Don't you hate it when the waist elastic in the back of a garment twists!!! I have a pair of tracksuit pants, that I purchased because they looked lovely and thick. They do the job of keeping me warm, but the twisted elastic at the back annoys me and is so uncomfortable. The problem could have easily been prevented if the manufacturer had added one or two tiny steps when they were being sewn.
This tutorial will show you two easy techniques to stop waist elastic from twisting.
Depending on the width of the hem and the width of the elastic, you may need to increase the width of the hem ever so slightly for the first method.
After you have sewn the waistband casing, but before you feed in the elastic, add an extra row of stitching very close to the edge of the fold. Mine usually ends up about 1/16" from the edge.
The edge stitching gives a lovely finish to the waistband, as well as stopping the elastic from twisting. The elastic will need to be a reasonably snug fit in the casing. ie; not so roomy that it allows lots of movement.
The second method is stitching in the ditch, after the elastic is inserted and distributed evenly around the waist.
- Turn the garment to the outside.
- Flatten the fabric so the seam is easily seen.
- Backstitch at either end and sew along the seam line.
I stitch in the ditch at the side seams and the back seam. Elastic doesn't seem to twist at the front... not sure why that is. As long as you match your thread to the fabric, no one will ever see your stitching.
It's easy to see why stitching in the ditch prevents the elastic from twisting. With edge stitching, it's not so obvious. Try the following on a scrap of fabric...
After you have sewn a hem, put your finger on the fold and push down. The fabric moves easily and forms a tunnel, which will allow the elastic to readily move. Edge stitch the casing and now try the same thing. It is possible to form a tunnel, but much harder. I had to use both hands and so I couldn't co-ordinate taking a photo.
You can use either method by themselves to stop waistband elastic from twisting, or you can use both edge stitching and stitching in the ditch together on the one garment. My preference is to stitch in the ditch or to use both methods. I don't think I ever just do the edge stitching.
Stitching in the ditch on a pair of boy's denim shorts.
Stitching in the ditch and stitching the casing... Pintucked Skirt tutorial. This is not really edge stitching, because, as you can see, the stitching isn't close to the edge. It's 1/2" from the edge. It still works, though, as the elastic fits snuggly in the casing and can't readily move.
There you have it... two easy ways to prevent waist elastic from twisting.
Stay tuned to see the rest of the floral flannelette garment in the examples above.
This little tip will be joining the almost 100 ideas already added to the Sewing Tips and Techniques collection, here on Threading My Way.