Adding Clear Elastic to a Waist Seam

Note: This blog post assumes that the seam allowance for the garment is 3/8” (1
cm). If a larger seam allowance is provided in the pattern, trim the edges of the garment that the elastic will be added to. For example, if a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance is included in the pattern, 1/8” (0.3 cm) of fabric should be trimmed off of the bottom of the bodice and the top of the skirt/shorts/pants/romper prior to beginning.

Adding clear elastic to the waist seam of knit garments adds stability and keeps the garment from stretching out over time. This blog post will detail how to add clear elastic to any waist seam using a sewing machine or serger.

To begin, construct the garment per the instructions up until the point where the bodice is attached to the skirt/shorts/pants/romper.


Place the bodice inside the skirt/shorts/pants/romper, right sides together. Baste in place using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance.

Measure the circumference of the raw edge of the opening. The elastic will need to be cut 1" (2.5 cm) longer than this measurement. Be sure to stretch the 3/8" (1 cm) clear elastic to exercise it before measuring and cutting it. This will ensure that the elastic does not stretch out while sewing or wearing.

This next step can be completed with a serger or a sewing machine. Align the clear elastic along the raw edge. The elastic will be placed on the wrong side of the bodice fabric. The gathers will be on the bottom. Note: If using 1/4” (0.6 cm) clear elastic, place the elastic 1/8” (0.3 cm) away from the raw edge.

Use a long, wide, zig zag stitch or serger and slowly sew the clear elastic to the
bodice using a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance. If using a serger, 1/8” (0.3 cm) of elastic will be trimmed off with the fabric. Unlike woven or knit elastic, it is okay to trim clear elastic. It does not decrease the integrity of the elastic. Do not pull or push the garment/elastic or bunching or stretching will occur. Continue sewing until the original point is reached. If using a sewing machine, secure the end of the elastic by backstitching several times.

Once the elastic is attached, remove the basting stitches. Steam and press the
seam up towards the bodice for a clean finish. Take care to not press directly over the clear elastic. It will melt. The seam will naturally want to lay up towards the bodice because of the way the elastic is attached.

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