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Replacing Elastic Waistbands

Category Clothing
Feeding elastic through the waist of a pair of pajama pants.
Elastic waistbands will often wear out long before the clothing itself. It's not too difficult to replace broken or stretched out elastic. This is a page about replacing elastic waistbands.


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The waist elastic on my pajama pants is now loose and they fall down. The pajama pants themselves are still in good condition, so instead of tossing the pajamas out, I added new elastic! A newly repaired pair of pajama pants.

I folded the old waist down and hand sewed all around, leaving a little gap to thread in the elastic. My tip to thread the elastic easier is use a safety pin, so you have something to grip when sliding it in. Once you have the elastic threaded all around the waist, sew the elastic ends together. Then finish sewing the rest of the gap on your pajama pants.

Sewing a waist band to repair a pair of pajama pants.
A safety pin attached to elastic.
Feeding elastic through the waist of a pair of pajama pants.
A newly repaired pair of pajama pants.
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My daughter has some vintage skirts that had elastic waists that are now stretched out (old elastic cannot be removed), but the material still seems to be okay. The elastic is enclosed in material and she wants to know if it would be possible to put in new elastic and if so how could this be done?


We are not big on sewing so she may have to find someone to do this for her. Alterations are so expensive that it might not be worth it.

Please let us know if you have some ideas. Thanks

By cybergrannie from Ocala, FL


August 30, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've been sewing now for 45+ years. Use a seam ripper and carefully open the seam so as not to cut the fabric. Remove the stretched out elastic waistband and follow the directions on the following website.

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September 1, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

My daughter has a vintage skirt like that also, with the elastic stretched out. I can't remove the elastic, because it is one of those where after they put it in the waistband, they ranseveral rows of stitches through the elastic AND the fabric-I'd tear it to pieces trying to get it undone!


I'm just planning to cut a new piece of elastic to fit & sew it into the inside of the skirt. If it irritates her skin, I'll sew a strip of soft fabric over that.

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September 2, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Add a piece of matching or contrasting ribbon or fabric to the outside of the waist, and put in your elastic, then tack it down, or even easier, thread a cord belt through the ribbon/fabric using a button hole to enter/exit the fabric. Voila, a drawstring belt. Tie knots or use beads or whatever, to attach to the ends or use nothing but the small knot needed to keep the belt from disappearing.

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February 3, 2019

My mother-in-law gave me a flat front skirt with an elastic back waistband that has lost it's stretch. Her waist is 29". The flat front is 8". Would I cut a 21" piece of elastic and just sew it to the inside waistband over the stretched out elastic?


The current elastic has been sew permanently inside the waistband so I can't open a seam and pull it out. Thank you for your help.


February 3, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

Is there enough fabric to just cut the waistband completely off and turn down the top to create a new one? I've done that with flannel pants that are perfectly good except that the elastic is stretched out.

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February 3, 20191 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would look first for a seam and see if you can pull out the old elastic to measure it. The old elastic would have been stretched to 21 inches but would not have been 21 inches at its relaxed state or it wouldn't have any give to hug it to you. I am not sure I am explaining that right, but elastic has to be smaller so it stretches.


This link is long, but I think it explains it better than I can.

If you sewed 21 inches of elastic into the back of the skirt, where the old elastic is, the skirt will not cinch to your waist (meaning it would be like you didn't replace the elastic at all).

I always overlapped my elastic when I sewed, but I actually like the idea this person gives to add a square of fabric. I never liked how the overlap bulked up, so fabric would eliminate that issue.

Hope this all makes sense. Happy sewing!

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