How to Use Buttonhole Elastic

Buttonhole elastic in children's jeans

Debbie Colgrove

Buttonhole elastic is elastic with buttonholes woven into the center of the elastic. These buttonholes run the length of the elastic.

Where to Use Buttonhole Elastic

The most common use for buttonhole elastic is the in the back of waistbands. It allows the back waistband to be pulled in, in an area that commonly gaps leaving things exposed that shouldn't be exposed. Buttonhole elastic also is perfect for the waistband in children's clothing and maternity clothing. The elastic allows for taking in and letting out of the waistband without having to replace the garment as children grow.

How to Use Buttonhole Elastic.

  1. Buttonhole elastic is used inside a waistband with the ends of the elastic coming out on the inside of the waistband.
  2. Measure the distance across the back of the person or garment from side seam to side seam at the waistband or waistband area.
  3. Prepare the elastic by cutting it an inch longer (or more depending on your need) than the desired amount.
  4. Roll the ends of the elastic to enclose the raw edge.
  5. Hand or machine sew the ends to secure the raw edge inside.

Adding buttonhole elastic to clothes you are sewing from scratch.

  1. If you are sewing the garment from scratch, be sure the waistband is wide enough to accept the waistband elastic being drawn through the waistband.
  2. Use your sewing machine to sew buttonholes in the inside of the waistband at the sides of the waistband, just above the side seams.
  3. Sew a button in front of the buttonhole on each side.
  4. Sew the waistband as you normally would.
  5. Use a safety pin or bodkin to "thread" the elastic through the waistband.
  6. Button the ends of the buttonhole elastic to the buttons.

Adding Buttonhole Elastic to a Ready-Made Garment Waistband

  1. Find the sides of the waistband just above the side seams. Carefully slit the inside layer of the waistband.
  2. Handsew a blanket stitch around the slit, using small stitches to stabilize the fabric.
  3. Handsew a button to the inside of the waistband in front of the buttonholes, sewing the button only to the inside layer of the waistband.
  4. Use a safety pin or bodkin to "thread" the elastic through the waistband.
  5. Button the buttonhole elastic to the buttons.

Buttonhole Elastic for Maternity Clothes

Buttonhole elastic is perfect for maternity clothes as it can be let out as the mom and baby grow. Use the same methods as described above but arrange the buttonhole elastic in the front of the garment so the button will be sewn behind the buttonhole.

Where to Buy Buttonhole Elastic

Buttonhole elastic can be found at fabric stores in the notions department.
Here are a couple of sites which carry buttonhole elastic: