Elastic waist tutorial!

 It's not very often that I do a tutorial. This one happened spur of the moment.

My daughter has a tendency to bring me her clothes for me to "fix".  Hemming pants, putting elastic in the waist, making a dress into a skirt, or shortening long sleeves for summer or to extend the life of a favorite top. She gets it from mom. I'm always coming up with ways to extend the life of things, whether it's a piece of clothing or the last chicken breast in the fridge. So this tutorial happened as I sat down to put elastic in some pants that she didn't like the fit of. I figured since I was doing it, I might as well snap some pictures as I go! So please pardon the picture quality!

My kids are tall and thin, so the waist never fits correctly. I'm constantly buying pants that are long enough and then I take the waist in. Some times I just fold the waist in as needed and sew it. This time I installed elastic like you see in store bought pants with adjustable elastic waist-bands. Mine isn't as fancy as the name brands, obviously because it was spur of the moment. But it works fine and now she can wear her pants.

Ok, lets start!
You need --
a pair of pants
a piece of soft scrap fabric to make a casing over the elastic, (this fabric will be against your child's waist so make sure it's not scratchy or they will complain and still not want to wear the pants!)
two coordinating buttons
two pieces of half inch elastic about 2-3 inches long (depending on how tight you need the waist)
some coordinating thread (I used white because it was already on the machine and I was feeling lazy)
a sewing machine
a seam ripper\scissors

 And you need this handy dandy button hole attachment (seen here below) for your machine. Mine came with my machine. I suggest you read your instruction manual to learn how to install yours on your machine and how to use it since each machine is unique!
 If your machine does button holes it will have some sort of guide for you to choose your button hole shape. I used the one in the middle, 68.
 Attach your button hole attachment and practice on a piece of scrap fabric first to see how you need to place your piece of elastic under the foot. This is important! Below is how it should look once you've sewn your button hole.
 Use your seam ripper, or scissors, to cut down the middle of the button hole to open it. Be careful, go slow!

 Here is what it looks like when you mess up! :) I sewed it too close to the end of the elastic. Easy-peasy--> just turn it to the other side and sew it in the correct spot.
 Once you have your holes complete, pin the elastic in place along the inside of the waist band. My kids don't use belts, so I ignored the belt loops and placed it where I needed it. Sew the end in place so that the opposite end with the button hole is still loose. Basically you are tacking it down.
 I didn't take a picture as I did the casing because I forgot! Basically you want to make a pocket to cover the elastic. Sew a little pocket over the top of your elastic starting at the top and covering the whole piece of elastic, leaving the end open where your elastic will stretch and go over the button. You can use a crotchet hook to fish your elastic out when you are done.

Sew your button on, making sure that you check the fit on your little one before you sew it down. Pull the elastic forward to see how tight you need to have it and then mark your spot for your button. Don't make the button too far forward or your pants will bunch up funny and be uncomfortable.

Here is what it will look like when it's finished. The casing covers the button on my daughters pants to keep it from bothering her.

Do you adjust your kids clothes?


  1. This is great but I cannot "pin" this arghhh...

  2. Thanks for that heads up! I added the Pin button to the individual posts so that if you click the title of an individual post, at the bottom is the button.
    Pin away! ;)



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