Tutorial: Serged Elastic Waist (my fancy elastic)

This is my favorite way to install elastic!! It's so easy, and looks so professional! In addition, it keeps the elastic from shifting around or twisting inside the casing. All of the steps I do with the serger can be done on a regular machine with zigzag or overcast (overedge) stitch.

I'm demonstrating this technique on the pants I shared the other day, the pajamas pants

After the pants are sewn, make sure they're inside out. Cut a piece of elastic the length you need (about 80% of the wearer's waist measurement) and sew the ends together. Mark the elastic in four even places, and pin it around the waist edge, right sides together.

Sew the elastic to the edge of the waist, stretching the elastic as you go to fit inside of the pinned areas.

You don't have to put it up next to the knife, but I like to use the knife to neaten up the raw edge of the fabric.  If you're using a sewing machine, make sure your elastic is right up to the edge of the fabric.

Sew all the away around, and this is what you'll have.

Fold the elastic down towards the inside one time.

Then fold it down one more time. Pin here. This makes a complete casing.

Fold and pin all the way around the waist.

I'm using this foot to sew the casing down: It's the blind-hem foot that came with my machine. A "stitch in the ditch" foot will work here, too, but the black guide will be in a different place. Move your needle so that it's to the right of the black guide.

Another view of this foot.

Put the black edge of your foot next to the fold you created. This will have the needle sewing very close to the edge of the elastic casing. Remember to stretch the elastic and arrange the fabric as you sew.

You'll end up with a very neatly sewn casing, like this! For the boys pants/shorts waists, I use the edge foot to sew another seam up very close to the top edge, the center the regular foot between to the two seams to sew a third, stretching as I go the whole time. If, after you've done this, the elastic seams stretched out, give it a good steaming with your iron or steamer, or dampen it with water and toss in the clothes dryer. It will bounce right back.

I like to sew a label in the back. Some of the people in my house can't tell the back from the front, so this comes in handy.

Tada! I also use that blind-hem foot for sewing super-neat hems and top-stitching. I LOVE it!

For more waist elastic install techniques, check out my Drawcord Waist Elastic Tutorial.


Michelle said...

Oh yay, I'm super excited to try this! I've been hearing about serged waistbands forever but have never quite been able to figure it out on my own. :)

Mrs. Bianca said...

I wanted to make Marisabelle some skirts this summer and I do have some elastic, so I just might try this out! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Opps did you mean to say sew first serge seam to the inside? Looks to me like you sewed it to the 'right' side , and then turned to the inside (wrong side).


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