Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Elastic Skirt, Sewing, Theory | Comments Off on Inserting an Elastic Waistband

This is part 8 in a series designed to walk you through designing and sewing an elastic waistband skirt. If you have missed steps, you should go back to this page.

Have you ever found out that you’ve been doing something wrong for years? That’s been pretty much my entire sewing career. There are several methods that, when I spent time with my sewing gurus and nose-deep in research, I discovered that I’d been doing all wrong. I’d been doing those the “easy” way instead of the “right” way. The thing is, I debated telling you both the easy and right ways when it comes to these particular methods but decided against it.

The reason for this is that there’s a reason that it’s called the “right” way. If I teach you the “easy” way to do a particular technique, you might ignore the “right” way, and that results in you making something that you might not be as proud of. Therefore, I’ll be showing you the more difficult, but correct way to do several thing.

One of these techniques is inserting an elastic waistband. The “easy” way can result in your elastic turning and bunching in uncomfortable ways. The right way is actually faster as well, so let’s get started.

First off, I skipped telling you how to sew together your skirt because it didn’t warrant it’s own post.

Currently, your skirt looks like this:

sewing 1First, line up and sew the front to the back on one side with right sides together.

sewing 2Then, line the other sides up and sew them together.

sewing 3Now, if your back is bigger than your front (like mine), you’ll be left with a lot of extra fabric in the back. Mine looked kind of like this from the top:

sewing 4All right, onto your elastic waistband.  The first thing you’re going to do is wrap your elastic around your waist and adjust it until it’s comfortably snug. Mark the end you’ll have to cut then cut about 2 inches less. No, really. Once you make the waistband, it will be looser than you expected. You’re going to think that it will be to tight, but it really won’t.

Fold the elastic in half and mark it with a pin.

2015-02-18 10.22.51 2015-02-18 10.23.30

Fold the elastic in half again and mark the quarter marks.

2015-02-18 10.24.33Okay, now, it’s time to forget that your skirt has an uneven front and back. Using one of the side seams as a starting point, find where the centre of the skirt is. When I did this, I put my index fingers inside the skirt and stretched them out until it was taut.

dividing the skirtOne you’ve divided the skirt in half, fold it again and divide it into quarters.

2015-02-18 10.26.25Now pin the two ends of the elastic on either side of the side seam.

2015-02-18 13.05.43Match up each of the marks you pinned on the elastic with the corresponding marks on the skirt. For example, the ½ mark on the elastic should be pinned to the half mark on the skirt. The skirt will be bigger than the elastic.

2015-02-18 10.28.22Sew the beginning of the elastic to the skirt. Just a few stitches.

2015-02-18 13.06.33Okay, with the elastic under the presser foot and the needle down, stretch the elastic until the fabric underneath it is taut.

2015-02-18 13.06.58If this is quite a distance, I always pick a point about halfway and hold it tight. Keep ahold of the elastic as hard as you can while you sew the elastic onto the skirt. If you have a zigzag stitch on your machine, use that. It allows the elastic to stretch even better.

2015-02-18 13.11.45Once you’ve sewn the elastic around the waistband, the fabric side should look like this:

2015-02-18 13.12.07Fold the elastic over once and pin it to the skirt.

Straight stitch the folded elastic onto the skirt. I stretch out this waistband the same as I did the elastic to avoid unsightly puckers. When you’re done, the outside of the skirt should look like this:

Et voila! you can put your skirt on and it’ll fit your waist!  Next time, we’ll hem the bottom and it will be finished!

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