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Tips & Techniques > Adding elastic for breathing ease to regular wasitband

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Posted by: PittyPat

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Member since: 2/25/04
Reviews: 52 (tips: 3)
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Posted on: 4/18/11 12:25 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 14 people   
How to add elastic to waistband.
1) Adjust skirt top so that it is about 2'' larger than waist.

You can gain the extra width in the waist by making the darts smaller than the pattern calls for - and by narrowing the seams a bit. Remember: each 1/8'' on a dart or seam = 1/4'' gained; so 4 darts narrowed by 1/8'' = 1'' gained.... or narrow them by 1/4'' X 4 darts = 2'' gained. Simple to do....

2) Cut waistband so that it is 2'' larger than waist plus the amount you add for lap over at zipper opening.
3) Sew one long side of waistband to the top edge of skirt; leaving overlap hanging off both ends.
4) Fold waistband in half with right sides together
5) Pull the non-roll elastic to a comfortable but slightly snug lenght - over lapping ends a bit. Cut. The elastic will end up about 3''-5'' shorter than your waist usually.
6) Lay one end of elastic even with short ends of wasitband and with top edge of elastic just below the folded top edge of waistband. Note: the folded waistband width should be slightly wider than non-roll elastic.
7) stitch across ends of waistband - catching elastic in stitching. Repeat at the other end of waistband.
8) Trim seams and turn waistband to the right side.
9) Fold under raw edge of waistband and lap it over the elastic; pin it over the first stitching line. The waistband should be just slightly wider than the elastic so that the fabric can move over the elastic with ease.
10) Note: the elastic will cause the waistband/skirt to be pulled up a bit.... just pin so that the waistband is matched up evenly across the lenght
11) Sew waistband down - either with slip stitch if on the inside of skirt or do a top stitch if it is on the outside of skirt; move the elastic so that the area you are working on is laying flat but sliding the waistband fabric over the elastic; Do NOT catch the elastic in the stitching.

The waistband will have a slightly crumpled/gathered look when it is not on, but will lay fairly flat when it is being worn. If you don't flucuate much - you could make the increase only 1'' wider rather than the 2'' I use. I also use this in waistbands for my pants - but only make it about 1 1/2'' wider than my waist.

There are two types of non-roll elastic that work for this. One is the typical one with ribs running crosswise on the elastic. The other one [more expensive] had two thick elastic edges with what appears to be zig=zag stiches joining the inside thinner lines of elastic. This is what the industry uses in waistbands. It doesn't have as much stretch to it as the other non-roll elastic but it lays very nicely in the waistbands. I like to use the 1'' wide non-roll elastic vs the 3/4'' wide one as I prefer the wider waistband.

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Nerys said... (7/14/15 3:33 PM) Reply
When do you insert the zipper?
adelaide original said... (5/8/11 9:09 PM) Reply
I am an apple shape and this will help me fit my thick waist better. thank you.
kathi s said... (4/19/11 12:18 PM) Reply
Great technique and instructions! Have you used your technique on zippered pants?
renren said... (4/18/11 12:42 PM) Reply
Thanks for posting this tip! I love the ease of elastic-waisted skirts, but not the "look" so it's good to know there is a technique for converting any non-elasticized waistband to one with hidden elastic. I'll be using this tip on the next skirt with waistband I sew and add it to my skillset toolbox!
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