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How To Make A Trendy Elastic Waistband Dress

By: Megan Nielsen for

You can learn how to make a trendy elastic waistband dress with these instructions on how to sew a dress from Megan Nielsen. You'll be fashion-forward in no time with this free easy sewing pattern.

How To Make An Elastic Waistband Dress


  • Tank top that you’re happy to cut up
  • 1 yard of waistband elastic (I personally like to use the ruffled edge elastic because it’s wide)
  • 1 yard of 60-inch wide fabric (it doesn’t matter if it has stretch or not)



  • All seam allowances are 5/8 inch unless otherwise stated.


  1. Get your materials ready:

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  2. Try on your tank top and mark it at the natural waist. Cut along this line. (I used a crop top so mine was already the right length) and then serge the edge to neaten it.
  3. Figure out the length you want your skirt. Add on 5/8 inch for the waistband seam allowance, and add on hem allowance too. My skirt was 20 inches long with a 3-inch-wide hem. So my total length was 20 inches + 5/8 inch (waistband seam allowance) + 3 inch (hem) + 5/8 inch (to fold under when finishing the hem) = 24 ¼ inches. Once you’ve done this cut your fabric, and neaten up the raw edge (I like to use a serger for this).

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  4. Now we need to cut your waistband elastic. You want it to be about the same as the edge of your tank top. I find the easiest way is to fold the elastic in half and lay it over the raw edge of the tank top, then cut 5/8 inch from the side edge for seam allowance.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  5. Now it’s time to attach your skirt to the waistband. I’m using ruffle edged elastic, so I’m playing the ruffle edge against the right side of my skirt fabric and sewing 5/8 inch from the edge, stretching the elastic as I go, so that the ruffle is flat against the fabric as I sew.

    Elastic Waistband Dress

    Elastic Waistband Dress

    It should look like this when it’s turned the right way round. The nice thing about doing it this way is that you get perfect gathers, and a little poof!

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  6. It may end up that your skirt fabric is too wide and you have excess on the edge beyond the elastic. If this is the case trim off the excess and then serge/neaten the side seams of your skirt.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  7. Now fold your skirt in half with right sides together, so that the side seams are matched up, and sew.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  8. Open the seam and press flat.

    Elastic Waistband Dress

    I find that the elastic doesn’t lay completely flat, so it may be necessary to top stitch over the elastic section.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  9. Now hem the skirt. I like to turn under 5/8 inch then press.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
    Then, turn under 3 inches and press again before sewing, so that the hem is really neat.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  10. Your skirt should look like this now.

    Elastic Waistband Dress
  11. Now place your tank top inside your skirt, so that 5/8 inch is on the inside.

     Elastic Waistband Dress
  12. Attach the elastic to the tank top by topstitching with a wide zig zag stitch. Don’t worry if it turns out that your elastic and tank top aren’t exactly matched up now. Just stretch whichever is shorter a little to make them match up so that they’re flat as you sew.

    Elastic Waistband Dress

    And there you have it! How easy was that?

    Elastic Waistband Dress


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Great tutorial! Thanks so much. I was looking for a quick, easy explanation of how to sew on this type of elastic waistband (with no casing) with no avail until I stumbled up on your post. I appreciate the explanation with pictures.

Where did you buy the elastic you used?


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