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How to Sew Elastic Full Guide of 2023

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You have a dress. This dress is perfect, with or without pockets, and you’ll love it.

There’s only one problem. You want to tighten the waist. Using elastic is obvious, but who wants to struggle with tying a casing and the elastic together? No one. It’s time consuming and frustrating, often increasingly tedious, and sometimes the directions .

sewing elastic

This method allows you to put the annoying case aside. You don’t need it!

You’ll learn to create a fitted waist to give you that perfect hourglass shape without the extra step we’ve all come to loathe.

All you need is a sewing machine, scissors, pins, some thread, a piece of elastic about 1/4 inch wide – and some time. That’s it!

Sewing an elastic waistband on a dress

This method can for use on the back of a bodice, the hem of the sleeves and even as a decoration for handbags, but although it is a versatile technique, we will use it here to create a fitted elastic waist in a dress.

Depending on the type of dress you have, the approach will vary. If the dress has a waist seam, turn the item inside out and sew the length of the elastic to the inner seam allowance (that little of raised seam on the inside of the dress).

For a dress without a seam, attach the elastic directly to the fabric.


  • 1/4 inch wide elastic, about one meter long
  • Dress
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

Instructions for sewing elastic

Step 1: You need to calculate the length of the elastic that you need. To do this, wrap the elastic around your waist while wearing the dress.. Then adjust it until it is comfortable and cut the elastic to the desired length.

Step 2: take your pins and place them on the center front and center back of the garment to mark them.

sewing elastic

Add extra pins to mark each side seam. Then fold the length of the elastic into quarters (you fold the garment on itself), and place a pin at each of those points.

It can look like a porcupine in instead of a piece of clothing, but don’t worry. You solve it.

Step 3:

Work is now in high gear! Grab your sewing machine and sit down. Established? Good.

Now place one end of the elastic at a side seam and make sure I fastened it in place. Secure that elastic in place with a wide saw stitch.

Step 4:

Swap your machine on an elastic stitch with a stitch length of two.

This looks like a zigzag stitch, but there are three stitches in each section that anchor the elastic in place.

You will continue to use this stitch for the rest of the time.

Step 5:

Place the next pin on the elastic with the next pin on the garment. Make sure everything is tight.

Stretch the elastic so that it fits into the fabric. It’s okay if you have trouble stretching it and holding it in that position; that tightness will be perfect for later.

Sew until you reach the center front or center back of the garment (depending on how you started).

Step 6:

This will take you to the next pin in the elastic. Grab it and match it to the next side seam.

Stretch the elastic to fit the fabric and sew it in place.

how to sew elastic

Step 7:

Continue with this process until you reach the end of the elastic. Remember to keep using the elastic zigzag stitch with the same length of thread until the end.

Pull the elastic taut; if it’s too loose, you may have made a mistake in determining the length. Which is good. Cut it and shorten the length of the elastic, then start over.

Otherwise, continue stretching and sewing. Once everything , tape the end in place and cut all spare threads.

And there you have it! You have added an elastic band to your garment. Whether that’s just an elastic waist to make a dress a little more fitted, or you’ve also tightened up the sleeves, this method is easy.

The only difficult thing part holds the stretched fabric!

Once you’ve established a routine for doing this, time flies and it’s an easy project, especially since you don’t have deal with the struggle of an elastic casing.

The video below gives some more details about the task.

You really want to stretch that elastic while holding it because once you let it sew it in place, it creates that pulled together look.

Your fabric will shrink and fold when you’re done, giving you a sleek look. Using a similar thread, this solution is virtually invisible.

Have you tried this elastic sewing method?

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.