Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Threads Project Guides

Fit and Sew Pants

Guide Home

Sign in or become an insider to access this story

Sign In

Comfortable, Sleek Pants

Upgrade your favorite pull-on style with darts and a zipper
Threads #180, Aug./Sept. 2015

I’ve been sewing elastic-waist pants for years because of their comfort and ease of construction. I’ve talked to many women who share my feelings, but some worry that a pull-on style might be baggy and unfitted. To provide an alternative look, I have devised a method for including darts and an invisible zipper in elastic-waist pants to remove some of the excess fabric from the waist circumference. The elastic remains, so you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for a svelte waistline. 

I like this alteration because it solves two fitting issues. If your waistline has disappeared, you can make your silhouette sleeker by eliminating some of the gathers at the waist in a pull-on pant. The change is also beneficial for women who are much smaller in the waist than they are at the hip: They can remove some of the fullness at the waist that would result from the dramatic difference in their measurements.

I’ll show you how to make the changes you need for a cleanly finished, comfortable pair of pants.

Map out the casing diagramMap out the casing

It’s helpful to understand the anatomy of the pants’ waistline. For the sample pants, I worked with the Cutting Line Designs My Swing Set pattern. 

This design’s waist casing is 4-1⁄4 inches wide, and the pattern calls for 1-1⁄2-inch-wide, sew-through elastic. The top 2-1⁄4 inches of the casing are folded down to enclose the elastic. A line of stitching 1⁄4 inch below this top fold forms a ruffle that protects the top edge of the casing from wear. Below that is the elastic channel, with a final row of stitching at the bottom of the casing.  

The techniques explained are demonstrated with these dimensions, but you can adapt the process for other elastic widths. Simply adjust the…

Start your 14-day FREE trial to access this story.

Start your FREE trial today and get instant access to this article plus access to all Threads Insider content.

Start Your Free Trial
Previous: Add a No-Fuss, Comfy Drawstring Waistband Next: Classic Trouser Waistband Upgrades


  1. freetosew | | #1

    I am delighted with the results of this method, by Sandra Miller,for an elastic waistband! I have already altered three pairs of pants.
    C Baxter, Fergus, Ontario, Canada

Log in or become a member to post a comment.

Fit and Sew Pants

Fit and Sew Pants

Making your own pants is a great way to get a perfect fit, every time. 

View Project Guide

View All Project Guides »

Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the Fit and Sew Pants Project Guide.

Start Free Trial

Fitting Secrets
Pockets and Closures
Waistbands, Linings, and Hems
Pants Pattern Reviews