Mastering the perfect non-roll waistband

Contoured, yoga, wide... In activewear and loungewear, you will see many types of waistbands. Wide waistbands are very comfortable and stay put, but as you may have experienced in the past in ready to wear (or other pattern brands), some waistbands tend to roll down or won't stay in place.

Non-roll waistband

That happens when the waistband is too big at the top (is not snug enough against the body), but a hidden elastic can be the secret for a perfect waistband that won't budge. That is what we use in many of our patterns and we will explain to you in this post how to sew it, as the technique may differ from other elastic applications you have see in the past.

Assemble the waistband

Follow the pattern instructions to get your waistband and it's facing (usually the same pieces as the outer layer of the waistband) ready. 

For the Sylvie pants, you need to pin at side seams:

Assemble your waistband

Then, insert the facing into the outer layer of the waistband, right sides together and matching seams and notches:

Pin waistband pieces right sides together, matching notches and side seams

Stitch along the top edge:

Sew waistband pieces right sides together at the top

Mark center front, center back, and quarters (you will find them by bringing centers together).

Did you know that instructions for all patterns are available for download before purchase? At any time, you can click "View Instructions" under the "Details, Sizing and Instructions" section of any pattern page.

Prepare the elastic

Cut the elastic to the length indicated on the pattern. The width of the elastic may vary based on the pattern or size you are making. 

Overlap elastic ends and stitch to form a loop: 

Stitch elastic ends to form a loop

Mark half and then quarters with pins (bring half marks together to find the quarter)

Apply the elastic

With the waistband wrong side out, pin the elastic to the top seam allowance, along the seam, matching the quarter pins.

Pin the elastic to the outer side of the top seam allowance

The seam allowance is narrower than your elastic. It feels/look odd, but trust us on this one :) 

The 3/8'' elastic is wider than the seam allowance, it's normal :)

Stitch on the elastic using a zigzag stitch (medium-wide, fairly long), stretching the elastic between the pins. Make sure the elastic remains above the seam as you sew.

Stitch on the elastic with a zigzag


Bring the elastic towards the inner layer of your waistband and stitch, using a zigzag, going through all layers and stretching the elastic flat as you sew:

Understitch the elastic towards the facing

Bring wrong sides of waistband together and baste raw edges with a zigzag, matching notches and side seams:

Baste raw edges wrong sides together

The understitching is only visible on the inside of your waistband. Pin the outer side of the waistband to the right side of the waist opening, notches and seams together, and stitch:

Sew waistband to pants on the serger

You are ready to continue with assembly. For this tiny kids pair of Sylvie lounge pants, we used a blind hem foot attachment on our serger to finish the hem: 

Finished Sylvie lounge pants

More about it on the Janome life blog.

Try the technique on your favorite bottoms pattern

The waistband of each of the following sewing patterns has a concealed elastic that is sewn using the technique described in this blog post:

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