fix waistband gap with elastic
clothing and jewelry

Closing Waistband Gap on Jeans with Elastic

Much as we hate to admit it, grandmas are usually right about a lot of different topics.

Polyester pants with an elastic waistband? They might not be attractive, but they didn’t wrinkle. I’m willing to bet they were comfortable too and you didn’t ever see Grandma adjusting her pants because the waistband wasn’t fitting correctly, did you?

No, you didn’t.

If you saw Grandma’s drawers it was because she was drying them outside on the line and not because she bent over and flashed everyone in aisle 12 of Target.

Her kids probably never whisper-yelled loud enough for the entire store to hear, “MOM! I can see your UNDERWEARS!”

Her kids probably could actually whisper and knew there is no ‘s’ on the end of underwear. I blame Common Core.

That brings me to my second rant. You didn’t think I’d stop at one, did you?

We can land a rover on Mars, but we can’t make jeans that fit a woman’s body?

Where are our priorities, people?!?!

I don’t think my body type should be particularly difficult to fit. I’m 5’9″ and wear a size 8, but I routinely find pants that fit great(ish) everywhere but in the waist.

I’ll end up with that weird gap in the back of the waistband. It doesn’t bode well and I’ve learned to walk away from those jeans.

However, here’s a plot twist. Now that jeans are made with a stretchy material you can’t always tell how much they will stretch out before you purchase them. If a pair of jeans looks and feels good when viewed from those terrifying 3-way, funhouse mirrors under the glare of a dressing room’s harsh fluorescent lighting, you’ve hit the jackpot. You’re going to sashay out of that dressing room and take the gamble that those jeans won’t stretch out after 30 minutes causing you to have another ‘underwears in aisle 12’ situation.


Life is hard enough without having to put this much effort into finding and wearing pants.

Am I right?

Yes, I’m right.

That’s why I’m not wearing any wearing yoga pants right now.

Sure, I could put on a belt to hold my pants up, but that goes back to my point that designing jeans that fit should not be as hard as going to outer space.

Now that I’ve got those rants off my chest, let me tell you how I solved this dilemma with a little inspiration from grandma.

I have a pair of jeans that I love straight out of the dryer, but after 30 minutes they’ve stretched out and start sagging. It’s not a look I can pull off. These jeans were destined for the donate pile, but in an effort to avoid my extreme dislike of jeans shopping (can you blame me?) I decided to try a tutorial from It’s Always Autumn to fix my pants.

If you’ve read this blog for more than a hot minute you will know that I go to extreme lengths to avoid improving my patience sewing. Fabric glue is my friend. I don’t own a sewing machine anymore.

The tutorial had to be doable for someone with my quirks limited sewing abilities and whose tools would be limited to a needle and thread.

Try not to point out the irony that I’m adverse to fighting with a machine to make sewing faster, but I’m okay with hand stitching.

I also had and, I’m not sure why, a strip of elastic. There are mysteries in this universe and there’s not time to investigate all of them because we’re busy going to Mars.

If you don’t have any elastic on hand, double check your donate pile. There’s probably something you are giving away that has an elastic waistband – especially if you have kids.

The awesome tutorial from It’s Always Autumn uses a sewing machine, but I wanted to show you (via the above collage) that it is possible to do the tutorial without a sewing machine. It took me about 30 minutes to fix a pair of jeans that had been bugging me for a lot longer than that.

I fixed the jeans at the beginning of December and it is now the middle of January and the fix is still holding strong. You know I’m ridiculously pleased about that, right?

I’m not going to take a picture of my backside and post it on the Internet because I don’t know if Grandma can see this from heaven, but I don’t want to take the chance.

The waistband doesn’t stay as bunched up as the above picture indicates when the jeans are on. If I tucked my shirt completely in and you were really up close and personal with me, then you could probably tell that I had done something to my waistband. However, I’m a big believer in personal space and I don’t tuck my shirts in like that, so I have not had any awkward or inappropriate encounters related to this subject.

There’s plenty of other awkwardness in my life.

Now, if you need me, I’ll be happily avoiding jeans shopping for the foreseeable future.

Products Used in This Not Quite Herculean Endeavor

Gumption – not currently available on Amazon, but check back later

Sewing Needle, Blue Thread*, Seam Ripper

3/4-Inch Elastic (just use a size that is smaller in width than your waistband)

If you don’t have sewing needles or a seam ripper, I’m going to suggest you spend 12 bucks and get yourself this starter sewing kit on Amazon. Also, this would be a good gift for someone heading off to college. Even though they probably won’t appreciate it right away.

*I only used blue thread because that’s what I had in my sewing kit, but if you want to be super professional you can also use a light brown to mimic the color of the jeans’ stitching.

Now that you’ve nailed this project or at least thought about it, here are some other needle and thread projects you might enjoy. As much as one can enjoy these things…

Embellish Skinny Jeans with Embroidery Thread

Fresh Take on a Rattan Swivel Chair

Add a Hidden Pocket in a Fleece Scarf Using a Makeup Bag

Repurpose Denim Belt Loops to Hang Towels


**Affiliate links used in this post. Using my links to make purchases doesn’t cost you anything extra. It does give me credit though and helps keep the lights on. Thank you. Truly.

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  • Sandy Smith

    I totally understand your feelings about jeans. My problem is I am short waisted . Getting jeans that are comfortable in the crotch is a problem for me. I’m about to go back to the pull on polyester ones like your grandma. After all I am a grandmother and getting up towards the 80 mark. Guess I can wear what is comfortable if I want.

    I will say you did a fantastic job on making your jeans fit.

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