Altering An Elastic Waistband To Fit

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Your favorite skirt, leggings, woven yoga pants don’t fit and you love them so much you don’t want to throw them away. A few minutes with a seam ripper and your sewing machine and your elastic waistband fits perfectly. It’s easy, and I’ll show you how easy it is altering an elastic waistband to fit your waist.

Make your waistband smaller, bigger, or replace the elastic altogether; a quick trip to your sewing machine will increase your clothes’ wearability and fit.

How To Make Waistbands Smaller

This video will show you the process of opening up a waistband seam, fitting the elastic so it is smaller, and stitching the waistband seam closed.

How To Make Waistbands Elastic Band Bigger

You can make waistbands bigger by using the same steps in the video. Instead of cutting the elastic smaller, you need to sew additional elastic to the cut waistband to increase the waist circumference.

Pro Tip: The pants or skirt need to be able to go over your hips or no amount of increase in the elastic waistband will help.

Replacing A Stretched Out Waistband

If your entire waistband needs to be replaced because the elastic is too old and stretched out, you can easily use the same techniques in the video. Simply replace the stretched out elastic with a good quality elastic that is the same width. To pull the new elastic easily through the waistband casing, secure a safety pin at one end of the elastic and gradually feed it through the casing.

Pro Tip: Be sure not to pull the other side out while feeding the safety pin through. I like to pin the loose elastic end to the garment to prevent it slipping through.

The Steps Demonstrated In The Video

The simple procedure demonstrated in the video is outlined below. It requires only a few steps and your garment will be ready to hang in your closet again.

  1. Unpick a portion of the waistband seam that captures the elastic. If there are channel stitches along the seams (these keep the elastic from twisting), you will need to unpick these too.
  2. Pull out a section of the elastic and cut it. If you need to shorten the elastic, pull it until you are happy with the fit. If you need to add elastic, zigzag stitch an additional piece the same width and then fit the elastic length to the desired size.
  3. Zigzag stitch the two ends together. Overlap the elastic so it is flat and stitch closed with a zigzag.
  4. Redistribute the gathering from the elastic waistband then sew the casing seam closed with matching thread.
  5. Channel stitch down the side seams with matching thread to keep your elastic from twisting when washed.
  6. Enjoy your better fitting garment.

Quick And Easy Skirt Video

I love these quick wrap skirts. They take very little time and are perfect for casual summer wear.

Tools In Your Sewing Kit

Seam Ripper

altering an elastic waistband

A good seam ripper is an important tool in your sewing tool box.

Safety Pin

altering an elastic waistband

You should have a small stash of safety pins in your sewing kit.

Quality Elastic

altering an elastic waistband

Buy the best quality elastic your budget will allow. I prefer a 2″ elastic waistband, it sits better on the body and gives a better look to your garment.

Sewing Machine

I love my Bernette 38 Sewing Machine. It is perfect for sewing beautiful garments. 

Finish Like A Pro

altering an elastic waistband

So whether you are trying to get your favorite pants fit correctly or a skirt that won’t stay up on your waist, a simple alteration is the easiest way to extend the life of your garment. You will love wearing your clothes and accomplish a desired fit.

Altering an elastic waistband to fit your waist and body type is simple. You can get a perfect fit with a minimal effort.

Happy Sewing,



Make your garments better with my 21 Tips To Take Your DIY Garment From Homemade To High End

Do you love Sew Alongs and Sewing Tips and Tricks? My Youtube channel Barrett’s Custom Design is filled with great sewing techniques served up with a few laughs. 

My Sewing With Sandi Etsy Shop has over 500 hard to find women’s, men’s, and children’s patterns. You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns.  You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns. 

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