Hello, friends. Today we are going to make our elasticated waistbands. Before we start perhaps I should run through the items you’ll need:
- 1/2 inch elastic
- A safety pin
Um, that’s it! Yeah, these pyjamas really aren’t too taxing.
First off, take your pyjamas and turn them inside out. Pull the waistband over your ironing board as your iron’s heating up.
Whenever I go to turn over a seamed raw edge, the first thing I do is check how the seams are lining up. Usually, they aren’t!
So I just take my scissors and trim that edge so that it makes a nice smooth line for pressing over:
Once that’s done, turn and press a scant 5mm fold:
Then fold over again and press a 22mm fold, pinning as you go:
You are going to sew along this fold, close to the edge. But first remind yourself that you want to leave a 3 inch gap between the start and the end of your sewn line. Think about where you’d like this gap to be. I put mine on the rear of my pyjamas. Just keep reminding yourself – you want to leave a gap! Start sewing.
Whilst sewing the waistband, you might want to insert a little hanging loop on the rear of your pyjamas. This will be useful for hanging jim jams on door hooks and also for reminding you which is the back of your pyjamas, now that your notches have gone! (Believe me, it can be difficult to work this out when tired and climbing into your pyjamas.)
If you’re already struggling to work out the back and the front, hold your pyjamas up and look at the centre seams. The front centre seam will lie fairly flat, whilst your back centre seam will have some visible volume to accommodate your pretty little derriere.
Now, measure out the length of elastic you’ll need. I held the elastic around my waist, to see what felt comfortable. This is such a personal issue, but as a general guide, I cut the elastic to my waist measurement, knowing that this circumference would be reduced by 1 inch when I overlapped and sewed the ends together. In short, if your waist is 31 inches your finished elastic loop will be 30 inches.
Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic.
Then insert your safety pin into the gap left in your waistband:
Chase your safety pin all the way through your waistband by nudging it along, scrunching up the waistband across your safety pin and pulling the gathers down the length of the elastic. Finally, your safety pin’s little head will pop out of the other side of the gap in the waistband. Keep hold of both ends and spread the waistband as evenly as possible across the length of elastic.
Make sure your elastic hasn’t twisted inside your waistband before proceeding any further. How? It’s tricky. I try to firmly grasp the ends of my elastic and pull the waistband out to its full capacity, eyeballing the fabric to make sure I can’t see any tell-tale bulges from a twist in the elastic. It’s a bit of a guessing game, to be honest. But you’ll get there.
Next up, the best sewing instruction an eye can read.
Overlap the ends of the elastic and, as Fehr Trade recently put it, ZIG ZAG THE CRAP OUT OF IT, going back and forth several times. (If you want an alternative tutorial on elasticated waistbands, check out her post here.)
This is one of the few times in a Sewist’s career when they really don’t need to care about the finish. Just, you know, the strength. Enjoy this moment!
If you have any doubts about the fit, now might be a good time to slip the PJs on before sewing the rest of the waistband down. That way you can adjust your elastic without having to get out the seam ripper. Happy? Seal the gap in your waistband by sewing it down, encasing the elastic. Make sure that the elastic is well away from your needle as you sew. You’re done!
There’s only one step left. Can you guess what it is?