How to add drawstrings to pants without sewing

How To Add Drawstrings To Pants Without Sewing | Pro Guide

If you’re facing an uncomfortable situation with your favorite pair of pants due to their proper fit to your waistline, it’s an odd matter. Perhaps, the pant you bought used to fit perfectly, but now they’re too loose on you because you’ve shed some pounds. It’s frustrating, right? But don’t worry, we’ve got a simple solution for you: adding a drawstring to your pants. It’s an easy trick that will help you to tighten them up and prevent any embarrassing falls. Since it requires a sewing machine and the skillset to perfectly done the task, you’d be looking for some effective alternative that brings the same result without the help of any machine.

How to add drawstring to pants without sewing? It’s actually not that complicated. A drawstring is basically a piece of fabric that you’ll attach to the waistline of your pants. It acts like a little belt that you can adjust to get the perfect fit. Sounds pretty handy, right? You can use ribbons or a cord as your drawstring. Just make a couple of holes near the waistband to create the openings for the drawstring. Thread it through, that’s it. Even though there are much more considerations throughout this process. With the aid of a few easily available tools and a detailed guideline explained in steps that shows how to do it from start to finish you’ll be able to end up with your desired result.

Key Takeaways

  • Different steps of adding drawstrings to different kinds of pants.
  • Getting drawstrings from different local stores and making your own drawstrings at home.
  • The ways of making different kinds of drawstrings.

Why Add Drawstring to Pant?

Why add drawstring to pant
Why add drawstring to pant

Adding a drawstring to pants is an essential part. Oftentimes, you buy a pant of your choice from your favorite outlet, but after a few days of use, you might lose some weight that will cause you to not wear your old pants anymore or this may tempt you to buy a new pair of pants. When you are in a situation like this, you can resolve this problem easily by adding a drawstring to your pants.

Although, adding a drawstring is not an easy task. It requires some skills. Without proper knowledge and skills, you may damage your pants. In this article, we will go through some methods of how to add a drawstring to a pant with different waistbands, such as, with elastic waistband, without elastic waistband, etc. It will only require some basic sewing skills.

Drawstrings can be easily found at a local craft store. You can buy a 1-foot longer length than your waistband. To prevent fraying, seal off both ends using clear nail polish or gaslight, you can also use small knots at the end. You can use small thread cords as drawstrings, too.

How to Add Drawstring to Pant With Elastic Waist Band?

How to add drawstring to pant with elastic waist band
How to add drawstring to pant with elastic waist band

Your pant with elastic waistbands might be loose on you. So you will need to add a drawstring to keep it in place. We will discuss below a few steps to add a drawstring to the elastic waistband.

Tools and materials you can use

  • Elastic waistband
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Drawstrings (you can use shoelaces)
  • Safety pin

You can follow various steps to add drawstrings to the elastic waistband

  1. Determine the middle section of your pant.
  2. Go 1 inch above the starting point of your inseam, make 2 holes 1 inch apart.
  3. Be careful when making the hole. Do not cut the inside part of the pant.
  4. Measure the length of the holes, if they are of equal size, and evenly cut.
  5. Sew the cut properly with looping stitches as you would do for your buttonholes, make sure to sew the top part and bottom part of the cut.
  6. Measure the length of your waist, bring a drawstring that is at least 5-6 inches longer than your waistband, or else, you will keep losing the ends of the drawstrings.
  7. Find drawstrings that have hard edges at both ends, if it does not have, you have to use a safety pin to pull it through the pants.
  8. Pull the hard edges or safety pin all the way through the cut. Fix your pant to see the length of the drawstrings.
  9. This is how to add drawstrings to your pants. You can tighten them when needed.

How to Add Drawstring to Pant Without Elastic Waist Band?

How to add drawstring to pant without elastic waist band
How to add drawstring to pant without elastic waist band

It is very common to see drawstrings on scrub pants and pajama pants. To add drawstring to these pants follow the following steps.

Tools and materials you will need:

  • Scrub pant
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Chalk/fabric pen
  • Drawstring (ribbons, shoelaces) 
  • Safety pin

15 Steps to add a drawstring to the scrub pant and pajama pant:

  1. Find a pair of pants that do not have an elastic waistband.
  2. Take out the sew from the waistline of your pant.
  3. Measure from the top of the waistline using measuring tape so that it could make a fold of 2 inches long.
  4. Mark around the waistline evenly using chalk or fabric pen.
  5. Sew the waistline back together.
  6. Find the middle part of the pant, and make two slits 1 inch apart above the start of the inseam.
  7. Do not cut the inside part of the pant.
  8. Make the vertical slits of equal size and evenly cut.
  9. Sew the slits properly with looping stitches, and sew both the front and bottom parts.
  10. Measure the length of your waist, and find a drawstring that is 5-6 inches longer than your waistband, or else, you will keep losing your drawstrings.
  11. Find a drawstring that has hard edges, you can use shoelaces, it will minimize the chance of losing the ends. If you do not have shoelaces, you can use, ribbons as a drawstring.
  12. While using ribbons as drawstrings, use a gaslight to close both ends of the ribbons so that it does not get frayed.
  13. If your drawstrings do not have hard edges to pull through the pant, you can use a safety pin.
  14. Fix your pant to see your drawstrings is properly added to your pant.
  15. You can tighten your pant if needed.

