Don’t Stretch the Elastic – Decorative Elastic Waistbands!


Decorative Elastic is such a pretty way to finish the waist of a garment!  The quality is easy to see when it’s used as the waistband of your pants, shorts or skirts!  At Farmhouse Fabrics, we use it frequently – and it is such an easy finish!   There are a couple of “tricks” to apply it – we often have questions about the “hows”…because it is such a pain to attempt to stretch it to fit the garment!  This is a firm elastic & who wants to break needles by trying to stretch and sew the elastic at the same time?


But sewing doesn’t get much easier than when using a decorative elastic waistband!  With just 2 measurements, we have designed a skirt “pattern” that we call a “Decorative Elastic Skirt”!  We use a 1 1/2″ wide thick and sturdy elastic that comes in a wonderful range of colors.

  1. Measure your child’s waist and add 1″ – this is the length of your decorative elastic.
  2. Measure your child’s finished skirt length and add 1 1/2″ – this will account for a hem allowance.
  3. Cut the waistband decorative elastic to the determined waist measurement (plus 1″ for the back seam).
  4. Cut or tear one width of fabric the length of your skirt plus 1 1/2″.  Remove selvages. (There will be only one seam in the skirt, and the finished fullness of the skirt is based on personal preference.)
  5. Serge the top and bottom of the skirt fabric to finish the edges.
  6. Run two rows of gathering threads on one long end of your fabric (the top of the skirt).
  7. Quarter fabric and elastic – mark with washable pen.
  8. Match up your quarter marks between fabric & elastic and pin at marks.
  9. Pull up gathering threads and evenly distribute fabric between quartered marks on your elastic.  (You will be pinning the WRONG side of the elastic to the RIGHT side of the skirt fabric.)
  10. Attach your non-stretched elastic to your gathered, evenly distributed fabric with a wide zig-zag #5.  (Zigzag, using a rather wide zigzag stitch, along the lower edge of the decorative elastic, sewing through the elastic and the gathered skirt.)
  11. Now, you can remove the gathering threads, and the zig-zagged elastic will stretch with your child!  No broken threads!
  12. Center back seam – With right sides together, match the decorative elastic, carefully match the elastic and bottom of skirt, pin into place, and sew the back seam. This seam may be serged, if desired.
  13. Press up hem 1 1/4″ deep to your finished length – pin & hem!
    Voila!  A fast & easy skirt with not a single broken needle on stretched elastic!
    For pre-coordinated decorative elastic kits, visit our Kits, Skirts category!

    It is a lot of fun to make these little skirts using left-overs from other projects!  Honestly – sometimes a third of a yard of fabric will make a skirt.  Adding a row of trim, ribbon, rick-rack, etc. to the hem will jazz it up a little, too.    Have Fun!!

4 thoughts on “Don’t Stretch the Elastic – Decorative Elastic Waistbands!

  1. says:

    Sally, can I cut the elastic…..or do you have smaller elastic in the same colors… I could make a matching skirt for the AG doll?

    Thank you for this…..I will be making 2 of them this weekend from my Farmhouse Stash. Billi Parus


    • farmhousefabrics says:

      Billi – We do have a few of the colors in 1″, but none are more narrow. You will have fun making these! I would be a little nervous about cutting the elastic to a more narrow width, but what would happen if you used your serger and made a narrow finished edge with wooly nylon? Might work? Sally


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