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Tips & Techniques > Basting elastic in the waistband

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Posted by: Lisa Laree
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About Lisa Laree starstarstarstar
Member since: 8/24/02
Reviews: 253 (tips: 16)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 6/14/03 1:41 AM
Last Updated: 1/12/07 8:48 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 5 people   Needs More Info by 1 people   Very Helpful by 39 people   
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This is something I learned quite a while ago and I routinely do it on all the waistbands that have the elastic sewn to the fabric (as opposed to threaded through a casing). Most pattern guides state to quarter mark the elastic and the garment, then match them and sew the elastic, stretching as you go. Very few add instructions to baste vertically through the elastic and the garment at the quarter marks, but I've found that basting really helps keep the elastic from shifting. I even baste again after I've turned the elastic to the wrong side -- just keeps everything lined up well.

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Sewandwrite said... (5/3/12 10:59 AM) Reply
Brilliant! This should be included in all published sewing instructions (hint, hint, pattern companies) for quartered-and-sewn-in elastic.
fiddlestick chic said... (5/29/09 6:49 PM) Reply
A big Ole THANK you for this information, I am just getting back into sewing for myself and I have done the pinning before but always had to steam heavily afterwards. I dont know if it was me but I used to end up with a waistline that was always too big! I will try this method nextime! ( thanks again, every bit helps these days!)
SueBh said... (2/14/07 10:55 PM) Reply
Thank you, Lisa, great tip; I've had trouble with sew-on elastic waistbands, and I think your tip will solve my problem.
Lisa Laree said... (1/12/07 8:55 AM) Reply
Yvonski, stitching through the elastic will stretch it out; if you're going to sew through it, it needs to be shorter than the actual measurement. (usually 3" -5", depending on the recovery of the elastic and how much you're using...short pieces need to be closer to the actual waist measurement than long pieces, because it's a percentage thing) Also, some really cheap elastic just doesn't recover well from being stitched through. If you're using elastic with poor recovery, try a better elastic...or even sports elastic, which has stitching guides; then make sure you're starting with elastic that is smaller than the needed measurement. I don't know why pattern companies say to use elastic that is cut to 'waist measurement + 1/2" ' if the elastic is to be sewn through...that just doesn't work.
Yvonski said... (1/11/07 2:13 AM) Reply
Thanks Lisa; just now searching this subject as I am having problems trying to sew the elastic into a pair of work shorts for my DSIL.. The elastic stretches after I've stitched it in. !!!
MaryLynn in Long Beach said... (7/9/06 8:13 PM) Reply
WOW! thanks for this's a really good, kewl idea, Lisa.
CAgirl said... (4/16/06 7:59 PM) Reply
Thank you-I am going to use this technique tomorrow on the Brussles skirt.
GorgeousFabrics said... (1/25/06 7:52 PM) Reply
Brilliant Lisa! I had missed this tip, but it is so clever. Thanks! -Ann
Sherril Miller said... (1/25/06 5:10 PM) Reply
Lisa, I knew you were clever! This is a great tip and one I'll be using from now on.
Learn To Sew said... (1/25/06 12:57 PM) Reply
Hmmm. If I baste the seams at the quadrants, I might not need to use the long, very sharp pins I am using. My poor fingers will not be bleeding anymore! It is worth a try.
CarolynGM said... (7/5/05 8:52 PM) Reply
I just used this wonderful tip yesterday on a skirt. I tried to find it so I could cite it in my review, but couldn't. Thank you Lisa!
Muria said... (7/5/05 3:33 PM) Reply
This is basting before you stretch and sew? That's a great idea! Wish I'd thought of that (or read this tip) before I did about 8 waistbands in the last two weeks, not to mention the swimsuit I made. All that slipping and sliding and repositioning could have been avoided.... :)
Lisa Laree said... (7/3/05 11:05 PM) Reply
Y'know...I wish I could remember where I first saw this...a Kwik Sew pattern, maybe? It's been such a long time ago that I really don't have any idea. It wasn't my original idea...but it has saved my sanity many times over! I'm really glad that other folks have found it useful, too. :D
drsue said... (7/3/05 9:15 PM) Reply
I think this has been the single most useful tip I have ever read here.
Mary Stiefer said... (7/3/05 3:22 PM) Reply
Just saw this tip because of a review. This is really a good one. I usually use a casing with elastic - but - I think I like this idea better.
jillbailey said... (7/3/04 1:13 PM) Reply
thanks I will try this!
Tessa said... (12/8/03 10:53 AM) Reply
I just used this to baste the elastic to six pairs of long johns, saving me poked fingers from the pins, and enabling me to try the long johns on my husband and sons to check crotch length before stitching the elastic on. Thank you so much!
Lisa Laree said... (11/12/03 8:33 AM) Reply
Thanks, jwmcgtl! You made my day... ;)
jwmcgtl said... (11/12/03 8:14 AM) Reply
I have to post another comment. THIS IS GREAT. I made the LH gore skirt last night and used this tip for applying the elastic. Works like a charm every time. I have been elastic waist challenged for 40 years and now I can do it perfect everytime.
CarolynGM said... (9/2/03 7:04 AM) Reply
I wish I had seen this tip about basting elastic before I experienced exactly this problem attaching elastic to a pants waistline over the weekend. Now I know what to do next time to fix it.
jwmcgtl said... (7/22/03 2:50 PM) Reply
This is one of the best tips I have found lately. It makes all the difference in getting the elastic applied correctly. Thanks.
SouthernStitch said... (6/19/03 1:34 AM) Reply
Great tip, Lisa. This will save frustration on the Christine Jonson one seams I love so much, but hate doing the (big) waist band!!
Debbie Lancaster said... (6/14/03 1:48 PM) Reply
Lisa, it's amazing how one little thing can make a procedure sooo much easier! Thanks for the tip! Another one of those "Why didn't *I* think of that?" things.
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