How to insert an elastic waistband (one method): TUTORIAL WITH PICTURES


Huzzah! My first sewing tutorial! I’ve had this waiting in the wings now for a while but never got around to writing and formatting it until now due to real life craziness and settling into my new job. Now that that is done, I can get back to blogging! 🙂 YAY!

This tutorial was inspired by a request for advice for a common technique known as inserting an elastic waistband into a skirt about a month ago from the Meesha Booh Sew Easy Facebook group (which has since been posthumously renamed to Meesha Taught Me). As it turns out, I was making a simple knit skirt with a waistband at the time, so here it is, in all it’s glory! Enjoy, and I hope it helps some of you along in your sewing projects!

Supplies you will need:

– Sewing project in need of a waistband (can be a skirt, bottom of a bubble top, pants, PJs, leggings, just about anything, really!)

– Cloth tape measure

– Elastic of preferred width (what width you choose usually depends highly on your project, but I don’t recommend choosing any wider than 1.5 inches for an inset waistband).

– Sewing machine

– Thread

– Pins


Step 1: Lay out your project (like I have done here with my knit maxi skirt). Image

This will give you some eyeball room as you do this.


Step 2: Measure and Cut Elastic


To do this, measure around wherever the waistband is going to sit on your body, then take that measurement and minus 1.5 to 2 inches. That will give you the length of your elastic. The reason why we minus that short amount is to make sure that the waistband stretches slightly when you wear the garment to give a good fit to it. Take that measurement number and measure and cut your elastic.


Step 3: Sew elastic into a loop



This is pretty self explanatory, just fold the plastic in half and sew up the ends. Make sure to go back and forth over it a few times.

Image Now, one thing I do in addition to that to reduce bulk is that I fold the two seam allowances down and stitch both down flat, but that is optional because you can just trim it down a bit if you want.


Step 4: Turn the skirt (or project) inside out).



Step 5: Pin waistband to skirt


Ok, so you’ll start this off by matching the sewn section of your loop to one of the side seams of your project (it doesn’t matter which one). Pin there. Next, find the opposite half of the elastic from that point and pin it to the other side seam. From there, find the middle front of the project and the halfway point between the two elastic pinned parts and pin that down. Do the same thing on the other side.


As you can see in this picture, there will be more fabric than elastic between the pinned portions. Don’t panic, this is a good thing, and in a minute I’ll tell you why.

Step 6: To the sewing machine!

I’m using a serger for this but you can just use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine to the same effect. Please note though that if you re sewing a project with stretchy knit with a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine, I highly recommend switching to a ball-point needle because otherwise you are just going to end up skipping stitches and pulling out your hair in frustration. Trust me on this one.


Start off a couple of stitches to get a good pattern going, like above.


Now here is where the magic happens. You are going to take your elastic and you are going to stretch it out until the elastic is flush with the fabric, as seen above. Keep it stretched out as you sew. The waistband will start to gather as you sew it. Do this all the way around.

Image This is what it should look like.


Step 7: Finishing the band

You are now going to use the straight stitch on your sewing machine for this bit. Take your band and flip it over once so that the fabric is covering it, like so:


Pin this down. Now take your project and sew your elastic with a straight stitch on the bottom of the fold, making 100% sure to stretch as you sew.



TA DA! You are done! You may now consider yourself to be super awesome!

Image The final rresult!








So yeah, I hope you guys learned a thing or two from this tutorial and that I was able to help someone along the way! God bless! 🙂

This entry was posted in Sewing, Tutorials and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s