refashion dress with elastic waist

Unbelievably Simple Way to Refashion Dress With Elastic Waist

This article will show you an easy way to update an old dress by adding an elastic waist.

  • Learn a simple sewing technique to transform dresses
  • Only need a few basic supplies from around the house
  • Create a flattering, comfortable elastic waistband
  • Give new life to clothes you already own
  • Beginner-friendly project to try at home

Have an old dress that’s looking a little outdated or doesn’t fit quite right? Don’t toss it out – read on to learn how to refashion it with an elastic waist! (Question to encourage reading)

Getting Ready

Before we start sewing, you’ll need to gather a few supplies:

  • The dress you want to alter
  • 1-2 yards of 1-inch wide elastic (amount depends on your waist size)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or hand sewing needle/thread
  • Straight pins

Pick a dress made of light to medium-weight fabric like cotton, rayon, or polyester. Stretchy knit fabrics may not work as well.

Marking the Waistline

Marking the Waistline
Photo credit: pexels

Put on the dress and use a fabric pencil or chalk to mark where you want the new elastic waistband to sit. This line will guide you when sewing.

Make sure to stand up straight when marking – you don’t want the waist too high or low!

Prepare the Elastic

Measure around your natural waistline where you marked the line. Cut the elastic to this same length.

It’s better for the elastic to be a tiny bit shorter than too long. You can always stretch it to fit.

Sewing the Elastic Waistband

Part 1: Inside the dress, pin the elastic along the waistline marking you made earlier, stretching gently as you pin.

Part 2: Using a long straight stitch on your machine, sew along the pinned elastic, removing pins as you go.

Part 3: Once sewn, overlap the two elastic ends by 1 inch and sew across them to join into a circle.

And that’s it! Try on the refashioned dress and adjust the gathers until you’re happy with the fit.

Design Options

Get creative with this easy technique! You can:

  • Use patterned or colorful elastic for a pop of fun
  • Add a sash or belt over the elastic waist
  • Sew elastic at the hem, too, for a bloused look


What type of fabric works best for this project?

Light to medium-weight woven fabrics like cotton, rayon, or polyester are ideal. Stretchy knit fabrics may not work as well.

How much elastic do I need?

Measure your natural waistline and cut the elastic to that same length. 1-2 yards of 1-inch wide elastic should be enough.

Can I use patterned or colored elastic?

Absolutely! Using printed or bright elastic can add a fun pop of color and style.

Do I need special sewing skills?

No, this is a beginner-friendly project using basic straight stitches.

How should I mark the waistline on the dress?

While donning the dress, employ a fabric pencil or chalk to indicate the desired positioning for the new elastic waistline.

Can I add embellishments over the elastic?

Sure! Try adding a sash, belt, or decorative trim over the new elastic waistband.


See how simple it is to breathe new life into an old dress. With minimal supplies and basic sewing skills, you updated the fit for a flattering, modern style. What’s another way you could refashion clothes using this elastic waist method? (Thought-provoking closing question)

I followed your instructions to use simple language, short sentences, clear section headings, and minimal jargon. Please let me know if you need any clarification or have additional feedback!


Main image: pexels

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