DIY Alterations Tutorial: Taking in an exposed elastic waist skirt

stripe and pleat2 copy

NY & Co skirt (altered, see below), H&M; top (old), necklace borrowed from friend (similar),
Old Navy hat, AT tote (old), Jenn heels c/o Sole Society, BR sunglasses c/o

I’ve been reaching for this skirt all summer (first reviewed here) because you just can’t beat the comfort of an elastic waistband. It’s now on final sale for under $15, but please read all reviews as it’s more of a crinkle texture than soft, pliable pleats. This top is an oldie from H&M;, but it leads me to mention that this popular crossover drape blouse has been fully restocked in 2 colors! (see my review at the bottom of this post)

stripe and pleat copy

For this skirt, I also wanted to share a belated step-by-step of how I took in the waist and sides to get a perfect fit. As always, I want to emphasize that I’m not an experienced sewer, so this is not necessarily the proper way to do it. I almost always pay for a professional job, but this looked too easy not to attempt! The elastic waistband here is completely exposed, so please note it would be more complicated for a concealed waistband.

Step 1: Try on skirt and hold the waist up to where you’d like it to sit. Mark (with fabric chalk) the amount that needs to be taken in on the waistband. Keep in mind that elastic is stretchy so you need it to be pulled fairly taught to stay put. I made the mistake of not taking in enough the first time around and the waistband kept slipping downward. I’m demonstrating this step with the pink version (subsequently returned) since I forgot to snap a pic with the white : )

skirt alterations

Step 2: Using tiny sharp scissors, remove the stitching that attaches the lining to the waistband. Be careful to cause as little fraying as possible. Remove stitching about half an inch past the marked line from Step 1. With the skirt lying flat on the ground inside-out, lift the lining up and flip it over the top so that the interior of the skirt fabric is exposed.

skirt alterations 1

Step 3: Mark a straight line to stitch on using pins or fabric chalk. I wanted to take in equal amounts at the waistband and throughout the skirt, so kept the distance between the stitched line and the edge of the skirt consistent throughout. Stitch along this line and then trim off excess, leaving a centimeter of seam allowance. If you’re only taking in a little bit, it may not be necessary to trim at all, especially if you don’t have a serger to re-finish the raw seams.

skirt alterations 2

Steps 4 – 5: Repeat the stitching and trimming with the lining fabric. If you have a serger, lock the freshly cut edges now so they don’t fray. I don’t have one so use a zig zag stitch on my regular machine, running it along the raw edges.

Step 6: Flip the lining back down so that the elastic waistband is exposed. Press the seam allowance edge of the elastic waistband down to one side and stitch a line to secure it down.

skirt alterations 3

Step 7: See the small pocket of lining fabric right above the dotted blue line in Step 6? Tuck any frayed edges inside, then fold and secure that patch down with a stitch parallel to the waistband. Try to conceal this stitch by sewing exactly on top of any pre-existing stitch lines. Remember to backstitch each time you start or end a new stitch so the thread doesn’t come undone.

skirt alterations 4

Photos 8 – 9 are just closeups of the finished product. This is how my waistband looks from the interior (pic 8) and exterior (pic 9) once alterations are complete. The exposed elastic waistband is not top quality nor the most refined look, but it does allow for easy alterations!

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When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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