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Pant closure change

JCKelly | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello everyone,

First I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Christine and live in Florida.  I love to sew and after quilting I decided to sew some garments for myself.  This Forum is heaven sent. Thank you for letting my join. 

Here is my question:  Is is it possible to change a shorts or pant pattern that has a zipper to eliminate the zipper and just use an elastic waistband?  I have several patterns with zipper closure but could only find one pattern with an elastic waistband.  Unfortunately, this pattern has the waistband on the hip which I don’t like to wear because of my, somewhat, full stomach.

Thanks to everyone who can give me some ideas.



  1. PASDENOM | | #1

    You have to get rid of the darts and possibly redraw the side seams straighter. A zippered garment opens up to go over the hips, then closes to fit the waist. For an elastic waist it needs to accommodate your hips when stretched out, but you don't want too much extra room which will end up as bulk when the elastic is relaxed.

    1. JCKelly | | #2

      Thank you so much for the fast respond.  I will try a sample using your tip.

      Have a great day,


  2. Tatsy | | #3

    You might want to measure the difference between where the hip-length pattern hits you and where you'd like the pants to fit. Then all you would need to do is add that much all the way around the top of the pants. Elastic waist pants go straight up from the hip so there's nothing else to change except the length from hip to waistband.

  3. sewelegant | | #4

    I did what you want to do many times in the past.  I would take the pattern I liked the fit of and just not make the darts and sewed up the seam without the zipper.  For the waistband, I started out cutting one that would fit the waist 1:1 ratio and inserted the elastic after it was sewn on.

    I went on to find other ways to do the waistband and eventually just added enough material at the top to turn down over a circle of elastic that was the length I needed.  It really is amazing how easy that is to do.  Someone mentioned bulk and if that is a problem for you just taper the side seams or make small darts, just make sure you leave enough room to pull the pant on!  I guess you could use the directions from the one pattern you have for an elastic band, but just apply that to a higher waist level band.

    Another hint is to cut out the pants with excess fabric at the top (waist) and try on the pants with the circle of elastic you will be using for your waistband.  Pull up the pants until you have it fitted exactly where you like it and use a marking pen to mark the lower edge of the elastic on the outside of the pants.  When you take them off you will have a pretty good idea just where to locate your waistline.

    1. JCKelly | | #5

      Thank you so much for your great tips.  You are a tremendous help.  Can't wait to get started :) I will let you know how it turned out.

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