Today, I’m going to show you how to install the elastic waistband on Myrtle. Watch the video and follow along with the photo tutorial and you’ll get it.
Here’s the short version:
The method we’re using here creates a little flap at the waistline, which you can fold over a circle of elastic to create a casing.
There is one thing to keep in mind.
The method shown in the video is designed for knit fabrics, because they stretch and are much easier to ease into place.
If you’re sewing with a woven, I’ll talk about a simple variation that’s a little easier with non-stretchy fabric. It results in a slightly shorter bodice, so if you are long waisted or tall, you may wish to add some length to your bodice when making Myrtle in a woven fabric.
Start by assembling the bodice and the skirt as instructed in the pattern. You should have the bodice and skirt completed before you start the rest of this tutorial.
Attach Skirt to Bodice
1) Sew skirt to bodice. With right sides together, align the skirt with the bodice at the waist, matching the fronts and backs at the waistline and aligning the side seams and notches. Pin, then stitch the bodice to the skirt.
2) Sew a second waistline seam. With right sides together, stitch the bodice to the skirt again, stitching 1 3/8″ from the first seam.
If you are using a knit fabric, use a narrow zigzag stitch for this (with a width of 0.5mm).
If you are using a woven fabric, use a straight stitch.
You can use masking tape to mark your sewing machine at the correct distance for an even seam allowance.
Create elastic band
3) Measure out your elastic. Measure a length of elastic to fit around your waist, unstretched. Add an extra 3/8″ to each end for seam allowance.
4) Shorten the elastic. Trim 2-3 inches from the length of elastic. This should create some negative ease. Wrap the elastic around your waist to check for fit, and trim more if you’d like it to be tighter.
5) Create a circle. Join the elastic in a circle by overlapping 3/8″ on each side and zigzagging each end into place.
Encase the elastic
6) Pin elastic in place. For a knit dress, align the edge of the elastic right below the second line you stitched on the skirt. You will have to stretch the elastic a little in order to fit the waist. Pin the elastic in place. You should have a flap of fabric above the elastic.
For a woven dress, do the same, but pin the elastic ABOVE the line of stitching instead of below. In this case, the flap of fabric will be BELOW the elastic.
7) Fold the flap over. Take the 1 3/8″ flap and fold it over the elastic to cover. Pin the flap to the dress, removing pins from the elastic as you go.
So, for a knit fabric, you’ll be folding the flap down and pinning it to the skirt.
For a woven fabric, you’ll be folding the flap up and pinning it to the bodice.
The reason for this is that the flare in the skirt makes sewing the flap down a little tricky with non-stretchy fabric.
8) Stitch flap. Stitch the edge of the flap to the dress, stretching the elastic as you sew. Stitch just through the flap and the outer dress, don’t catch the elastic in your stitching.
For knit fabrics, you will again use a narrow (0.5mm width) zigzag to do this.
For woven fabrics, use a straight stitch.
This step can be a bit fiddly, because you are stretching everything to fit as you sew. Take it slowly, check for puckers, and don’t be afraid to rip some stitches and redo if you need to.
9) Adjust gathers. Turn the dress right side out and adjust the gathers to be even.
10) Stitch in the ditch. To secure the elastic, stitch in the ditch at each side seam. This will keep the elastic from twisting or sliding, and help maintain the evenness of your gathers over time.
Let me know if you have any questions!