How to Replace an Elastic Waistband

Everyone has that old pair of sweatpants laying around that are so old the elastic has stretched out to the point where they won’t stay up anymore.

So, I’m going to show you how to replace that elastic so your favorite and most comfy pants fit like they’re supposed to.

Exposed elastic and hidden elastic are going to be the most common bands you will see so I am going to be demonstrating on both.




Exposed Elastic

Remember the elastic stretches slightly when you start wearing it regularly.

For exposed elastic, you are going to cut a strip of elastic to the size of your waist. To do this, wrap the elastic around where you would like the pants to sit and pull it so it is snug. You want it to be tight but not constricting. Cut the elastic strip.

I am going to cut just below the seam because I don’t want the fabric to get to thick.

Cut the old elastic out of your pants. You can cut just below where the old seam is or if you are worried about fraying, you can cut just above it.

Pin the new elastic to the sweatpants with about a half inch of fabric overlapping. I am putting my elastic on the outside of the pants, but if you want you can fold down the edge of your pants slightly and put the elastic on the inside. You want to make sure the elastic is stretched out, so pin at the beginning, end and then at the half way point on the pants.

Make sure when you are sewing you are only stretching the elastic out and not the pants.

Start sewing the elastic with a zig-zag, overcasting, or joining stitch. Wherever you start, when you get back to that place, sew a couple of stitches overlapping because you won’t be able to backstitch at the beginning. Also, sew the ends of the elastic together.

Hidden Elastic

For hidden elastic waistbands, you are going to cut a strip of elastic to the size of your waist the same way as before.

Find where the old elastic is sewn into the pants and cut a hole large enough to take out the old elastic and insert the new. You may need a seam ripper to detach the elastic from the pants. Be careful to not rip through the pants while removing the elastic.

Attach a safety pin to one end of the new elastic. Insert it into the hole and start pushing the elastic through. Make sure the other end of the elastic stays outside of the pants for now. When you get the safety pin through to the other side, attach the two ends together with a pin.

Using a needle and thread, sew the two ends together, make this as flat as possible or else you will be able to feel the seam. You can also use a zig zag stitch to sew the ends together. Then put the elastic inside the hole and sew it shut. And now your sweatpants are good as new.

Get Elastic here!