Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: Maxi Dress Week Day 3: Elastic


Maxi Dress Week Day 3: Elastic

There are multiple ways of adding elastic to draw fabric in. One is shirring, which I've never tried, but there is a great shirring tutorial at Make It and Love It. You could also put a section of ribbing in between your bodice and skirt. That would probably be the easiest, but it might be hard to find ribbing that matches your fabric.
Today I'll teach you to make a casing or to sew elastic right onto the fabric. And when I say waist, this could be a drop-waist, natural waist, or empire waist seam (great for maternity!).

Making a Casing With Elastic
1. To make a casing in the middle of a garment, you'll need extra seam allowance at that seam. When I sewed my bodice to my skirt, I sewed my seam at 3/4".
2. Then I attached my guide at 5/8" because I couldn't see the guidelines on the arm. I sewed the seam allowance up towards the bodice at 5/8". Sew with a slight zigzag or stretch your fabric as you sew .
3. When you sew all the way around and get back to where to started, leave a 1.5" opening.
4. Measure how you want the elastic to fit on your waist and  add 1/2" seam allowance. Put a safety pin on one end and thread the elastic through the casing. Make sure you don't lose the other end of the elastic in the casing!
5. Overlap the the ends of the elastic 1/4" and sew with a zigzag.
6. Let the elastic go all the way into the casing. Sew the 1.5" gap the same way you did in step 2. (You can see I didn't catch all of my seam allowance, but I caught some so it still made a casing.
This is what it'll look like from the outside when it's done.
This one looks good on the inside.

Making a Casing With A Drawstring
Do the same as making a casing with elastic but don't leave an opening. Then cut two small slits only in the front  of the casing, but not through all layers. Thread your tie through the holes.

Sew Elastic Onto Fabric
This can be done anywhere, on a seam or not.
1. Sew your bodice to your skirt with a regular seam allowance. I think mine was about 1/2".
 2. Measure out your elastic and add 1/2" seam allowance. Overlap your elastic 1/4" and sew with a zigzag.
3. Divide your elastic into four sections and mark with pins.
4. Divide your waist seam into four sections and mark with pins.
5. Match up the four pins on your elastic to the four pins on your waist seam on the inside of your dress. Pin. Make sure the seam allowance is all up or all down. Here mine is up and my elastic is pinned on top. Stretch and pin in between the four pins.
6. From the top your going to sew with a zigzag attaching the elastic to the dress. Stretch the elastic to fit the dress as you sew!

Top view
Bottom view

I couldn't take a picture but I like to sew with my left hand in back and my right hand in front stretching the elastic. That's how I feel I get the most control.
This is what it'll look like from the outside when it's done. It looks wiggly right now, but it stretches out when I put it on.
The inside is a little bit messy, but nobody will see that. You can see I didn't always zigzag down the center of the elastic, but I tried.


  1. I save this post in my favorites and pull it up every time I make a jumpsuit. Thanks for the great pics!


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