Really there is nothing more comfy than a wide elasticated waistband is there? It’s also generally regarded to be one of the quickest and easiest of the waistband options to execute. Especially when you’re new to sewing. Now this may just be me, but bear with me here. Yes an encased elasticated waistband is pretty straightforward. But I’ve always found it to be….erm…..fiddly and annoying! Attaching a safety pin (or similar) to one end of the elastic. Feeding it through the already sewn casing where it will invariably twist or get snagged on the seam allowances at some point on it’s journey. Wrestling it out the other side and then attempting to get the ends of the elastic under the presser foot with and entire garment hanging off the end of it. And let’s not forget absent mindedly sewing the elastic “twisted” and only realising after you’ve closed up the casing.
Ok that was a bit disproportionately ranty. But if any of it sounds familiar then you too might want to try a different way. Which is how I’ve started constructing my elasticated waistbands recently.
Start with your elastic already sewn together in a loop and your waistband casing also already sewn together in a loop and folded in half. RS out. Your waistband should be the same length as the circumference of the garments wiastline. It should be double the width of your elastic + approx 6mm (thats 3mm either side for wiggle room for the elastic) + the original seam allowance (usually 5/8″ either side). If you already have a pattern piece for your waistband….use that and simply add 6mm to the width 🙂
Place the elastic inside the casing with the edge of the elastic butted up to the fold…( I haven’t left quite enough seam allowance here. There’s a better example of the ideal amount of seam allowance a couple of pics further down)
Place under the presser foot. (A zipper foot can be handy here but not vital). Keeping the elastic butted up against the fold sew a long machine basting stitch 3mm away from the edge of the elastic. In this pic you may be able to see I am holding the whole thing at tension and using my thumb to feel where the edge of the elastic is . Keep feeding it through the sewing machine like this. Once you reach a point where there is more casing left than elastic, with the needle down, lift the presser foot. Ruche the casing over the elastic (towards the back of the machine), until the bit you have left to sew lays flat. Lower presser foot. Finish sewing/basting :)
You’ll end up with an encased elastic waistband. It just isn’t attached to your garment yet! BUT it’s easier to sew in my view and the bottom edge of the elastic is not going to snag on any seam allowances so should run smoothly through the casing. You’ll also never have that scenario where you accidentally sew the casing a smidge too small for your elastic (which leads to distorted/curling elastic) because you are sewing the casing using the elastic itself as a guide. (This pic is also a better example of the amount of seam allowance left either side of the elastic)
To attach the waistband simply pin to together RS together and raw edges aligned as pictured…
Serge or sew just to the right of your line of basting stitch which should be more or less your original seam allowance…
Once waistband and garment are sewn together, and the raw edges finished, press the SA down towards garment, remove basting and your done!
This will work on wovens or knits. The only caveat is to be careful using this with pockets that are secured at the waistline as this could create a little too much bulk in these area, depending on the weight of the fabric. In seam pockets that sit further down are a ok 🙂