How to Make a Flat Front or Adjustable Waistband!

Hello everyone, thank you for stopping by to read the blog! We’ve all bought a pattern at some point, that we wish we could make some changes too. For me, it’s almost always pants/shorts patterns. My son is very petite, he is 6 years old, but in the world of handmade clothing, he’s a 4T in the waist but 5 in length. Now I could easily just manipulate the pattern so that it has the perfect fit, or I could make the pants grow with him! So for this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create an adjustable waistband, and because a few of my customers wanted to know how to make it have a flat front waistband, I will be doing that option too!

This tutorial is based on my newly released pattern “Dominic’s Board Shorts”, but the adjustable waistband can be applied to almost any pant/short pattern. For just a simple flat front waistband without the adjustable feature, the pattern would need to have a front and a back waistband pattern piece. With that being said, let’s get started!

There are just a few things you will need for this tutorial!

Flat Front waistband – 3/4″ elastic which ever kind you prefer. (your elastic should measure 1/2 your child’s waist measurement, minus 1″.)

Adjustable waistband – 3/4″ button hole elastic. ( Your elastic should measure 1/2 the waist measurement stated in your patterns tutorial for the size you are making, plus 1″)

A safety pin, for feeding your elastic into your waistband.

Two buttons 1/2″ to 3/4″.

Hand sewing needle and thread

And you will need to know how to make button holes, and how to sew on buttons!


If you are using this tutorial to make adjustments to Dominic’s Board Shorts, you will want to follow the patterns tutorial up until step 9! If using a different pattern, follow the patterns tutorial up until the attachment of the waistband. Use the seam allowance recommended in the tutorial unless stated otherwise.

Flat Front Non Adjustable waistband (Ignore the button and buttonhole in the photos as that is just for the adjustable waistband).

Step1: Press your waistband in half, length wise.

Once you are done pressing, you are going pin your waistband to your shorts. Normally I would tell you to place a pin 1″ from either side of your center back seam on the shorts. But in this case, you are going to do that on each side seam.

Step 2: Sew your waistband into place being sure you leave a 2″ gap at each side seam. DO NOT FINISH YOUR SEAM, as you can see in the photo of step 3, I forgot I was making this tutorial for the flat front waistband as well, and ended up having to seam rip the seam at the sides. So I repeat, I made a mistake, please do not finish your seam yet!

Step 3: Using a safety pin, start to feed your elastic into the back waistband.

Once you have a 1/2″ left hanging out of the side you started feeding the elastic into, tuck that up into the front part of the waistband, so that you have a 1/2″ of the elastic in the front waistband.Pin this in place.

Now continue to pull the rest of the elastic through the waistband, bunching your fabric up into the center of the waistband. Once you have reached the other side, you will do the same as you did for the starting side, pin the elastic 1/2″ over into the front waistband and pin.

Step 4: Stitch in the ditch of the side seams of your waistband. I suggest going over it twice to ensure your elastic is secured in place.

Step 5: Now sew the 2″ in gaps of the waistband to the shorts, then finish your seam!

Step 6: Press your seam allowance down and top stitch! And there you go, you’re done!!! You now have a flat front waistband! That was simple right?!

Adjustable Waistband:

Step1: Press your waistband in half, length wise.

Step 2: Now we need to sew our buttonholes in place. Set your buttonhole foot to 3/4″ On my machine I do this by placing the elastic into the sizer on the back of my buttonhole foot.

Set your machine to a buttonhole stitch, on my machine, I use stitch number 30.

Open your waistband back up you should not be sewing through both layers of the waistband, only the inside layer. Now that you have everything set up for you to do your buttonholes, we are going to put them on the inside of the back waistband about a 1/4″ front the side seam, and 1/2″ from the bottom. Do this to both sides of the back waistband.

Step 3: We are now going to sew our buttons on to the front waistband. I do this by hand, but if you have a button foot for your machine, you may use that. We will be placing the buttons on the inside of the front waistband, 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the side seam, and 1/5″ from the bottom of the waistband. Do this step on both sides.

Step 4: Very carefully use a seam ripper and open up your buttonholes.

Step 5: Pin and sew you waistband to your shorts using 1/4″ seam allowance. Because you will be running the elastic through the button holes, you do not need to leave any gaps for feeding the elastic through. Finish your seam.

Step 6: Place one of your buttons through the first button hole on the elastic. Now using a safety pin, feed the other end of the elastic through the button holes you have sewn onto the back waistband. Once you have reached the other side, pull your elastic out the other buttonhole, and attach your elastic to the other button!

Step 7: Press you seam allowance down and top stitch! You have now created and adjustable waistband!!!!


Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this blog post, I hope that you have found it helpful! Please feel free to comment and let me know what you thought of this post! I am new to blogging, so any suggestions you have would be very much appreciated!

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