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Elastic Comfort for Tailored Trousers

A stylish new twist on elasticizing the waist, straight from the French
Threads #95, June/July 2001

Wandering through a market in Marseilles, France, on a recent vacation, I saw a man wearing a fascinating pair of slacks. The pants were fully tailored front and back, but directly above each side seam, at the waist, was a deep, V-shaped elastic insertion. I was so taken with this approach to adding comfort to trouser waists without spoiling the elegance of a traditional waistband finish that I couldn’t wait to get home and try it. 

The trousers shown here are the results, adapted to a women’s figure, and they’ve proven comfortable and sleek. In the drawings on below, I’ll show you step-by-step how to convert any basic pants pattern into an inset-elastic pant and show you how I constructed the pants shown here. In this case, I removed the entire existing waistband, finishing the pants with a faced waist that stops right at the waistline. As long as your pattern has side-seam detailing that could be cut away, you should be able to apply this insert idea, whether you remove the waistband or not.

Convert your pattern

Work on a copy of any well-tested pants pattern with a waistband, which won’t be used. The pattern can have either a cut-on or a sewn-on fly facing. If your chosen pattern has in-seam side pockets, you’ll need to convert them to slanted pockets or eliminate them.

Create inset opening

On pants front and back, mark one point 57⁄8 in. below waistline seam, and one 11⁄4 in. from the side seam.
Step 1. On pants front and back, mark one point 57⁄8 in. below waistline seam, and one 11⁄4 in. from the side seam.

Create facing Patterns


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Previous: The Essential Tailored Trouser from Yves St. Laurent Next: The Two-Piece Waistband

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