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Tips & Techniques > Attached Elastic Waistband from a Beginner

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Posted by: PixieCat
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About PixieCat star
Member since: 5/5/04
Reviews: 66 (tips: 5)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 10 people
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Posted on: 1/13/05 5:55 PM
Last Updated: 5/14/06 7:03 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 30 people   
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I like the look of this waistband because the gathers are even and they don't shift from wearing or in the wash. This is one of the easiest new techniques I've tried so far.

I used a stretch needle, regular thread, pants ready for the waistband (center seam, crotch, and side seams done) and sew-through elastic. I used 1 1/4" wide elastic meant for pajamas since that's what I was making.

1. I measured a piece of elastic that fit comfortably around my waist, added 1" for overlapping the edges, then deducted 3" to allow for the elastic to stretch when it's stitched.

2. Overlap the edges of the elastic and stitch together. I stitch in a square (the edges of the overlap) and then X across the center.

3. Fold the elastic in half lengthwise twice and mark each fold with a pin to mark the quarter points on the elastic.

4. Do the same with the waistband edge.

5. (I found it easier to do this next step with the pants right side out.) Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the pants having the edge of the elastic even with the edge of the pants waistband edge and matching the pin placements. The elastic should be smaller than the pants. Pin in place.

6. Place the elastic and fabric, with elastic side up, under the presser foot at a pin point and take a few stitches. I used a 3-thread serger but believe it could be done with a wide zig zag stitch too. I was extra careful to not nick the elastic with the serger cutting blade.

7. Stop and take a firm hold of the fabric and elastic at a point just beyond the next pin. Pull both toward you until the fabric under the elastic is straight but not stretched.

8. Hold that stretch and stitch to the next pin. (Don't forget to remove the pins before you hit the cutting blade if using a serger.)

9. Repeat until the entire strip of elastic is sewn to the waist edge.

10. Turn the waistband down toward the wrong side, encasing the elastic. This is to prepare to stitch down the center of the zig zag (at least that's what I did) with a straight stitch.

11. I started at where the center back seam lined-up. Take a few stitches then stretch until the fabric is straight. I regularly pushed up on the edge of the elastic to be sure it was snug against the inside top edge of the waistband (the fold). Stitch around the entire waistband using this method.

That's it!

I reduced the comfortable waist measurement on the elastic by 2" because the elastic will stretch-out as it's stitched. If it stretches too much, try a few bursts of steam to shrink it back down a bit.

This technique creates even gathers throughout the waistband that won't shift out of place. It's comfortable too!

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strongnow said... (3/23/12 10:16 AM) Reply
Thanks for this information. It is exactly what I need for my next pair of elastic waist pants.
Sew'n'go said... (6/27/10 8:16 AM) Reply
Well done! The photos and text are clear and informative.
apeke said... (5/20/10 7:43 PM) Reply
Very awesome tip.... I was just making a pair of comfy pajama bottoms today to try out my new sewing machine and serger and was always irritated on how the elastic band would either roll or shift during wash/wear...This is fabulous. Thank you for sharing this wonderful technique!
renren said... (2/18/09 10:41 AM) Reply
Here I am, reading this tip as I prepare to sew elastic in two pairs of PJs. Thanks!
AprilsZoo said... (2/10/08 4:33 PM) Reply
Perfect explanation. I've never done elastic this way before, but I've thought about it. I wasn't sure it would really work, but seeing your pictures and reading thru your tutorial makes it look easy. I'll use this often now. Thanks!
overflow said... (8/3/07 11:00 PM) Reply
thank you it's very helpful and it looks good and store brought Thank You
Sherril Miller said... (7/16/07 7:24 PM) Reply
Great tutorial. Most sergers let you move your knif out of the way. I recommend it so you won't accidently cut your elastic. You can use more pins too.
Mufffet said... (6/2/06 10:35 AM) Reply
This is great. I haven't tried this because I had only read about it, not seen it. I still always do the casing. Well, after your tip, I am going to do it this way on the pants I am planning to make this summer! Thanks!
PattyU said... (5/18/06 10:50 AM) Reply
Awesome tip. Thanks, Lori.
thaiyal said... (11/18/05 10:20 AM) Reply
You've described it very nicely and atlast, I understood how to do a FOE. :) Thanks for the review and the pictures to go with it.
fesnina said... (7/24/05 6:18 PM) Reply
I was taught this technique when I sewed my first pair of pants in my beginner's sewing class which was only a few months ago. It works great and I get a beautiful result even for a beginner.
Ying said... (5/11/05 7:22 PM) Reply
Looks like a ready-to-wear seams. I'll try this on all my elastic sewing now. The pictures were very helpful.
JDpenelope said... (2/6/05 12:42 PM) Reply
Good job describing this technique--one I also used recently. I like all of your details and will print this out as a reminder next time I sew an elastic band.
Mommo said... (1/22/05 8:35 AM) Reply
Very helpful review--I'm encouraged to try this technique--Thanks!
AlmaJoly said... (1/16/05 10:05 AM) Reply
Great description and pictures. Thanks for the clear directions.
sewkal said... (1/15/05 11:47 AM) Reply
I'm going to print out your tip next time I sew in an elastic waist- mine never look that neat! Thanks for the great tip.
KarenP said... (1/14/05 5:49 PM) Reply
I recently discovered this technique and I love it! Your directions and pictures are excellent. I've only done this on a regular sewing machine with a zig-zag, but I got a serger for Christmas and can't wait to try this technique on my new serger.
Annie- oh said... (1/14/05 9:06 AM) Reply
I love the real detail here - thank you so much - your 2 elastic tips are this morning's project - then on to those piles lying around that aren't finished because I did not want to mess up the elastic!
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