How to measure the elastic for the waistband (2023)

Elastic is a firm fabric that is used mainly for making waistbands. Its best known characteristic is that it stretches. As a result, clothes that normally don't fit if you change the waistband to an elastic one.

If you want to make elastic bands for your waistbands, you need to know how to measure them correctly. If you measure wrong, you will find that your clothes are too tight or too loose to wear.

You don't want to ruin your clothes by putting on the wrong size rubber bands.

How to measure the elastic waist?


  • How to measure the elastic waist?
    • Method 1. Using a tape measure
    • Method 2. Elastic waistband
    • Method 3. Using your hips
    • Method 4. Follow a size chart
  • How to Properly Care for Elastic Waistbands
  • How to measure elastic for sleeves.

How to measure the elastic for the waistband (1)

To correctly measure the elastic at the waist, use a tape measure. Tuck it in at the waist or where you want the pants to sit on your torso. Let the tape measure go all the way around until the two opposite sides touch. The number is your waist size in inches.

To cut the correct length of elastic for your waist, measure an elastic band that is two inches smaller than your waist size. This will give you enough room for your pants to stretch and fit comfortably.

(Video) The easiest way to measure elastic!

Method 1. Using a tape measure

How to measure the elastic for the waistband (2)

Paso 1🇧🇷 For this method, you will only need your tape measure. Place it on your waist or where you want to wear the pants around your torso. Make sure that the two ends of the tape measure touch each other and that it lies flat on your body. Do not pull it towards your body. Let him feel comfortable around you.

paso 2🇧🇷 At the point where the two ends meet, you have the size of your waist in inches. Record the length in inches. Tape measures have two sides, the centimeter side and the inch side. Use the inch side, it's easier to work with.

Stage 3.Measure your elastic to fit around your waist. To get the proper length for an elastic waistband, subtract two inches from your waist size. This is the length of elastic you need for your waistband.

This allows the space in the waistband to expand and will fit you perfectly once you've attached it to your pants. If you wear your actual waist size, your pants will be baggy and loose when you wear them.

Paso 4🇧🇷 Attach the elastic to the pants. You can sew it directly to your pants or make an opening at the waist where the elastic will go.

Method 2. Elastic waistband

How to measure the elastic for the waistband (3)

Paso 1🇧🇷 Take a large roll of elastic. Hold the free corner and place it around his waist where he feels comfortable wearing his clothing. Make sure it rotates and has two opposite sides touching. Also, make sure not to stretch the elastic. Let it wrap around your waist as easily as possible.

(Video) Easiest way to measure elastic...

paso 2🇧🇷 Place one finger where the two sides of the elastic meet around your waist. Place the elastic on your work table and cut at the point you marked with your fingers. Use sharp scissors to cut the elastic.

stage 3🇧🇷 Place the cut elastic band around the waistband and confirm that it will fit snugly when sewn to the pants. Again, don't pull on the elastic as you wrap it around your waist. Make sure the two ends are touching each other.

Paso 4🇧🇷 Once you have confirmed that the elastic will fit around your waist, sew it to the pants. You can use any method to sew it. You can sew your elastic on as an exposed waistband or hide it under a waistband box.

Method 3. Using your hips

How to measure the elastic for the waistband (4)

Paso 1🇧🇷 Take a long piece of elastic. Wrap it around the fullest part of your hips. Make sure it's not too tight so that you can wear it comfortably after it's sewn into the fabric.

paso 2🇧🇷 Now, take the measured elastic and wrap it around your waist or wherever you want to wear the pants. If it's comfortable, this is the correct measurement for your elastic waistband. If it is too tight, loosen the elastic a little to get a comfortable length.

stage 3🇧🇷 Cut the elastic and prepare to sew it to the waistband of the pants. In this method, you don't need to subtract anything from your elastic measure. You are confident that your final measurement will fit even at the fullest part of your hips when wearing pants with an elasticated waist.

Paso 4🇧🇷 When you have the most comfortable length of elastic for your waist size, it's time to attach the elastic to your pants. When using elastic only from the waistband, secure the waistband of the pants in four pieces. The back of the front and both sides, then sew to the pants. When you get to the ends of the elastic, you can sew them together or use another piece of fabric to hold them together.

(Video) 16a Measure & Insert Elastic

Alternatively, you can insert the elastic into the waistband of your pants. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic. Use this safety pin to push the elastic into the frame until the full length of the elastic is inside the pants. Once you have the ends of the elastic, you can use the same safety pin to keep them together or sew them together for stability and comfort.

Paso 5🇧🇷 After attaching the elastic to the pants, try it on to see if it fits you perfectly. If it's too tight, you can make any necessary changes. Tear off the end of the elastic and place a piece of fabric that you can use to sew the ends together so that the waistband is a little loose at the waist.