How to Make Drawstrings?

How to make drawstrings
How to make drawstrings

To make a drawstring, you will need a cord that can be straight or braided, satin ribbon, or cotton fabric. You will also need a casing of such fabric where it will be easier for you to tie it easily and an opening where the drawstring will go. There are two kinds of drawstrings, such as flat drawstrings and fabric cord drawstrings.

The details are given below:


Casing is where the cord thread goes, it is a two-layered opening for the cord. A casing is also made without a cord.


Opening is where the casing or the drawstring goes. To make an opening, we can use buttonholes with stitching, grommets, and eyelets. The opening should be larger than the drawstrings, so that, they can easily be pulled through.

Flat drawstring

A flat drawstring is usually made of fabric. You can make your own drawstring following the steps that are given below. 

Tools and materials needed:

  • Fabric
  • Ruler
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Ironing machine
  1. Take a fabric of your choice. The length should be according to your waistline, take it longer than the waistband.
  2. It should have a width of at least 1”. Make a two-sided fold from the width of equal size. You can use a ruler to fold it.
  3. You have a center part with folded sides. Fold them again through the middle part and iron them.
  4. Sew all the ends of the fabric.

Fabric cord drawstring

This kind of drawstring is also made of fabric with an insertion of a wooden skewer or cord. To sew this drawstring you can follow the steps below.

Tools and materials you will need:

  • Fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Ironing machine
  • Wooden skewer/ cord
  1. Take a fabric of the length you want that should have a width of 1”. Fold it in half facing to the right side.
  2. Sew the fabric on the right side. The sewline should be closer to the folded edge from the center.
  3. Sew one end of the fabric and cut off the excess fabric.
  4. Insert a wooden skewer and start sliding it through the fabric.
  5. Once the skewer is inserted, tie knots at both ends.

Using Vertical Slits or Grommets for an Opening

Using vertical slits or grommets for an opening
Using vertical slits or grommets for an opening

An opening is a crucial part of a drawstring. An opening can be made in several ways. You can follow two methods which are given below.

Tools and materials you will need:

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Chalk/Fabric pen
  • Grommets 
  • Pliers
  • Hammer

Method 1: Vertical slits

To make an opening, you can use vertical slits which will sit at the top of the inseam. You need even slits which should be larger than the drawstrings for an easy pass. Mark your slits by using chalk or a fabric pen. Vertical slits should be sewn at the top part and also at the bottom part by looping stitches.

Method 2: Grommets

Grommets can be used to make an opening for that you need a plier that is designed for grommets. Mark where your grommets are by using chalk or a fabric pen. Make a hole evenly by placing two grommets 1” apart, you have to use your plier for this. Take the back part of the grommets and pushed it through the hole from the back part to the front part. Take the front part and use a hammer to secure the front part to the bottom part.

Once all that is done, it is now time to pull the drawstring around the pants! Use a bodkin or a safety pin to pull the drawstring from one opening to the other opening. If your drawstring does not have hard edges, you can also pull it through by tying it to the tip of your pen.

If it has hard edges, you can slide it through one opening to the other opening easily which will cinch up your pant, so you might need to even out the cinch up lines while you slide.


What can I use for drawstring in pants?

You can use a cord, ribbon, wooden skewer, shoelaces, etc. as drawstrings. For the personal touch, you can use different colors and contrasts. Ribbons give more of a feminine look, while cords are needed for heavier projects.

What is the purpose of a drawstring?

The purpose of a drawstring is to draw fabric ends that can be tied to hold the drawstring in place and close the opening.

What fabric is used to make drawstrings?

Cotton is used to make drawstrings widely. You can also use a cord, ribbon, leather fabric, etc. to make drawstrings.

How do you finish a drawstring?

A drawstring can be finished in several ways; one popular way is knotting the ends together which will cinch up your pant while closing the opening. You can make knots at both ends. You can use beads at the ends or you can use aglet- which is also known as metal encasing. It often has hard plastic at the end to prevent fraying.

What is the thing called that tightens the drawstrings?

A cord fastener or plastic stopper is attached to the drawstrings and it is used to tighten the pant without using any knots.

Final Thoughts

As we have discussed, drawstrings are often essential for our favorite pair of pants. In a situation where you are wearing a pant that is loose on you, they will keep falling from the waist and this can cause embarrassment in front of other people. Another factor is that, wearing loose pants can be a cause of many accidents, such as falling. So, whenever possible, you should take precautions from such embarrassment, and adding a drawstring will definitely save you.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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