March 02, 2012

DIY Fri: Add an Elastic Waist to a Big Dress

While thrifting for dresses, I always come across super cute frocks that are just too big in size. An easy solution to getting these dresses to fit better is adding elastic to the waist. Not only is this a super quick and easy method to getting a snugger look, but it's also very comfortable because the elastic stretches and can grow/shrink with your waistline if needed. Here's a little tutorial that teaches you to add elastic to a garment's waist. P.S. I also hemmed my dress and was going to add instructions to do this, but totally messed up =( sorry guys!

-Dress you want to add elastic to
-3/4 inch elastic
-Measuring tape
-Straight pins
-Sewing Machine

1. Measure your waist. Cut your elastic 4 inches smaller than your waist measurement. 2. Pin the ends of your elastic together to form a loop. Mark off  4 equal sections on the elastic. Each pin will represent either the side seams or center front/back of the garment. 3. Mark off the center front and center back of your dress using pins. If there is not a waistline seam on your dress then you can kind of create your own - Measure up from the hem to where your waistline will be, then mark a horizontal line with pins or tailor chalk to represent the waist. 4. Flip the top of your dress inside and lay flat. You will want the line where you are sewing your elastic to be at the edge. Start sewing your elastic at the side seam. While sewing, pull your elastic to match up the pin to either center front or back (depending which side seam you started at.) Continue sewing and pulling the elastic to match the pins with the remaining center pin and side seams. Flip the dress right sides out and press with a steaming iron. 


  1. I needed this!!! Thank you for posting.. btw I found you in the fashion bloggers team on etsy.

  2. Great modification! I've always wanted to do something like this with an old dress.

  3. Did you make a casing for your elastic on the inside? Or is it exposed?

    btw, great idea! really excited to try this at home :)

  4. Anon, I did not make a casing in the dress, although you easily could. I left the elastic exposed and just made sure to get a softer elastic so it wouldn't irritate the skin.

  5. Hi! I love your tutorial, but I am not understanding picture 4. How is your dress lying flat? Are you going through double the fabric (ie; both sides of the pinched fabric?)

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    Picture 4 shows the top portion of the garment flipped inside of the bottom portion, and the joining seam facing out forming an edge. This is done so you can sew your elastic on the stitching line that attaches the top to the bottom. And you stitch the elastic to the inside of your garment of course. Hope that helps!

  7. very nice dresses, my fav is the hot pink or hot apricot. love it. cheap long sleeve club dresses



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