The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

Hi there, I'm a beginner sewer who is racing to finish this week's accessorize challenge, I've had multiple setbacks with my dress but I'm so close to being done!

The only scary thing left for me to do is insert an elastic waistband, which is proving mysterious. I adapted the pattern from a kimono-stlye top and am adding a (very slightly, and only just to make it the same width as the bodice) gathered rectangular skirt, and I want the waistline to be elastic. How do I insert a casing band between the bodice and skirt? I hate zips and have no time to get one so elastic it must be.

So far I think that I need to get the right sides of skirt and bodice together and stitch along to join them, but how do I sew a 'tube'/ casing tidily for the the elastic without tears? Any help would seriously be appreciated!

Thanking you in advance :)

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First a couple of questions:

1)What are your seam allowances for the bottom of the shirt and the top of the skirt?

2) How wide is the elastic you are using?

Here's what I would do: 

I would have 5/8" (bare minimum 1/2") seam allowances on both the bottom of shirt and top of the skirt. Then I would use 3/8" or 1/4" elastic.

I would join the bodice and the skirt,  right sides together,  and stitch using either your 5/8" or 1/2" seam allowance.  Press that seam, but do not press it open.

Now you have a 5/8" or 1/2" amount for your elastic casing. 

Sew a 1/8" seam creating the casing. * Make sure to leave a sufficient opening to thread the elastic through. Also be sure to back stitch on either side of this opening so that your stitches do not unravel while threading.

Now insert your elastic, sew your elastic together, and hand or machine stitch that opening closed.

*note- you could also create a double sided waistband out of extra fabric, thread the elastic, attach it to your bodice and skirt, and make that your casing.

Hope that helps. Breathe and know that you can do this :)

Hi Clarissa, thank you so much! I have gone for approx 1" seam allowances so I should have plnty or omm to play with. the elastic is about 1.5cm (no idea about that in inches though sorry) so I should be good. Thanks for your advice and encouragement... I'll hopefully have it finished this evening!

I'm glad that helped. 1" seam allowance is a godsend for times like these. Good luck!

Adding an elastic waistband is very simple.  For the top piece (where you will insert the elastic), I fold the raw edge over 1/4-inch, and iron.  Then depending upon the width of elastic you will be using, I like 5/8-inch elastic since is substantial and will not tend to roll, fold the fabric again 1-inch.  Press.  Then top stitch 1/8-inch from the folded edge through all layers.  make sure to leave a good 2-3 inches so you can easily insert the elastic.  I don't cut the elastic until I have it inserted into the skirt/dress.  Use a large safety pin to help lead the elastic through the tube. 

For a dress, you could make a 2 - 3 inch piece of fabric and using the technique fold over both sides of the fabric, then sew this inside the dress.  Top-stitch in place. 

Thank you Particia! Very helpful and encouraging. My elastic is probably not quite wide enough but I'm about to move in 2 weeks so I'm making do with what I've got.

It's so wonderful that sewists are such kind and sharing people - I was so sutck but now I feel much more confident! Thanks for your advice!

Hi Juliet..

   The info the ladies just told you..is exaxtly what I would /and do for an elastic waist.  The fact that you have  allowed 1 inch seam allowances for joining the bodice to skirt...is fantastic.This will give you plenty of room to insert your  elastic...

  Cant wait to see your finished dress.Good luck and Happy sewing.

I did it! Thanks for all of your help and encouragement, now I just need to hem the skirt and sleeves and I'm done! I'll load in a few days once I have photos :) Sorry SW, I will be posting late... but late is better than a UFO!

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