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

Peepshow Top
Yacht Rock Dress

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:

Oooo lah lah!


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


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 a 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 to make it look more like the kinds of dresses you see in stores…even when it’s just on the hanger.  :)

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

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!




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.

I use my ironing board to help with this.


Now pin!


Hello, future waist!


Stitch those two sides together…


I’m so Pfaffsy…


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


This will all make sense in just a moment!


Now for the much-awaited elastic part!


Grab some thin 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!




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




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




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


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!


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!


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…


Gimme a V!


…then I stitched it in place!




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.


No more back boobs!


I was almost done!  I chopped of the length, with the help of my dedicated companion!


He’s too cute to be annoying!


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


The final step!


Here’s what it looks like now!


Elastic is fantastic!


And here’s what it looks like outside!


Same dress. Different lighting.


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


Only fell in ’em once! :)



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!


Thanks Cole!


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!


You’ll never play Jenga any other way ever again!


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?!?!)!








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