Olsen dress sew-along - Part 6

Olsen dress sew along Part 6

Your dress is now looking pretty finished, except it completely lacks shape! You'll need to attach the elastic. It will be sewn directly on the seam allowance, which is the simplest way to do an elasticated waist.


First of all you will need to check your waist measurement. The waist on this pattern has been lowered 2 cm (3/4") so measure below your thinnest point. Use the elastic for measuring, fit it snugly but comfortably around you. Since elastic tends to stretch when sewn, subtract 4-5 cm (2") from what felt comfortable. Stitch the ends together with a zig zag stitch.

Sew ends of elastic together

Divide the elastic into 4 equal parts and mark with pins. Find center front and center back on the waist seam and mark with pins. Pin the elastic onto the waist seam allowance, matching these pins. This helps to make sure that the gathers will be spread equally.

Divide elastic into four equal parts

Stretching the elastic as you go, sew it onto the seam allowance. Don't pull the fabric too much, try to keep an eye on the stitch to make sure it stays constant.

Stretch elastic when sewing

Now it's time to have a fitting to make sure the elastic fits right and the hem length is as desired.

Finished elasticated waist


Finish the hem. I recommend popping over to our DIY hem gauge tutorial for easy hemming.

I hope you've enjoyed the sew-along! Please leave any feedback or questions below.



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Hi Katy,

Sounds like it’s just a case of the elastic you’re using not being as stretchy as the one I’ve used. You can add a casing for it instead. I’ve found some tutorials to help you out:


If you have any extra in the seam allowance you can just use that as the casing by stitching it to one side and inserting the elastic in it.

Hope this helps!


Hi, have tried my first version of this last night. I’ve followed the instructions to measure out the elastic. However, I’ve found the elastic won’t stretch enough to gather the skirt, even though I’ve picked a size that should be 3 inches smaller in the waist (to match my bust). There’s about 2 inches of the skirt that the elastic won’t stretch to. The fit of the dress including the waist are fitting well. The fabric I’m using is an old duvet cover, light, 100% cotton. Do you have any suggestions?

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