Adjustable Waistband Tutorial

pants / skirt pattern
Fabric for waistband

Interfacing scraps (need 2 of 1" x 2" rectangles)

3/4" buttonhole elastic, ½ -1 yard

¾" waistband elastic, ½ - 1 yd

2 Buttons



  1. Double height of waistband if it will be a single layer.
  2. Fold waistband in half, matching top to bottom with right sides showing.
  3. Sew waistband to pants / skirt according to patter directions, but with double thickness.
    a.  If your waistband has a center back seam, sew the seam allowances down. This will make it easier to pass the elastic through later. (The right side is sewed down, the left side is not.)

  4. Mark center hips with a vertical line on the top half of the waistband. Mark the center fold (from top to bottom) of the waistband with a pin or horizontal line so you know where to stop sewing the button holes.

    Markings up close

  5. Place scraps of interfacing centered over marks; pin ¼" above ½ height mark.  Interfacing is just to the left of the mark so you can see the mark. (Image is sideways for some reason).                                   Left side


    Right side

  6. Sew buttonholes on top half of inside of waistband. It should now look like this.

  7. Measure child's waist. Divide in half-1". Cut length of ¾" waistband elastic.

  8. Fold elastic ½" under each raw end. Sew ends to the front of the waistband, anchoring just in front of each buttonhole. (I use a straight stitch, then a couple passes of zigzag. )
    Up close image

    1. Turn waistband to inside, enclosing waistband and pants seam. Pin and sew all they away around the waistband around where the top of waistband meets the bottom. (Do Not sew bottom of front elastic into seam! It needs to be able to move.)  Stretch the front where the elastic is as you sew.

    2.  Open button holes from #6 with ripper.

    3. Take child's waist measurement, divide in half. Add 6-7 inches (maybe 10" for adult? This could be helpful in maternity pants.). Cut 3/4" buttonhole elastic to this length.  You can always trim the elastic if it's too long later, but it is hard to add more!
      1. Fold end of buttonhole elastic under ½". Straight stitch or zigzag stitch each end. 
      2. Use a safety pin to guide elastic through back half of waistband.

      3. Sew buttons onto hips, in front of buttonholes.

        Now your child's pants won't fall off! Plus these pants fit disposable AND cloth diapers. Of course, by the time these were finished he'd finished toilet training.

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