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Tips & Techniques > Adjustable waist band using buttonhole elastic

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Posted by: EMSB

About EMSB star
Member since: 8/1/10
Reviews: 46 (tips: 1)
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Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 2/24/11 6:38 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 13 people   
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This is the technique I use to make my skinny boys pants fit. It also allows me to make them a liitle big to last longer, but still fit now.

I start by adding a small piece of fusible interfacing to each side of the top of the back waist band before it is folded over. I centered it about 1 1/4" from each edge to allow room for the 5/8" seam allowance and enough space to finish the rest of the waist band.

Waist band with interfacing applied

I then sewed a 1" buttonhole on top of the interfacing (the waist band is 1 1/2" wide). This will allow the 3/4" elastic to move through easily. Make sure you cut the buttonholes open before the next step.

Buttonholes in waistband

I then fold the waist band over and sew close to each edge to form the casing as usual.

Waist band after it is folded over and sewn

Then I sew the side seams as usual to the pattern. I do not yet add the elastic, since it will not be sewn in and it is easier to sew everything together without it.

After side seams are sewn

I then fold the front waist bands down and slip stich them in place. Then I sew a 1/2" or 5/8" button (usually a couple from the leftover button stash), to the edge of each front waist band piece.

Buttons on front waist band edges

I then cut a piece of 3/4" buttonhole elastic to the length specified by the pattern plus enough to fold over the ends and sew to form finished ends. Buttonhole elastic is available by the yard from and their shipping is crazy fast!

Elastic with finished ends

Then using a large safety pin, I thread the elastic into one buttonhole, securing the end on the button and out the other buttonhole, finally securing that end to the other button.

Final result!

That's it! Now you have an easily adjusted waist band that looks no different from the outside.

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BJ1400 said... (4/8/11 3:55 PM) Reply
Great tip & excellent tutorial!
SandiMacD said... (2/27/11 11:51 PM) Reply
Thank you. I watched Nancy Z's show last month and ordered her elastic book but it was misprinted. I tried to make sense of the revised printed sheet that was sent but it was so confusing! She mixed up right amd wrong sides od fabric amd where the button was sewn on her step by step illustration. You tip arrived just in time. Thanks so much.
Diane333 said... (2/25/11 11:23 AM) Reply
THank you for an excellent tutorial.
StitchinMom said... (2/25/11 11:16 AM) Reply
Thank you for this very helpful tip! I loved the pictures too (I am visual so that was especially helpful). I've thought of doing this based on pants I've purchased that have it, but I had not yet put together a strategy for doing so in my head. Now I know what I will do! Thank you again!
Flying Seamstress said... (2/25/11 8:48 AM) Reply
This is such a great tutorial with pictures to clarify each step. Thank you so much!
Flying Seamstress said... (2/25/11 8:48 AM) Reply
Duplicate post
Christina Sonja said... (2/25/11 0:30 AM) Reply
Great tutorial! I have this in a couple of RTW garments (maternity pants and infant pants), I was going to try to figure out how to do this because, as you said, it's great for kids clothes - but now I can just refer to your tip. Thanks!
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