Asha at Parent Hacks posed a good question today about how to tighten pants without sewing. This is a common problem for me because HB is so skinny. I've taken to buying only those adjustable waist pants for her. But occasionally, you get a pair of hand-me-down pants without the adjustable waist that you would really like to make use of.
My solution - add a drawstring.
Caveat: This will only work in a waistband that has a free casing all the way around the waist. If the waistband is fused down to the fabric, or there are seams that run across the waistband, this will not work. To see if the waistband is fused, you can roll the waistband between your fingers. If the layers of fabric separate and slide across each other, the waistband is not fused.
You will need a string or cord suitable for making a drawstring. Look at your local fabric store. Buy a length about 1 foot longer than the waistband of the pants. Seal off the ends of the drawstring to prevent fraying (clear nail polish works great), or tie small knots in the end (but wait until after you have strung the drawstring through!).
Cut two small holes (no bigger than a pea) in the front of the waist band for inserting the string. You should only cut through the top layer of fabric (not all the way through). If your pants have a fly, then make the holes on either side of the fly. If there is no fly, then make the holes about 1" apart at the front center of the waist band.
To thread the drawstring through, attach a medium-sized safety pin to one end. Feed the safety pin through one hole and along the waist band until you reach the other hole. Pull the safety pin out and remove it from the string. Tie knots in the ends of the string if you wish.
I realize that this won't work on all pants, but it may help you salvage some of those hand-me-downs that might otherwise go unused.