It’s disappointing to retrieve your sweatpants, warm and snuggly from the dryer, only to find the end of the drawstring has disappeared into the channel of the waistband, or it fell out … somewhere at the laundromat. Drawstring fixes are easy, and the tools are easy to come by.

Drawstring Lost in the Channel

If one end of the drawstring is reachable, pull the drawstring all the way out. After ensuring there’s a knot at one end to prevent it from disappearing again, restring it.

If both ends are lost in the channel, feel for the nearest end, and pull it out using a household remedy: Bend a small hook at the end of a piece of very straight wire. If you use coat hanger wire, be sure to straighten it well enough that it won’t get stuck in the drawstring channel. Or if the string’s end isn’t too far away, you may be able to snag it with a crochet hook. Pull it out. Then restring the pants.

Restringing Your Sweatpants

Use a large safety pin and use a pencil to tunnel the drawstring through the waistband.

Safety Pin Method

Pin one end of the drawstring with a safety pin — find the largest one that will easily slide through the channel. Push the safety pin, drawstring in tow, into the waistband channel.

Grasping the pin from the outside of the pants, and pinching some of the material with the other hand, move the material up the pin. Then pull the pin forward within the channel, and repeat this process until it’s made it through the other end.

Pencil Method

Securely tape about an inch of the threading end of the drawstring to a pencil. Push the pencil into the channel.

Working with your fingers on the outside of the waistband/drawstring channel, bunch the material onto the pencil, pushing toward the eraser end, and pulling the pencil further into the channel, as you would the safety pin.

Missing Drawstring

This fix is simple — and if you have a long enough shoelace on hand, it’s a quick fix too.


Depending on your waist size, you may have a shoestring in a high-top sneaker or hiking boot that can become your drawstring. If not, purchase an extra-long lace.

Repeat the process with the safety pin to work the new lace through the waistband. Remove the pin, and clip off the plastic ends of the shoestring. Then tie knots in each end, large enough that they cannot slip into the waistband again. Or sew a button on each of the ends, as recommended in, Handy Household Hints From Heloise.

How to Get Drawstring Back in Sweatpants

If the drawstring on your sweatpants is broken or has slipped out, you don’t have to spring for a new pair. This quick-fix requires only moderately deft hands and a few household items.


  • Call your local fabric store to find out if it sells a cord that can be used as a drawstring; alternatively, use an extra-long shoelace. Be sure it’s at least 12 inches (30 cm) longer than the sweatpants’ full waist size.
  • If the drawstring is broken, pull out both pieces.
  • Knot one end of the new drawstring–the end that will not be pulled through the waistband.
  • Attach a safety pin securely to the other end. The pin should be as large as possible but small enough to slide through the opening and the elasticized waistband.
  • Push and pull the safety pin through the waistband by repeating the motion of using one hand to scrunch up the fabric and the other hand to pull it taut.
  • When the safety pin to which the drawstring is still attached has gone all the way around the waistband and reappears, remove the pin and knot the drawstring so that it can’t slip out. The operation is complete.

Fix a sweatpants drawstring by making sure it’s undone and putting a large safety pin through the end of it to guide it through the hole. Fix sweatpants with tips from a fashion specialist in this YouTube video on style advice.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to get the drawstring back into your drawstring pants if it comes out. Now the first thing you’ll want to get, going to want to do is take your string that’s fallen out, and make sure that at least one end, the knot is undone, which chances are, if your drawstring’s fallen out of the pants, that’s the problem anyway.

So, the only supply you’re going to need for this is a safety pin. It’s usually good to use the biggest safety pin you can get, not one of those ridiculously huge ones. But one of the larger sizes, if you’re thinking like about two inches long, if you can get it.

So, what you’re going to want to do is take your pin and stick it through the end of the string. And the way you’re going to want to think of this project is sort of like this is your needle and thread, and you’re threading it through the drawstring.

Next, you’re going to go to your drawstring holes, and you’re going to enter the hole with the needle, with the needle, the safety pin, and you’re going to want to start pulling it through that hole.

It’s going to be a little difficult at first cause’ you’ll have the bunched-up end, but you’ll be able to get it through, and then you’re going to just slowly work it through the material. And the best way to do that is to bunch up.

That’s my safety pin there; bunch it up, and then pull through the end; bunch it up, pull through the end. And eventually, you’ll have strung it all the way back through, and when you get to that other end, and you pull it through, you’re going to want to tie another knot at the end of that string to pre prevent it from pulling through; just like you can see the knot on this end now. This has been how to re-thread the drawstring back in your drawstring pants when it’s fallen out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don’t try to repair a broken drawstring unless the break is very near the end of the string. It will be too weak when it’s reknotted or mended.

How to Tie a Continuous Loop Drawstring

A drawstring is a conventional way to tie gym shorts or sweatpants. It provides for easy movement, which is essential in exercise. There are two styles of a drawstring. In one style, a string has its ends unjoined. Tying a drawstring like this is simple — just tie a bow. The other kind of drawstring is a continuous loop, with no ends to use in tying a knot. To tie this kind of drawstring is more difficult, but the procedure is straightforward.


