Pay attention women’s clothing designers: this one’s for you.
Have you ever dressed a little boy and envied the waistband on their pants or shorts? I have. It’s adjustable. Why can’t women’s pants or dress trousers or jeans have an adjustable waistband? We’re not the same shape or size as the models. Many days, I’m not the same shape or size in the evening as I was in the morning!
All of these make a difference in pants for women: time of day, time of big meal, time of month, time of life – need I go on? We don’t want belts – we want elastic! I want to wear stretchy pants all the time but let’s face it: yoga pants aren’t for every day – as much as we want them to be. They’re also not work attire. They’re for working out. Period.
Since I cleared out my closet (read about the closet clean out here) and got rid of so many pants and trousers I hadn’t worn since the 1980’s, I bought 2 pairs of pants. They’re the same pant (‘The Julie’ fit) from Ann Taylor Loft. They’re washable, dressy, low-waisted, and were on sale. Total score.
The problem? Sometimes they fit well – sometimes not so much.
Here’s my solution: I added a channel of adjustable elastic to the waistband of my snazzy new pants and it’s awesome!
- Pants without belt loops that have lining at the waistband.
- Seam ripper
- Elastic – “button hole elastic”
- Scrap fabric for channel addition (see below)
- Buttons – that fit button hole size – 2 each
- Sewing machine and thread to match pant color
- needle for sewing on buttons
Here’s how to add an elastic waist band to women’s pants
1. Find pants to alter. Lined, low-waisted pants with a simple seam work best.
2. Using a seam ripper, open seam along waist. Open seam from hip to hip – steer clear of the front of the pants.
3. Using scrap fabric, make a narrow channel that the elastic can be strung through. With a sewing machine, attach the channel to the lining on the inside of the waistband.
4. Channel has been added to the inside of the pant waist band.
5. String elastic through waistband channel and use safety pins or clips to keep it from pulling back through.
6. Once the elastic has been strung through channel, make button holes on the lining side of the fabric to string elastic through to the finished side.
7. String elastic through holes and secure with clips.
8. Turn waistband down so elastic and channel are inside lining.
9. Smooth waistband until flat and pin it. Once waistband is laying flat, stitch it back into place. It’s easiest to do this by sewing on the finished side of the pants – stitch in a ditch. Then, get ready to sew on buttons.
10. Sew buttons on so that they are close to the elastic button hole opening but not too far away. Make sure to sew buttons on with thread that matches the pants. The thread from the pants will show through on the finished side of pants.
11. Adjust elastic on buttons so that the elastic doesn’t pull through – and so the pants will be easy to put on when getting dressed.
12. The finished product! Hidden elastic waist band – love it! After wearing the pants a few times, trim the elastic so it’s not too long. Be sure and stitch the edges of the elastic with a seam sealer or machine stitch the edge. The first time I washed my updated pants, the elastic unraveled.
One last note: If you’re new to sewing or not experienced, practice adding a waistband on a pair of pants that you’re not in love with – that way if it doesn’t work out, you won’t curse me.
Until clothing designers add adjustable elastic to pants, I’ll be adding my own. I’m thrilled with how these turned out. Yes, I’d prefer yoga pants but I’m trying to wear them for yoga only. OK, they’re good for napping, too.
Would you like adjustable elastic in your waistband, too?
Go Gingham related links:
How to make a waistband smaller without pins!
How to turn jeans into capris – easier than you think!
How to make skinny jeans from wide leg jeans – make your own “jeggings”
How to mend pillow cases to improve your sleeping – hah!
Easy steps to remove pesky tags from clothing
Want to learn to sew? Start here with easy cloth napkins
How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!