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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

How to Add a Drawstring to a Bottoms Pattern

One of my favorite features to add to any existing bottoms pattern is a drawstring!  You can do it on skirts, pants, shorts, pajama bottoms... just about anything.  There are several ways to do it but the technique that seems most professional and sturdy to me is to use buttonholes where the drawstring goes in and out. That's what I'm going to show you today! 

I'm using Taylor's pajama pants for this tutorial.  My teen son is getting super tall so he's into men's XL sizes but he's still pretty thin too. So first of all, I made the elastic a little smaller at the waist, but he also wants them to fit for a long time, so adding a drawstring is the perfect solution!  (I add a drawstring to almost all of our woven PJ's, to be honest.) 

So let's get started!  First of all, use your favorite pattern to cut the pieces and construct most of the bottoms, up to the point where you have an un-sewn elastic casing.  

In my photo above I have folded, ironed, and pinned the casing in place.  But do NOT sew yet. 

(This works for separate-waistband patterns as well.) 

On the wrong side of the pants, use a pin to mark where the bottom of the casing ends. See green pin in the photo above. 

Then flip the pants fabric over so you're looking at the right side.  Notice you can see the center metal part of the pin, just below where the casing will be.  That helps us know where the buttonholes should be. 

Use a fabric marking pen or pencil to mark two vertical buttonholes on the right side of the fabric, each 1/2" from the center seam and centered between the top of the pants and the marking pin.  Your buttonholes can be anywhere from 3/8" tall to 3/4" tall, depending on how big you want the drawstring hole and how wide your casing is.  I did a 1/2" hole on a 1" tall casing.  See red in photo above. 

Do not sew the buttonholes yet! 

You are going to add a bit of stabilizer inside the casing to make the buttonholes nice and sturdy. After all, you're going to be tugging on that waistband!  

Cut a piece of fusible interfacing that is 2" wide and a little less than the height of your casing.  I made mine a little less than 1" tall x 2" wide.  

On the wrong side of the fabric, remove the casing pins near your buttonhole markings and place the interfacing just above your marking pin, as shown above.  Make sure the interfacing is centered in the casing and centered on the seam. 

Notice that there is still some folded fabric above the interfacing.  The interfacing should be placed on the opposite side of the fabric where your buttonholes will be. 

Use an iron to adhere the interfacing to the wrong side of the casing. 

Flip the fabric to the right side and sew a vertical buttonhole on each of the lines you marked.  Again, the buttonhole can be whatever size you want as long as it is smaller than the casing width and larger than your drawstring. 

If you have not made many buttonholes before, you can click here for our buttonhole tutorial.  As long as you double check all your settings, it shouldn't give you any trouble! 

Again, notice that the buttonholes start down a ways from the edge of the fabric. You need room to re-fold your casing. 

After sewing the buttonholes, use a seam ripper to open them. (You need to open them now before going on!)

Fold the casing back down into place and pin as you did at the beginning. 

Sew the rest of the outfit as instructed in your pattern.  You will be sewing the casing in place but leaving an opening for elastic.  Insert your elastic and then sew the casing closed.  You don't need it open for the drawstring, because it goes in and out through the buttonholes! 

After sewing, use a safety pin to insert a drawstring into one buttonhole, around through the casing, and back out the other buttonhole.  You can use a pre-made drawstring, cording, ribbon, or even make your own by sewing thin bias tape.  

And that's it! Your drawstring and bottoms are now complete!  My son is super happy with his Zelda PJ's and the drawstring honestly added only about 5 minutes.  After you've done it a few times you'll be super speedy too! 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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