Or you can iron the stretch elastic waistband as much as you want to make it loose and more comfortable when you wear it. You can also slide your pants into a chair to expand the elastic and make it much easier to wear.

Method 4. Follow a size chart

How to measure the elastic for the waistband (5)

Paso 1🇧🇷 Have the elastic for the waist of the pieces you want to sew ready.

paso 2🇧🇷 When using an elastic waist chart, you must have the correct waist size measurement. Whether you're making a waistband for yourself or a client.

stage 3🇧🇷 Consult the table to know the length of elastic needed for each waist size. A size chart provides a range of waist sizes and the length of elastic you need for each. Use it to quickly and comfortably measure from the elastic to the waist.

You don't have to take as many steps either. One waist measurement is enough to sew your elastic waistband.

(Video) Fold Over Elastic - FOE - How To Measure and Sew - (Professionally)

How to Properly Care for Elastic Waistbands

Elastic waistbands have a lifetime. After years of continually wearing your comfortable clothing with an elastic waistband, the elastic begins to loosen. This is especially if you take good care of your clothes.

On the other hand, without proper care, you will find that your stretchy clothing begins to lose elasticity within a few months.

One of the main care for elastic waistbands is washing and drying. Avoid washing in hot water and tumble drying. Heat is an important factor in elastic stretching. Thus, continuous washing in hot water reduces the life of the waist elastic. Wash your elastic waistband garments in cold or warm water and let them air dry.

Another aspect of elastic waistband care is ironing. As mentioned, heat stretches the elastic and causes it to lose its grip. When ironing, use low heat and a damp cloth on the elastic waistband. Also, do not stretch your waist when ironing. Or, it will spread more.

Do not use bleach on the elastic. It corrodes the elastic and causes it to lose its elasticity.

When your elastic waistband wears out, you can easily replace it with a new one. And keep wearing your clothes.

How to measure elastic for sleeves.

Elastic is very versatile. It is available in different fabrics and styles and can be used for many types of clothing. It can also be used for different kinds of purposes.

(Video) Measuring waist elastic

In addition to being a waistband, another common use for elastic is on the sleeves and cuffs of clothing.

As with all other components of a garment, you will need to measure the amount of elastic needed for the sleeves. Measuring the elastic of the sleeves is not as complicated as measuring the waist.

Wrap the elastic around the sleeves. Pull or loosen to get the fit you want the garment to have. With a pen, mark the point where the ends of the elastic will meet. Then leave room for a seam allowance when sewing the fabric to the sleeves.


How is elastic measured? ›

Elasticity is measured by the ratio of two percentages, measured by calculating the ratio of the change in the quantity demanded to the change in the price.

What is the ratio of elastic to fabric? ›

The standard sewing elastic ratio for the length of elastic to fabric length can vary from 1:2 to 1:3, depending on the kind of ruffles you need. The lesser the length of the elastic, the more ruffles you will attain through the stitch. Elastic ratio can also differ with the type of gathering you are looking to stitch.

How do you measure elastic for a skirt? ›

Measure your natural waist (smallest part of your waist). Now subtract about 2-3″ from that measurement. Waist measurement – 2″ = elastic length. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic.

What kind of elastic for waistband? ›

STRETCH LACE ELASTIC is soft and flexible. It conforms to the body, making it an ideal choice for waistbands and leg bands for lingerie and for making comfortable headbands. SPORT ELASTIC is soft and flexible. It is often used in sportswear and sleepwear.

How much should I stretch elastic when sewing? ›

Using Math: Generally, elastic is stretched between 3-8%, with 8% being used only in parts where you want the garment to “hug” the body (i.e. at the underarm near the armpit). So if you want to use math, then you can measure the length of what is being sewn and reduce it by 5%.

Why is one elastic tighter than the other? ›

Answer: Elastics

I would recommend you discuss this with your doctor, but in my experience the distance that teeth needing to be shifted by elastics could be different from one side to the other. This means that one rubber band feels tighter than the other.

Should I stretch elastic while sewing? ›

Make sure to stretch the elastic out as you sew so that it will be the same length as the fabric. Sew all the way around the elastic and overlap the beginning of the stitching slightly when you have sewn all the way around the elastic.

How do you measure a waistband? ›

How to measure your waist
  1. Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.
  2. Place a tape measure around your middle at a point halfway between them (just above the belly button).
  3. Make sure it's pulled tight, but isn't digging into your skin.
  4. Breathe out naturally and take your measurement.

How much extra fabric do I need for elastic waist skirt? ›

Measure the length.

Measure from your waist down to how long you want the skirt to be. Add 1 inch for the hem allowance. Add 1.5 inch for the casing at the top.

