How to Stretch Elastic

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The properties that make an elastic band a useful item can also be annoying when the elastic is too tight. You want the band to be bigger, but the rubber section of the band has been treated to stretch and then return to its original size. Elastic can be stretched in several ways. The appropriate fix depends on how much extra room you need.

Stretch the Band

Things You'll Need

  • Ironing board
  • Safety pins

Step 1

Pin one side of the elastic band to the end of an ironing board.

Step 2

Stretch the band as far as it will go without any concern for ripping or damaging the material around it.

Step 3

Pin the other side of the elastic to the board. Allow it to sit on the board for a day and then check how much it has stretched. If necessary, continue stretching the band over several days. When an ironing board isn't available, consider stretching the elastic over the back of a chair as long as stretching it won't cause the band to break.

Use an Iron

Things You'll Need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Safety pins
  • Damp cloth

Step 1

Turn your iron to its hottest setting.

Step 2

Pin one end of the elastic band to the ironing board. Stretch the band as far as it can go without damaging the material around it. Pin the other side of the elastic band to the board.

Step 3

Lay a damp cloth over the elastic band. Quickly iron sections of the band. Iron for no longer than 10 seconds at a time. Be mindful to unpin and check how much the band has stretched. If applied too long, you may overstretch the band by ironing.

Try the Dryer

Things You'll Need

  • Dryer
  • Water

Step 1

Put your dryer on the hottest setting that the material can take without being damaged.

Step 2

Dampen the material so it won't be burned by the high heat. Dry the material. After several stints in the dryer, the elasticity of the band will break down from being exposed to high heat. Regularly check the elasticity of the band to avoid overstretching it.

Sew an Extension onto the Elastic Band

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Seam cutter
  • Matching section of elastic band

Step 1

Access the elastic band in the back of the material where a repair will be less noticeable. If necessary, use the seam cutter to get to it. If the waistband is stitched in place, you will need to remove the threading along the area where you plan to sew on an extension.

Step 2

Once the band is free, cut a clean slit down it. Pin the two ends of the band down to keep it from slipping back into the seam. Trim a new piece of elastic the length you want to extend the band.

Step 3

Using a sewing machine set to a zigzag stitch and a ballpoint needle, attach a new section of elastic that will extend the band to a comfortable width. You'll need to unpin each side before sewing. Once finished, pin down the casing and then sew it closed.

Replace the Elastic Band

Things You'll Need

  • A replacement elastic band
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Seam cutter

Step 1

Access the elastic band. If necessary, use the seam cutter to get to it by cutting open the seam in the back of the pants where the repair will be less noticeable.

Step 2

Cut open a hole in the seam underneath the elastic band a couple of inches wide or large enough to pull out a few inches of the elastic band.

Step 3

Cut the elastic band with a utility knife or pair of scissors and slide it out of the waistband. If the new elastic band isn't already measured to size, trim it to your waist plus 1 inch -- or to the appropriate size for the person who will be wearing the garment.

Step 4

Pin a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread the replacement band around the waist until it appears in the other side of the opening. You can then remove the safety pin.

Step 5

Once the band is in place, attach the ends using a sewing machine set to a zigzag stitch with a ballpoint needle or stitch it by hand. If necessary, sew up any seams that you opened.

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