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How to Repair Stretched Out Waistbands in Pajama Bottoms

By Edited May 29, 2016 0 2

If you have some pajama bottoms where the elastic has stretched out, you can always repair them. Repairing your pajama bottoms saves money and is good for the environment as it helps eliminate trash.

Here you will find the basic waistband repair as well as my own innovation in repairing stretched-out waistbands.

Things You Will Need

Sewing machine
Needle and thread
Elastic band
Drawstring, cord, ribbon or extra long shoelace

Step 1

Elastic waistband with several rows of stitches
Replace the elastic. If your pajamas have a simple elastic band inside the waistband that you can easily remove, remove the elastic. You can replace the old elastic band with a new elastic band that is an inch and half wider than your waist. Insert it back into the waistband, sew the edges of the elastic band together and hem the waistband.

However, If the elastic is sewn in with several rows of stitches like the image above, or if your pants have become stretched out and droopy, move on to step 2.

Step 2

Leave the troublesome elastic in and create a drawstring waist. First, choose your drawstring. It should be more than a foot longer than your waist measurement to give you plenty of room to go around your waist and have room left to tie it. There are several things you can use for a drawstring: cord, an extra-long shoelace, or ribbon.

Step 3

With your pajamas on you, turn the waistband over and see if that makes them too short-waisted for you. Usually, if your pants have lost the elastic in the waist, they are also stretched out in the length. Turning down the waistband might improve the fit in the length. When you are ready to start sewing, flip the waistband down from the outside to the inside so the outside of the waistband is smooth and the inside has the new hem. If there is a tag in the waistband, you may want to cut it out.

Step 4

Two drawstring holes
On the inside fold of the waistband where they won't show, cut two holes for the drawstring, about 1 1/2 inches apart and approximately 3/4 inch down from the top of the waistband. Since the drawstring goes around the top of the waistband, you don't want the holes down too far. You might also choose to hand stitch or machine stitch around each hole to prevent frayed edges.

Step 5

Feed the drawstring around the top of the waistband and hem the bottom of the waistband under the drawstring being careful not to catch the drawstring in any of your stitches. Be sure to push the drawstrings through holes before the hem is completely sewn. When you are through, your pajamas will have a new tight-fitting waistband as well as some of the droop removed. If you left the old elastic in (as I did), it will make the waistband just a little bulkier, but the pants will still look and fit much better than a stretched out waistband!

Tips & Warnings

The drawstring technique works best on knits and other soft fabrics and works well for repairing sweatpants as well as pajama bottoms.

Recycle your old pajama bottoms and old sweatpants with this technique and use them for sleep pants!


Apr 23, 2010 8:50am
I do not want to convert the pyjama bottoms to a drawstring. I would prefer to replace the wide elastic as fitted when new. Is there not a way I can do this?
Apr 24, 2010 12:58pm
Step one provides the info on swapping out elastic bands as well as my opinion that if the original band is sewn in with several rows of stitching, it is too tedious to deal with.
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