Elastic Inserts

OK, so I’ve been procrastinating on the quilt! I’ve been feeling somewhat under the weather but that’s no excuse. I should be working on the quilt.

Yesterday, however, when I sat down to sew, wearing a pair of black corduroy pants I made many years ago (they are still in good condition and fit everywhere except in the waist!) I admitted I was uncomfortable. Over the last couple of years as I’ve grown shorter my waist has grown larger – and the waist in my pants has become tighter and tighter. I can still get the button done up, but the waist is just plain tight. Time to do something about it.

Years ago I came across a very useful article by Kathy Ruddy on how to create elastic inserts. So I took off the pants and got to work.

Elastic Inserts

The instructions are for creating elastic inserts while constructing pants. To do an elastic insert in existing pants here’s what I do.

  • Cut the waistband about an inch and a half from the side seam in the back – cutting just a tiny amount below the waistband itself (if you want to open the waist more than, say, an inch on each side then cut deeper into the top of the pants to allow you to spread the waistband further – depending on the depth of the cut you will need wider elastic, obviously – the widest (6″) I’ve been able to find comes from Kathy Ruddy).
  • Using 3″ wide elastic, cut wedges about 2 1/2″ across the top, 1 1/2″ at the bottom, serge the cut sides.
  • Position the top of the waistband against the top of one side of the elastic and stitch, then attach the waistband to the second side, leaving an opening in the elastic wide enough to be comfortable but not so wide as the make the waistband too loose.
  • With the top of the waistband and the elastic in place behind the opening, top stitch (I use a utility stitch because the cut edge is raw and I want to secure it) along both cut edges securing the pants fabric to the elastic.
  • I don’t worry about attaching the elastic on the inside of the pants.

The whole operation took me about 10 minutes. I put the pants back on and I could sit comfortably. So I gathered up the other four pairs of corduroy pants in my closet and did the same to them.

Now I can breath when I’m wearing these pants. Truth be told, I’m going to have to do the same thing to all of my jeans. They all still fit everywhere but in the waist and are more than wearable. No point in tossing them out – I just need to make the adjustment so I can wear them comfortably. And since I wear my sweaters or t-shirts out (not tucked in) my kluge doesn’t show!

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