elastic waistband trick

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

Elastic waistband trick

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. 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.

  2. Dara

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!

  5. Anonymous

    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.

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

  7. ljmonchik

    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.

  8. 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!

  9. Lindsay

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

  10. Thanks for the tip…love your patterns!

  11. 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

  12. 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. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Connie

    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?

    1. Cherilynne

      I have found that I can go in and put hand tacking down to keep it from rolling. Just a little tack like putting in a button.

  17. DenaJene

    Thanks! Great tip!

  18. 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)

  19. Brenda

    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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. nancy smith

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

  23. 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.

  24. Suzanne

    What also works is sewing through the fabric and elastic at the side seams. That done your elastic will never turn on itself!

  25. Drr

    Thid works a treat. I have been doing it for many years

  26. Rose Patterson

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing this. I have consuming that has this problem. I may open it up and do this to fix it. Will definitely use this for future skirts and pants.

  27. I’ve been teaching sewing for over 40 years and always teach this method for an elastic waist casement.
    Another tip is to sew your joined seam allowances to the garment the length of the casement and this will stop the elastic getting trapped when you thread it through. If you use a long machine stitch it will unpick easily.

  28. I’ve always inserted elastic in this manner,and yes it does work very,very well,but thanks anyway for telling other people.

  29. Sarah

    Such a great tip! I love blogs that get to the point fast. I’ll definitely be coming back for more.

  30. Karen Jane

    oh thankyou so much this is so helpful! i agree with Brenda.

    Happy Sewing!!

  31. Bernie

    I’ve been doing this for many year’s nothing new to me or to a lot of sewers who have been sewing for at least 60 year’s.

  32. Ooh! Excited to try this. It looks cleaner and prettier too.

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