Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Buttonhole Elastic Tutorial

As promised - Here is how I inserted an adjustable buttonhole elastic waistband into a pair of pants.

You will need:
Pants (or skirt - this works the same for both) that you are in the process of making.
3/4 inch buttonhole elastic. I got mine here. Get enough to go about 3/4 of the way around the waist of the pant.
A couple of buttons. Around 5/8 inch is about right. Make sure they are nice and flat since they will lie against the body. They don't have to match, though. No one is going to see them.

First, assemble your pants. When you get the waistband attached, you are ready to start.
For my pants, the waistband attaches from the back, but this works no matter how your waistband is attached (or would also work for a simple casing). The pictures may look funny to you if yours goes on front first.

Once your waistband is on, decide where you want to put in your buttonholes. Remember that they should end up INSIDE the pant, so be sure to put them on that side of the waistband or casing. Since my waistband is sewn to the inside, that is the half of the waistband closest to the pant, but if you are doing this with a waistband sewn to the right side first, or with a casing, your buttonholes should be on the half of the waistband that is furthest from your pants. Also, if you are not using interfacing in your waistband, do fuse a small square wherever you are putting in your buttonholes. You'll be glad you did!
I like my buttonhole about an inch from the side seam toward the front. I marked two dots 3/4 of an inch apart for the length of my buttonhole. I'm a control freak, so even though my machine makes great buttonholes, I did these manually. (Here's a great tutorial, if you don't know how.) I really didn't want them to show on the right side of the pants!
Buttonhole in place. I like to put a little Fray-Check over the lips of the buttonhole to reduce fraying. Let it dry before you cut the buttonhole open. Now finish putting on your waistband or casing per your pattern instructions.
All done! Here is where I like to put the button - maybe 1/4 of and inch away from the buttonhole toward the front of the pants.
When you sew it on, be careful not to catch the outer layer of the waistband. You don't want this stitching to show on the outside.
Once you've sewn on your buttons, measure the distance between them along the back of your pants. This is really hard to do while holding a camera! Add about a 1/2 inch for hemming and cut that length for your elastic.
To hem the elastic, just turn it under twice about 1/8 inch and sew. My feed dogs don't like this, so I coax it along with a pin stuck in the elastic behind the needle.
Now run the elastic through the casing from buttonhole to buttonhole.
Done! Now when those pants are sagging, you can tighten this baby up!


Susan said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I am not great with button holes in general, but like the idea of this. Will have to give it a try.

Pam said...

Thanks for the tutorial - a picture worth a thousand words, isn't it? I appreciate it from a beginning but motivated sewer!

Renee said...

excellent. Now do you have any tips for adding adjustable waist band to store bought pants that didn't come with them? My son has a big pile of pants that fit in length but not waist.