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How to Add a Fantastic Elastic Waist to Just About Any Dress!

Sleeveless Dress to Keyhole Back Top Refashion
Yacht Rock Dress Refashion

Today I’m going to dispel two myths about this blog.  🙂

The first myth is that I never try to look cute in my “before” pics.  

Okay…fair enough.  I’ll try to look as gorgeous/glamorous as possible in this boring shift dress:

how to add elastic to dress before
Oooo lah lah!

Okay…that’s just weird.  Let’s go back to the normal, shall we?

how to add elastic waist to dress before
Ahhhh…MUCH better!

Now for the second myth!

I keep getting told that I’m belt-obsessed and that that’s the only way I know how to cinch a waistline.  

Now, I definitely am belt-obsessed, but there are other ways to bring in the waist of a frumpy frock!  I personally prefer belts and sashes as they’re A.  Easier and B. more flattering for my short waist.

But enough of the belts!  Begone, sashes!  

Today I’m going to show you how to add an elastic waist to a dress!

First, take a dress that already fits you properly (like the one I’m wearing above) and mark where you want your waist to be.

safety pin on waistline
This is my impression of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

I put the safety pin a little lower than my natural waist, as I want the top of my frock to be just a little blousy.

Next, make a big cut!

removing bottom from dress

Take the skirt part and turn it inside out, then put the top part inside of it, with the right sides facing each other and with all the seams in line.

dress on ironing board
I use my ironing board to help with this.

Now pin them together!

pinned waist
Hello, future waist!

Stitch those two sides together…

sewing waist on dress
I’m so Pfaffsy…

…then press them both down towards the bottom hem of the dress.

ironing waist of dress
This will all make sense in just a moment!

Now for the much-awaited elastic!

Grab some thin elastic…

wad of elastic
Big wad o’ elastic!

Wrap the elastic around your waist and pull it to where it’s just tight enough to cinch the waist, but not uncomfortable.  Cut it off and sew the two ends together.  Make sure your elastic doesn’t have any kinks in it!

elastic sewn together

Fold your elastic ring in two, and mark each side.

marking elastic with fabric pencil

Now, fold it in two again, and mark those two sides as well!

folded elastic

Pin each marked part to the front, back, and each side right over your newly-stitched waist.

pinning elastic along seams
right along the seams!

Now for the finicky bit.  

Pin the elastic all around your new waist.  Stretch it as you pin, and try to avoid having any bunched-up bits.  

If you see part of it bunching up more than the rest, just start over.  Don’t worry.  It’s a pain, but it’ll be worth getting right!

elastic pinned along waist
Looking pretty Even Steven!

Now you’re ready to stitch your elastic down!

Run it through your sewing machine using a straight stitch.  Pull the elastic as you go.  

Don’t worry!  It’ll bounce right back and gather the waist!

stitching elastic down
Keep it stretched!

And that’s it for the waist!  🙂

But I couldn’t stop there!  I didn’t like the neckline or the length of this dress, so I still had a bit more work to do!

I decided to make the zippered back the front and turn it into a V-neck.  I pinned my new neckline down…

pinning v-neck on dress
Gimme a V!

…then I stitched it in place!

sewing vneck on sewing machine

There was one problem with this though.  Since the original front of the dress had bust darts, when I put it on, I looked like I had back boobs!  :/  That would not do!  

Not to worry!  I pinned those darts into straight lines and stitched them down.

adding darts
No more back boobs!

I was almost done!

 I chopped off some of the length, with the help of my dedicated companion!

douglas tugging at dress
He’s too cute to be annoying!

I gave my new dress a new hem, pressed it, and was all done!

sewing hem
The final step!

Here’s what it looks like now!

How to Add a Fantastic Elastic Waist to Just About Any Dress after
Elastic is fantastic!

And here’s what it looks like outside!

How to Add a Fantastic Elastic Waist to Just About Any Dress after outside
Same dress. Different lighting.

Do you like my sweet thrifted $3 platforms?  I sure do!

platform shoes close up
Only fell in ’em once! 🙂
close up of refashionista eating cheese
Ugh…selfies are just soooo cheesy! 😉

A few of you have been asking about the mystery guy who appeared a couple of times on this blog but you haven’t seen in a while.  

Wellllll…if you haven’t seen him in my multitude of out-and-about pics, that’s prrrrrobably because I’m not out-and-about with him, eh?  Don’t worry.  I get plenty of male affection!

friend kissing refashionista's cheek
Thanks Cole!
refashionista kissing friend's cheek
Oh hai Ryan!

These guys are all the men I need!  😉  My new dress enjoyed an unseasonably cool evening with friends playing “Truth or Dare Jenga”.  Seriously.  You need to make a set of your own!

refashionista playing truth or dare jenga
You’ll never play Jenga any other way ever again!
refashionista with friends making silly face
Goofy faces…not just for “before” pics anymore!

Soooo…now you know another way to make your waists nice and cinched!  Even if you hate belts (What’s wrong with you?!?!)!


how to add elastic waist before and after
Sleeveless Dress to Keyhole Back Top Refashion
Yacht Rock Dress Refashion