • Grosgrain fabric
    • Iron and ironing board
    • Seam tape
    • Hook and eye
    • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Match to your bow tie. The first rule of cummerbunds is that it has to match your bow tie. So make sure that you get the color fabric that matches your tux’s bow tie. You can also choose a more festive fabric as long as it is tasteful and won’t draw too much attention to itself.
  • Measure up. Cummerbunds are often worn around the waist so you need to take your tape measure and measure the length of the waist. Add 3 inches to the measurement you get from the waistline.
  • Cut the fabric. Using the measurement you’ve gotten from the previous step cut a length of your grosgrain (or your fabric of choice) fabric. Cut your fabric 2 ½ times as wide when it comes to the width of your intended cummerbund.
  • Make a pleat. Turn over the fabric and iron it on the underside.  Fold one side to about a half inch and sew it in place, this will be your pleat. Take the bottom edge and fold an inch of the fabric so that the wrong sides come together. Next, fold it back a half each to create the lower pleat. Use your iron to keep the pleat you’re making flat.
  • Press and pleat. Iron the pleat well so that it remains even and straight. Topstitch that first pleat you made. Keep folding your fabric under and back to itself then stitching that pleat so that it keeps in place. Make another pleat by repeating the previous steps and make as many pleats until your cummerbund is 9 inches thick.
  • Pleats make the man. You need to adjust the size of the cummerbund depending on how wide or tall the person who’ll wear it is. Finally, when you’re done pleating, turn a half inch under along the top of the cummerbund and then stitch it in place.
  • Boning in. Take four boning casings and sew them two in at either side of where the waist will be using seam tape. Tidy up the boning by trimming it and finally slide it on the casings.
  • Finish up. Trim the short ends of your cummerbund with matching grosgrain ribbon (or any matching ribbon for your chosen fabric.) Stitch a hook and eye along every half-inch along your ribbon trim. And finish up by stitching in another row of hooks directly parallel to the first set. This second row is in case you need to adjust the cummerbund’s fit.


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