How to Use Draw Cord Elastic


Using draw cord elastic in the elastic waistband of athletic or lounge pants is an ideal way to create a comfortable waistband. With draw cord elastic, the drawstring runs through the center of the elastic. This design enables you to place the elastic into a waistband in the standard fashion and the additional draw cord will protrude out the waistband, enabling the wearer to adjust the waist of the pants to make the waistband fit perfectly.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Draw cord elastic
  • Scissors
  • Unfinished waistband
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Encircle your waist with the tape measure to determine how much draw cord elastic you will need for the waistband. Subtract two to three inches from the measurement to arrive at the length you will cut the draw cord elastic.

  • Make a ½-inch-long buttonhole at the center front of the waistband, positioning the buttonhole so it will be on the inside of the waistband when you finish sewing the casing for the elastic (approximately 1.25 inch from the top edge of the waistband fabric).

  • Place the two ends of the draw cord elastic together, matching the ends. Stitch the ends together an inch from the edge of the ends. Open the seam allowance along the seam you just stitched to make the seam flat and stitch the seam allowances flat against the elastic to keep the seam flat.

  • Divide the draw cord elastic into quarter sections and mark these sections with pins. Place one pin at the seam you just made. Place a second pin exactly halfway across the elastic circle from the first pin. Place the two remaining pins halfway between the first two pins. Dividing the elastic into quarters will help you position the draw cord elastic evenly into the waistband before you sew it.

  • Position the draw cord elastic along the top of the waistband. Position the seam you made in Step 3 at the back seam of the waistband. Position the second pin at the buttonhole. Pin the other two pins at the side seams of the waistband. Pin the draw cord elastic approximately ¼ inch from the top edge of the waistband.

  • Stitch the draw cord elastic into place on the waistband, sewing along both long edges of the elastic 1/8 -inch away from the edges of the elastic.

  • Fold the elastic over once to the inside of the waistband to enclose the elastic within the waistband fabric. Pin this fold into place.

  • Stitch along the fold, running the stitches 1/8 inch away from the fold. Sew along the entire waistband to finish enclosing the draw cord elastic.

  • Reach the tip of the seam ripper inside the buttonhole and pull out the draw cord through the buttonhole. Do not cut the cord, but rather pull it out and loop it into a loose overhand knot to tie it.

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  • Photo Credit Elastic image by Yuriy Rozanov from
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