elastic waistband trick

Here’s a little trick that will prevent an elastic waistband from turning and getting twisted.

Leave a little extra space in the width of the casing, and edgestitch the top edge of the waistband before you feed the elastic through. For some reason, that top row of stitching will prevent the elastic from folding over on itself when the elastic is added.

You can use this little trick in any elastic waistband, but it seems to be more of an issue in waistbands that have elastic all the way around; back-only elastic waistbands have less of a tendancy to twist and turn.

Try this little tip in the Lazy Days Skirt, the Bedtime Story Pajamas, and the Puppet Show Shorts and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!

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  1. November 6, 2015 at 3:53 am Link
    Sheri Davis

    Love this! I always do mine this way and have never have had rolling elastic, even after many washings :) the look is much neater & nicer as well.

  2. November 16, 2014 at 8:52 am Link
    nancy smith

    I also stitch across the elastic at the center back seam or both side seams to prevent rolling.

  3. July 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm Link
    Dee B.

    Really nice appearance, thanks for the details. The reason ‘back only’ elastic doesn’t turn is because it is included in the side seams. So the way I stabilize my elastic is to pull the it to the widest possible, grab waistband AND elastic and hold tightly till you can smooth fabric both directions and stitch in the ditch thru both. Do this at all seams and it will always lay flat and still be as stretchy as possible. This gives one more way to get the same result, which is always good since our fabrics and elastic sometimes require different approaches.

  4. July 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm Link
    Steph F

    I like the look of the top row of stitching. To keep elastic from turning, I stitch in the ditch vertically at all four seams.

  5. April 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm Link

    Have done this for yrs because it elevates your sewing from that ‘homemade’ look. And its even nicer when you do a wide double (and even triple) row (waistbands) using 3/4″ elastic (pur on the roll in most fab shops- the cheaper elastic).

    Be sure to sew one straight seam down the side seam (within the seam allowance) – trick I’ve used over the years too.

    Happy Sewing!

  6. December 1, 2013 at 11:48 am Link

    Thanks for the tip about waistband elastic (I just saw this posting! 12/01/13) I’ve found that if I do as you suggest BEFORE sewing bottom of band as I insert the elastic works easier for me. I first stitch the elastic ends together then create the casing with itside (aka: sewing factory)

  7. October 25, 2013 at 8:49 am Link

    Thanks! Great tip!

  8. May 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm Link

    My pants are already made and the elastic is twisting. Do you have an idea of what I can do to fix them without taking off the tightly inserted elastic. It seems to me that I could mark in quarters then sew a line perpendicular at the marks. Will the elastic still twist? Will the elastic stretch enough to get the pants up and down?

  9. June 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link

    Wow, I have been sewing for 30 plus years and never thought of this one. But it makes sense when I think about the ones that I had done by accident this way. could have used this advice this morning as I was finishing up two customs twirl skirts this morning and was not liking the elastic that I was using. Good note to remember. Thanks

  10. June 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm Link

    Thank you so much for that! Even with the non-roll elastic, my four-year old manages to twist her elastic. She just pulls skirts up and down a little too aggressively. I'm going to try that on her next skirt. It looks really great, too.

  11. June 22, 2009 at 11:29 am Link

    I randomly decided to do this once (I think I may have made my waistband too spacious) and I actually found that I like the look of it so much better too. I'm glad to know that it also serves a useful purpose! Thanks…

  12. June 13, 2009 at 1:30 am Link

    wow, thanks so much for answering my question from the lazy days skirt! ok, so maybe i wasnt the only person with that question… but i appreciate it!

  13. June 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link

    Ok, I just looked up the fabric info. It's a year or two old, but it's a Quilt Gate print from the Mary Rose Collection: MR1202-14. I made a dress from it: http://disdressed.blogspot.com/2007/07/besides-i-grew-up-in-americas-dairyland.html

  14. June 12, 2009 at 11:24 am Link

    Thanks for the tip…love your patterns!

  15. June 12, 2009 at 11:10 am Link

    Like anonymous, I'm also smitten with the fabric. Is it from a current line?

  16. June 12, 2009 at 9:10 am Link

    For the Sandbox pants, you could easily make the entire waistand elastic and eliminate the drawstring. Otherwise, either eliminate the drawstring altogether or make it decorative only, and tighten the elastic in the back a bit so the pants can be pulled up and down. Cheers!

  17. June 12, 2009 at 7:30 am Link

    on the other pant patterns– the sandbox pants for example- will it work if instead of a drawstring you just leave front of waistband empty. So you've got an elastic in back and flat front? My daughter is starting to use the toilet and can't undo the drawstring herself yet.

  18. June 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm Link

    thank you! i cannot wait to try that out the next time i sew a waistband. love your patterns and love your blog.

  19. June 11, 2009 at 8:06 am Link

    Thank you. This does look more professional – crisper, cleaner. I have been stitching in the ditch at the side seams and center back.
    Also, the fabric you used in the example it very pretty. Is it something current that we can find or is it from your stash? Thank you.

  20. June 11, 2009 at 1:09 am Link

    Wow – thanks. I was thinking it was the cheap elastic I used and that maybe everyone else had better stuff. I can't wait to try it out. Thanks so much!!

  21. June 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm Link

    April, you can do either one: use a thinner elastic or make the fold deeper. I tend to make the fold deeper because it's a small adjustment to the casing, and wider elastic is stronger than a narrow elastic. Cheers!

  22. June 10, 2009 at 11:23 pm Link

    That's a fantastic tip – can't wait to try it!

  23. June 10, 2009 at 10:55 pm Link

    It looks more professional, too. You say leave a little extra room, does this mean fold a little bit more to the inside? or choose a narrower elastic?

    Great tip! Can't wait to try it.

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