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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…

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Previous: Add a No-Fuss, Comfy Drawstring Waistband Next: Classic Trouser Waistband Upgrades
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Discuss

  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

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Fit and Sew Pants

Fit and Sew Pants

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