I have some pairs of sweatpants and shorts that have either one side of the string outside the loop, or the whole string is out of the pants all together. This can be a major issue because I either choose to not wear them since they might/will fall down or I'll have to take the chances of my pants falling off in public if I choose to wear them. I know I could just gain enough wait to hold them up without needing the string. But there must be another way? How can I get the string back into the pants/shorts?

I've tried just with my hands of pushing the string through, when one side hasn't fallen all the way out. Which can sometimes work if there's not much more way to go. Other than that I usually just bring them to a sewer.

  • 1
    Buy a new pair!!
    – user19
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 13:25
  • 3
    Wear suspenders?
    – fredley
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 15:42
  • As a workaround I found that I could use a safety pin to tighten the pants/shorts. This probably isn't preferable to do all the time, but has worked fine so far.
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 1:37
  • A sewer? Really?! Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 12:39
  • I am a underweight girl my feel tight when I put them on but they feel loosen areound my stomach I am 7 stone and wearing a size 8 please help 😢
    – user24113
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 9:12

5 Answers 5


If the hole in the pants is large enough (if not read below) so you can fiddle a pen through it you take a regular ballpen, hook the cord into the hook at the end.

put cord here

Then use the pen as improvised needle and tug it through the path where the cord should go and have it back in your pants.

I recommend taking the ink part out of the pen before applying so you don't accidentally draw on your pants or something.

If the hole is not large enough disassemble the pen and use only the hook. As you can see on the image it has a small hook on the right side by itself that can be used in a similar fashion.

  • That's clever. I was going to suggest using a safety pin, but that may not be hacky enough.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 8:01

Here's a neat trick that's actually been around for thousands of years. All you need is a bit of rope (enough to wrap around your waist plus a bit extra). Seriously, don't underestimate what you can do with rope.

Pull your pants up a bit above where you'd normally wear them. Take the rope and wrap it around your waist, a few inches below the top of your pants waistline. Tie it off with a knot tight enough that. A square knot will do if you are in a rush, but a bowline is surely the best option as it won't slip and can be pulled tight. If you've done it well, you'll find that your pants don't fall off. If not, you probably need to tie the rope a bit tighter.

If you have pants which are especially long, you can pull them up more than above. Then fold the tops over the rope. If you fold one complete revolution all the way around the rope, you'll make a toroidal loop which surrounds the rope. That will be relatively stable due to friction between the two fabric surfaces. You'll find this approach is especially effective for extra-large pants when you have some that are too big to fit you normally.

In fact, this lifehack is so useful, people started designing special ropes just for it. Some of them aren't actually made of rope, and many use different fastening mechanisms and somewhat different shapes. The end result is the same though. People often refer to these special ropes as "belts". You'll also find pants which are made with special loops of fabric. These "belt loops" do the trick above for you; just stick the rope in the loop, and it can't slip out unless the fabric rips. Sometimes pants come with elastic ropes built in to them; I've found these often snap or fall inside the pants in such a way that they are inaccessible; in that case, so long as you have more rope, it's no problem (just follow the steps above).


You should be able to use a knitting needle with the tip jammed in one of the knots of the string to thread it back through the pants. It takes some time but it is possible in most cases.

Push the needle in with the string into the hole, compress the pants over the needle and keep going as far as you can, remove the needle then using a similar technique compress and push push the knot through the remainder of the loop.


My wife had a good idea, she was just making pajama pants for Christmas presents and had the same problem.

  1. Tie a piece of thread to a paper clip.
  2. Slide the paper clip into the drawstring hole.
  3. Use a strong magnet to pull the paperclip along the drawstring path from the outside.
  4. Once you've reached the other side tie the thread to the new drawstring and pull it through.

Push the pin end of a safety pin into the string and close it. Now push the larger of the two ends of the pin into the hole. Just keep pushing the pin in as far you can and then keep bunching the fabric up around it until you simply can't. Now, hold onto pin (inside the pants) and slide the bunched up area away from the pin (if you have the pin in your right hand push left).

Continue this process until the pin appears through the other hole. Now remove the pin... You are all done!

I use this whenever I make drawstring bags or have to re-thread the strings in clothing.

  • 1
    This what I do too. If the pants are for children (or whatever) you can sew the drawstring at the back so it won't come out again.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 8:02

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