Easy waistband elastic

Whenever I see instructions for inserting elastic into a waistband they almost always tell you to make the waistband first, leaving an opening and then thread the elastic in. This drives me crazy for 2 reasons, 1) I hate threading elastic, it’s tedious, and 2) I hate it when down the track the elastic starts to twist and then I’m trying my darndest to make it straight again.

I find that problem especially irritating when it comes to making things for Bunny. I just hate to think that she’s wearing something uncomfy. So I came up with a different way of doing elastic waistbands, inspired by the way my mom used to make fitted sheets when I was a kid (Oh mom you’re so clever!!).

  1. Start with whatever pair of pants you are planning to put the elastic in.IMG_0809
  2. Decide what you want the finished waist size to be (keep in mind if you are measuring yourself, or your child’s waist you will need to remove a few inches from the measurement), add half an inch (for overlap) and cut the elastic that length. For example, before getting preggers my waist measurement was 27″, I would then take off 2 inches (to make sure whatever I’m making stays up) then add on half an inch for the elastic overlap, leaving me with 25.5″ of elastic.
  3. Overlap the elastic by 1/4″ on each side, then use a zig zag stitch to attach the two pieces of elastic together.IMG_0812
  4. Mark the elastic in quarters (representing the front, back and 2 sides)IMG_0813
  5. Match up the markers on your elastic with the front seam, back seam and 2 side seams, and so that it is 1/2″ away from the serged edge. Pin in place.IMG_0816
  6. Attach the elastic to the pants using a wide and long zig zag stitch on your machine, stretching the elastic as you go so that it matches up with the fabric.IMG_0818IMG_0819
  7. Fold over the waistband, encasing the elastic.IMG_0820IMG_0822
  8. Stitch 1/4″ from the serged edge, once again stretching as you go so that the fabric lines up properly.IMG_0824IMG_0826
  9. Voila, an elastic waistband that won’t twist :)How to make baby pants

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  1. Anitra says

    I feel exactly the same way about threading elastic–takes forever and the finished results never quite look as professional as I’d like. Thanks so much for this tip!

  2. Chantal2628 says

    Thanks for that tip. I always do my waistband like you except for the zigzag part, (I have an OLDER pattern that shows how to do the waistband)I will give the zigzag a try next time.

  3. says

    Just tried it on a pair of pants for myself – brilliant.
    Once the four pins were in place it took no time at all to sew the elastic on. The elastic itself created a nice crisp top, without having to go back and forth to the iron like I usually do.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Meg says

      I’m so glad you all found this helpful, here’s hoping we can all avoid threading elastic as much as possible!!!

  4. Pat says

    I make designer doll clothes and waistbands of this size drive me crazy. I’ve been making pj’s and doing them this size is, well, whew! I will try this on my next pair of dolly pj’s. Thanks!

  5. says

    I never understood why they tell you to make a casing first either! The method you describe is the standard way to sew elastic into leotards and swimwear. It is how I sew elastic into all my leotards/costumes and is so much easier!
    PS “Hi!” from a fellow Aussie!

    • Meg says

      Hi Jen it’s always so nice to meet a fellow Aussie! Meanwhile, I had no idea that’s how you do swimwear! That’s so funny! So I guess if I ever sew some bathers I won’t have to learn a new technique :)

  6. Kathy says

    You are so awesome! I made a pair of pants recently and I spent over an hour cursing before I got the elastic to stay in place long enough to sew it together. I will definitely be trying this method next time!