What are the two main types of elastic waistband? ›

Elastic waistbands fall into two general categories: fold-down casings and applied casings. A casing is a fabric «tunnel» enclosing elastic. There's also a third category in which the elastic is sewn directly to the fabric (this method works best with knit fabrics).

How do you sew elastic to tighten your waist? ›

Sewing: If you are tightening by sewing, then cut a slit in the fabric on the interior side. Thread another elastic that is smaller in length along the stretched one, provided the elastic tunnel or seam is not stitched. Pull to the required size and sew or knot to get a perfect fit.

What is a standard size elastic band? ›

The standard thickness for a rubber band is 1/32.
Rubber Band Size Chart.
ClassificationLength (inches)Width (inches)
Size 30 rubber bands3 1/21/8
Size 31 rubber bands2 1/21/8
Size 32 rubber bands31/8
Size 33 rubber bands3 1/21/8
18 more rows
Oct 15, 2021

Do I need a special needle to sew elastic? ›

Use a stretch needle for stitching with elastic, as these have a rounded point that penetrates between the fabric threads rather than piercing them. The point is slightly less rounded than a ballpoint needle, which is better for stitching on elastic, as ballpoint needles can skip stitches.

What stitch should I use for elastic? ›

Sew with a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch, which will stretch along with the elastic. Finish the hem of the garment, if applicable. Mark the seam allowances at the sides of the garment piece. Fold the fabric between the marks into four equal sections.

How thick should waistband elastic be? ›

Here are some rules of thumb to follow: Waistbands: 3/4 to 1 inch for most garments, 1/2 inch may be wide enough on lightweight children's clothing. Necklines: 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

What are the different sizes of elastics? ›

Rubber Band Sizes

The different sizes include 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch, 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, and 3/8 inch options.

What happens to an elastic band if you stretch it too far? ›

It changes shape when extended and returns to its original shape when the applied force is withdrawn. That is why, after being a solid, a rubber band changes shape. Furthermore, if too much stress is applied, the rubber band will snap.

How many inches can you add by stretching? ›

Hanging and stretching can reverse the compression, making you slightly taller until your spine compresses again. Spinal compression can reduce your height temporarily by 1%. In tall people this can be as much as a half inch. Stretching and hanging and lying down can restore this 1%, but won't make you taller [5].

How do you calculate stretch pattern? ›

To calculate the stretch percentage you take the length of your fabric when stretched, less the original length, divide it by the original length, and then multiply by 100.

How much smaller should elastic be? ›

The elastic for a waistband should be approximately 2" smaller than your waist measurement.

Does elastic loosen when washed? ›

Rayon elastic should be used only for garments that are going to be hand-washed and air-dried. Rayon elastic should never be sent to the dry cleaner or used in swimwear. Dry-cleaning chemicals will quickly destroy it, and when it's wet, it loses its stretch.

Does elastic expand on heating? ›

This occurs because of the unusual polymer structure of rubber. When the long chains get hotter and vibrate, they actually shorten, causing the material to contract. When the chains cool down, they relax and stretch out, causing the material to expand.

Is there a trick to sewing stretchy fabric? ›

If a fabric stretches as you sew, try lifting your presser foot every few inches. Intermittently raising the feed foot reduces the pressure on your stitches and can stop knit fabric distorting. Some sewing machines allow you to reduce the presser foot pressure using a dial.

Is it better to stretch or roll out? ›

100% you should roll before you stretch!!

Rolling is utilised to break up tightness and density within muscle tissue. This then enables us to lengthen out the muscle with stretching exercises to really build long-term flexibility. The best way to describe this is the rubber band analogy.

What size waist is 32 inches? ›

For example: If you have a 32 inch waist, your size is a US-Size M or Euro-Size 42. US Size / Internat.

Does 32 waist mean 32 inches? ›

For example, if you have a jeans size 34/32, the number 34 means you have a waist 34 inches around. The number 32 then corresponds to a leg length of 32 inches.

What unit is elastic measured in? ›

The SI unit for elasticity and the elastic modulus is the pascal (Pa). This unit is defined as force per unit area, generally a measurement of pressure, which in mechanics corresponds to stress.

What does an elasticity of 2.5 mean? ›

So if the price elasticity of supply is 2.5, then it means that if prices changes by 1%, quantity supplied will change by 2.5% in same direction.

What does an elasticity of 1.8 mean? ›

Price elasticity represents the response of sales to a 1% reduction or increase in its price. Such elasticity tends to be high: an average of −1.8, which means that a 10% price reduction would on average boost sales by 18%.

Is 1.25 elastic or inelastic? ›

Because 1.25 is greater than 1, the laptop price is considered elastic.


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