  • Hold the drawstring in your two hands. Spread your hands as far apart as you can while still holding the drawstring in each hand.
  • Bring your hands together, gathering the drawstring into two equal loops.
  • Drape one loop over the other loop. Allow the draping loop to go slack. Pull the end of the draping loop up from beneath, through the space between the two loops.
  • Gather the loops in your hands as if preparing to tie a bow. “Double” the two loops back on themselves.
  • Drape one doubled loop over the other doubled loop. Pull it back up through the space between the doubled loops. Pull it tight.
  • Pull on the ends of the double loops to untie the bow.

How to Loop a String Through Gym Shorts

During intense exercising or playing a physically demanding sport, your clothes can often suffer. For gym shorts, the drawstring is often the first to go, whether it gets caught by a finger and broken or simply frays from constant wear and friction. But the drawstring is a crucial part of the shorts, anchoring them in position. Replacing a drawstring can be tricky, but fortunately, there is a simple method to repair it in just minutes.


  • Pass one end of the drawstring through the safety pin and tie it with a simple knot. Do not open the safety pin now or at any time during this process.
  • Push the safety pin into the hole where the drawstring emerged from the gym shorts.
  • Bunch the fabric up around the safety pin, while anchoring the rear end of the pin (where the string is attached) at the opening of the shorts, and compressing the fabric that forms the “tunnel” over the pin.
  • Grasp the front end of the pin through the fabric and straighten the bunched fabric, pulling it down over the knot and the first few inches of the drawstring.
  • Repeat the process as many times as necessary, bunching fabric up over the pin, then pulling it along until the pin has looped entirely around the waistline of the shorts.
  • Untie the safety pin once you have removed it from the other drawstring hole. Even out the string by pulling the shorter end until the two are even.

How to Insert a Drawstring

Losing a drawstring can ruin your favorite pair of sweatpants. Inserting a new drawstring, or re-inserting one, is a quick and easy fix that requires just a little skill and patience.


  • Pull-on the free end of the drawstring until the entire drawstring is out of the casing. If you are making a new drawstring, measure the appropriate length of string to ensure that it will fit all the way through the casing (not just around your waist) with about 6 inches leftover on each side.
  • Knot one end of the drawstring securely, past any frayed edges. Ideally, that knot will not be small enough to pass through the casing to prevent it from becoming lost inside.
  • Pin a very large safety pin into the other end of the drawstring. Pick a spot that is not frayed, but that is before any existing knot in the drawstring.
  • Insert the safety pin through the hole at one end of the casing. Push the safety pin in as far as your can. Grasp the safety pin and move it forward through the casing, bunching as much of the casing fabric as possible. Hold onto the safety pin in the new position and straighten out the bunched up fabric. The safety pin should now be about 3 to 4 inches further in to the casing than at the start.
  • Continue pushing the safety pin forward and bunching the fabric until the safety pin can be pulled out the other end of the casing.
  • Stretch the drawstring out of the casing until both free ends are of about equal lengths. Remove the safety pin from the inserted end and make a knot in the drawstring that is too large to pass through the casing hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the material inside the casing blocks the safety pin from being pushed through, try moving the safety pin to the top or bottom of the casing allowance and wriggle it through.
  • For added security, knot both ends of the drawstring together, with slack to allow you to pull on your sweatpants so that the drawstring cannot be lost inside the casing again.
  • If your drawstring is lost in your sweatpants and you feel like going fishing, use a crochet hook or a wire hanger to snag the lost end and pull it back out.

How Do I Tie a Drawstring?

Tying a drawstring may seem like a simple task, but it becomes harder when you don’t have two ends to tie. Manufacturers sometimes make drawstrings with a loop on the end instead of two loose ends. This way, the drawstring won’t accidentally get pulled out of the casing in the wash. The loop can be cut into two ends, but then the ends of the drawstring can fray and become lost in the casing. If you tie a regular knot, it can become too tight and is difficult to untie. The best solution is a slip knot, which is easy to tie and untie.


  • Tighten the drawstring to your comfort level.
  • Wrap the drawstring close to the garment clockwise over the first two fingers of your left hand. Cross it over the section of drawstring coming from the garment and pull it toward your left palm. Make a circle around your fingers.
  • Pull a section of the drawstring through the center of the circle forming a loop. Do not pull the drawstring all the way through the circle. Remove your fingers from the circle.
  • Insert your right index finger into the loop you created. Hold the circle with your left index finger and thumb. Slowly pull the loop while holding the circle against the garment, tightening the knot. Do not pull the end of the drawstring through the knot. If you run out of drawstring before the knot is tightened, hold the knot with your right index finger and thumb. Gently pull the end of the drawstring with your left hand.
  • Hold the knot in place with your fingers, even out the loops on each side of the knot.

Tips & Warnings

  • To release the knot, pull the single loop that is the end of the drawstring until the knot comes undone.
  • These directions are for a right-handed person. If left-handed, reverse the “right” and “left” directions.
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