Elastic waist pants and skirts are not only comfortable for kids, but quick and fun to sew. If you have the kid you’re sewing for nearby, it’s great to measure them to know exactly how much width they need to be comfy, but if you don’t have them close enough to measure, a chart of average measurements can be a great guide.
Different types of elastic behave differently. Try stretching it between your hands.
- Is there a lot of give? You’ll want to cut a bit shorter than the waist measurement and overlap the ends by an inch or so to be sure it stays put.
- Doesn’t give much? If you’re overlapping the ends to attach them you’ll want to add the amount of overlap to the waist measurement so that it doesn’t feel constrictive when it’s finished.
Feel free to download and print these to keep them handy! Or, of course, you can pin them to your tips board.
Remember, these are averages. If you’re sewing for a particular kid and can measure them or have someone else measure them, you’ll get the best results working with real numbers.
An important consideration as you’re getting ready to sew anything, even an elastic waist:
The elastic itself isn’t likely to shrink much in the wash, but you may want to consider pre-washing your fabric before you start sewing. A 10% shrink can do some serious damage to your plans for the length of finished item.
Here’s a tutorial that makes pre-washing a snap.
As you’re figuring out the elastic waist – happen to be sewing skirts? See this post for average skirt lengths for girls!