In this tutorial,
I’m going to show you how to replace and sew an elastic waistband on pyjamas. You can apply this method to any piece of clothing that has an elastic to be replaced. You can sew the elastic waistband on a new garment exactly the same way, just skip the part where I remove the old elastic.
There are a lot of ways to do that, depending on the type of elastic band, the way of attachment or the techniques used. I am going to follow the technique that was originally used.
I’ve created a video tutorial that you can watch here.
Or, if you prefer, there are reading instructions, too.
Removing the old elastic
At first, let’s start with removing the old stitching that covers the elastic. It is a one needle coverstitch machine, which means that there are only two threads used to create the seam- one in the needle and one in the looper.
Any seam that is created with a looping, no matter coverstitch machine or a serger one can be easily removed by using essentially the same technique.
What you need to do first is to break the needle thread, which usually goes on top.
pull out several stitches in the direction opposite of the direction of sewing. Be careful to determine the direction of sewing and go the opposite way, otherwise, the looper won’t start to unravel. Once you’ve pulled out 5 to 10 stitches, try to pull the looper thread on the inside. It should easily go off. If it the thread gets stuck, just pull some more stitches, trying not to break the thread.
Once you finish with the cover stitching, continue with the serger one.
What I do is basically the same, pull out several stitches of the needle thread (the one that goes as a straight line), and remove it. The looper one should go off by itself. Now this is a 3-thread serger, which means there is only one needle. A four thread serger would have two needles, so before unravelling the loopers threads, make sure to remove both of the needle ones.
Position the new elastic on the waistline
Let’s continue with replacing the old elastic with the new one. Mine is a bit more narrow, but this doesn’t make a difference. Now, let’s figure out how much elastic you are going to need to create a nice gathering.
There are several ways to do that:
- The first one is to measure directly on the body, pulling the elastic enough so it is neither too tight or too loose;
- Another way is to use a size chart, but make sure it is for the elastic itself, not for the actual waist measurement. I’ve created one that I find quite accurate.
You can download it here. Just right-click and save the image.
- The last way that I’m going to show you works well not only for children but for adults, too. It’s very handy if you don’t have a measurement chart or the actual person to measure on is not around.
You take the elastic,
fold it in half and adjust it so that it is ¾ of the circumstance of the garment at the waist (picture 2). This results in a nice gathering of the fabric, that is not too loose or tight. I just eyeball it, but if you feel more comfortable, use a measurement tape.
Once you’ve determined the desired length of the elastic, bring the ends together, overlapping approximately ¾ to an inch/2 cm and sew the edges together. You can use straight or zig zag stitch, whichever you prefer (picture 3).
Start pinning the elastic to the waist (picture 4). I usually begin at the back center seam. Then pin it to the front center seam and to the sides. This way the elastic will be evenly distributed and will create an even gathering of the fabric (picture 5).
Attach the elastic band to the waistline
The next step is to sew the elastic to the pajamas. When sewing, try not to pull it more than the fabric, don’t stretch the fabric, just the elastic band.
I attach the elastic with a serger , so I’ve pinned some of the fabric to be cut out. If you use a zig zag or a stretch stitch on a regular machine, just align the edge of the fabric and the elastic. The most important thing is to make sure to use a stitch that tolerates stretching, so it doesn’t break when the elastic is pulled out.
We have the elastic attached, so the last step is to add finishing by cover stitching it. Pin it the same way as when attaching the elastic – at the center back and front and at both sides (picture 6). If it is easier for you, add some more pins between those four. Make sure you are not leaving space between the edge of the elastic and the fabric (picture 7).
do the cover stitching. I prefer to do it at the bottom of the elastic so it is fully covered. I use a two needle coverstitch machine that secures it well enough so one seam is fine. If you prefer, you might add a seam in the middle of the elastic to secure it.
Once again, make sure to use a seam that tolerates stretching according to your sewing machine manual. And that’s it – now I have a happy kid with fitting pajamas.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.