Simple Hack for Elastic Waist Pants

by Koetiquemade
2 Materials
3 Hours

I came up with this simple hack, out of laziness while I was sewing these. I didn’t want to do buttonholes for the drawstring. I love waist ties and drawstrings but I hate doing buttonholes. I also am not super crazy with the look of pants being gathered across the front of my waist. I feel like it adds bulk. I also like the look of a flat front waist better than a gathered front waist.

This hack could be used for pretty much any elastic waist pants you have. I happened to use a super simple pattern, The Oceanside Pants by Blank Slate Patterns. I have had this orangey-red, 100% cotton fabric for ages to make the Oceanside Pants with. I just kept putting it off. Well, since March is “Wear Happy Color” month I decided that I had better get them made so I could wear them during Orange week.

Here’s some details about the pattern I used incase you don’t have one:

The Oceanside Pants or Shorts are an easy drawstring pant that can go from beachcomber casual to even be used as pajamas. Sew them in linen for a classic summer look or soft cotton for lounging around the house. With only 3 pattern pieces, you can whip these up in no time at all.


  • Suitable for woven fabric

  • Pants or shorts length

  • Drawstring waist with elastic

  • Patch Pockets

Sizes: Women’s XXS-3X (hips 33-55″)

With the Oceanside Pants as with most elastic waist patterns, you choose your size based on your hip measurement, unless your waist is bigger than your hips. If you are unsure, you can check the “finished” measurement chart on your pattern. My Hips are 41 inches and my waist is 31 inches. In this pattern I wear a size medium with no adjustments and the waist hits about 1 inch below my belly button. I am considering doing an adjustment on my next pair so they sit a little higher. Just so I can have two different style options.

Ok, now for the hack. All you do is sew whatever pants you chose together according to the instructions. Then, before you fold the waist over to make the elastic waistband casing, you iron on some thick, fusible interfacing to the front middle section of the waist area. Iron it to the wrong side of the fabric in the front area so that when you fold the top over, the interfacing is completely covered. For reference my interfacing piece was 10×1.15 inches. It was easy for me to figure out where to put it because my pants had some cute pockets sewn on to the outside. The interfacing went in the waistband area between the two pockets. You can see the interfacing in the picture below. Ignore the elastic in the pants. I was almost done with this project when I decided to take this picture.

Now for the flat front part. The pins mark the area the interfacing is in. The part between the pins is left unsewn for now. To create the waist casing for the elastic, sew from one pin around to the back and to the other pin leaving the front part unsewn.

To figure the elastic length I took my waist circumference, subtracted the unsewn area between the two pins and then subtracted two more inches. Yours may be a little different so you may want to give yourself a bit more elastic to be safe. Then cut your elastic to the size you have determined and insert it in one side and around to the other. Pin it in place on both ends with safety pins and try them on to make sure they fit. Once satisfied, stitch the elastic in place with a vertical stitch across the elastic. Then enclose the waist casing area that was left unsewn. Your pants should look similar to the picture below now.

My pattern calls for a drawstring that is attached to elastic so I just used that pattern piece and made these little ties. It would be super simple for you to make your own. You don’t need a pattern piece. For reference, mine unsewn were 17.5×2 inches. Pin them to where you secured your elastic in place and stitch them to the waist.

Then fold them back over the raw edges of the ties and stitch them again using a narrow zig-zag stitch to make them more secure. You can finish it off by tying it in a little bow. The great thing about this method is you don’t have to untie it to get them on and off. This little bow can stay tied.

I think it would be super cute with a thicker waistband and ties too. You could change it up all sorts of ways. I love this pattern because it’s wide legged and the pockets are super cute. You can throw these on with some sneakers or heels just depending on your mood.

I hope you liked this simple hack for elastic waist pants. Let me know in the comments your favorite way to change up simple elastic waist pants.

Happy sewing and pattern hacking!


How to put string back in pants

For another fashion hack, check out this tutorial on How to Put String Back in Pants: 4 Easy Methods!

Suggested materials:
  • Elastic waist pants pattern   (
  • Fabric   (Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Joann)

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Want more details about this and other fashion and style ideas? Check out more here!
Join the conversation
3 of 40 comments
  • Cra7828570 Cra7828570 on Apr 07, 2022

    What a cute alternative to wearing colored jeans all the time and cooler in the summer. I'm going to look for a similar pattern and sew up some summer colors. Thank you. Cheryl

    • Koetiquemade Koetiquemade on Apr 08, 2022

      Wonderful to hear! There are a few simplicity pattern I have that are very similar to this one.

  • Melissa Waters Melissa Waters on Nov 20, 2023

    i love this hack! I’m not crazy about elastic waists, but this really classes them up. Perfect for next spring’s beach pants.