How to Replace Elastic

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When the waistband elastic in your favorite skirt or slacks is too stretched to hold the garment in place, you don't necessarily have to give up those comfy clothes. With basic sewing skills, you can replace that old elastic and give your apparel a new lease on life.

Things You'll Need

  • Seam ripper
  • Elastic
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine

Replacing Elastic Not Sewn to the Garment

Open the casing, or tunnel, for the elastic about 2 inches, using the seam ripper.

Pull the elastic through the opening until you can easily cut it.

Slide the length of elastic out of the casing.

Cut a piece of new elastic that is the length of your waist plus 1 inch. The elastic should be the same width as the original.

Pin the safety pin to one end of the new elastic.

Thread the safety pin through the opening in the casing and pull it around the waistband until it comes back to the opening. Take care to hold on to the other end. Remove the safety pin.

Hand-stitch the two ends of the elastic together, overlapping them 1/2 inch and making sure there are no twists in the length.

Slip-stitch the opening shut.

Replacing Elastic Stitched to the Waistband

Use the seam ripper to open the folded waistband. Be careful not to tear the layers of the fabric.

Remove the elastic from the garment, again using the seam ripper.

Pin the new elastic to the edge of the waistband, evenly distributing the fabric.

Fold the band and elastic over so that the elastic is sandwiched between two layers of fabric.

Stitch the band, through the elastic, about 1/4 inch from the open edge.

Make a second row of stitching about 1/4 inch from the fold.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you’ve removed elastic stitched to the garment, you can sew the fabric into a casing and, leaving a 2-inch opening, insert the new elastic through the channel, instead of attaching it to the skirt. This makes it easier to replace the next time it becomes necessary.

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