Elastic is extremely-comfy to wear, making it perfect for making children’s clothing, sleepwear, and pajama pants, and can be used to apply decoration to garments like shirring and gathering. Elastic sewing is a versatile method that can be applied to your stitching curriculum and can be achieved using a regular sewing machine, so no special equipment is required. Elastic is a particularly useful sewing medium for clothing, home, and design activities. It can be used to offer wholeness to the fabric and can be threaded or stitched directly into the material itself via the hem. Elastic decorative stitching with your sewing machine creates an appealing gathering effect hat is ideal for the shirring.
What Types Of Elastic Are There?
There are different kinds of elastics, and they come in a variety of thicknesses and widths. Flat elastic is being used quite frequently in sewing while the elastic cord is used for pulling cords or attachments. Elastic is made of fibers bound around an internal rubber core. Latex rubber is generally used, but latex-free is also used in stitched elastics. The threads of nylon, cotton or polyester are used to tie and keep the elastic bound, and the fabrics used for that and the elastic structure determine how long it will last and how it will be used. Polyester elastic is the most durable since it can be dry-cleaned or machine-washed, whereas elastic cotton can shrink a little and can not be dry-cleaned. Nylon elastic is perfect for swimwear and lingerie.
1. Flat elastic
Woven elastic, also known as an elastic band, has woven fibers and is the toughest and thickest kind of elastic. When spread it doesn’t get narrow and it is ideal for stitching directly onto clothes as it maintains its length what makes it perfect for waistbands. If you use strong-weight materials, this is the best type of fabric to use, especially in casings.
Braided elastic has braided threads, and is the least expensive kind of elastic. It is perfect for casings where the only lightweight elastic is required, especially near cuff edges, but ends up losing its stretch when stitched straight onto the textile and when stretched it will become tighter.
Knitted elastic is smoother than braided and woven elastic. Also known as a soft elastic band, it is easy to use as it does not lose its flexibility, which means you can use it for stitching directly onto the fabric and for the covering. It works fine on lightweight textiles.
2. Shirring elastic
Shirring elastic is often identified as an elastic thread and can be obtained in different colors and quantity. The elastic is threaded onto the bobbin of the sewing machines, and the needle uses common thread. Even though the elastic will be on the back of your clothing, it still needs to be blended in, so choose a color that fits your textile.
Sewing elastic is called ‘gathering’ if you sew one row only, and ‘shirring’ if you sew more than one. Before you start sewing with this kind of elastic, spend time reading your sewing machine instructions, as some models may require you to adjust your bobbin tension.
How to Sew Elastic
Elastic has been most commonly used to make waistbands in dressing, but you might also like to sew elastic to make attached cuffs on shirts, the edge for a blouse, or to fit it perfectly in other regions of clothing. Below you might find some useful pieces of advice on how to saw elastic:
1. Which needle should you use to sew with elastic
Use a stretching needle for elastic sewing, as these have a round point that penetrates between the cloth threads instead of piercing them. The tip is somewhat less round than a needle with a ballpoint, which is ideal for elastic stitching because ballpoint needles will bypass threads.
2. How to make a casing for elastic
To make a casing for elastic you must follow next steps:
- Step one – For ease, you should add 5 mm to the elastic width. Switch the textile over 1,5 cm and then do it again to the calculated measure.
- Step two – Stitch the waistband along the folded-over edge and leave enough room to thread through the elastic.
- Step three – Put one side of the elastic on a safety pin and push it through the fabric casing. Place another safety pin on the other side of your fabric to avoid it going through. Elastic threads or bodkins are great for this function as they retain an elastic tightness when threading it and prevent the twisting of it.
3. How to sew elastic to fabric
You can sew the elastic directly on your cloth by using a zigzag or straight stitch. If making a waistband, first attach the elastic to the proper length. Here is how it should be achieved:
- Step one – Calculate and pin your fabric to be divided into quarter pieces. Similarly, divide the elastic into the same quarters.
- Step two – Attach the ends of the elastic to the edge of the material and sew to make secure. Hold the elastic firmly and move the next elastic segment to the next point on the cloth. Grab the elastic to cover a gap of cloth precisely and then sew it. Continue this for the remaining of the elastic.
4. Working with shirring elastic
Here are the tips when working with shirring elastic:
- Step one – Label a line where you would like to sew elastic on your fabric. Use the chalk for tailoring or an erasable pen to prevent the line from showing afterward.
- Step two – Use regular sewing thread in your sewing machine for the upper thread then wind elastic on to the bobbin. This should be made by hand to ensure that the tension is right. Stretch the elastic gently, so that it doesn’t fall loosely across the bobbin, but don’t drag it too much or it will be stretched too much. This is pretty fast once you get into a routine of dragging it to the appropriate tension so it wraps smoothly across the bobbin.
- Step three – Adjust the sewing machine to its maximum stitch length, allowing a wider elastic length for every stitch, enabling the material to stretch more and withdraw when it is finished.
- Step four – Sew along the labeled line as you usually would, holding the fabric flat while you stitch. Reverse stitching at the start and finish to maintain the fabric and elastic.
- Step five – If you are sewing more than one line, the cloth has already been gathered after the first one has been sewn. Keep the cloth above and behind the needle to make it straight and be careful not to overextend it.
Tips for Sewing Elastic Into A Garment
It can be a little difficult to sew elastic into a garment however there are two simple techniques to do so. You can stitch the elastic directly to the garment or make an elastic casing and then thread the elastic through that casing. It might be best to sew elastic straight into a garment if you like to gather the fabric, and it may be easiest to stitch elastic using a casing when you want the cloth all across the elastic to remain flat. Below are some ideas on how to attach elastic into a garment:
- Measure and slice the elastic – To decide the amount of elastic that your garments needs, measure the parts of the body around the band. This can be the knees, shoulders, upper arms, ankles, neck or other places the garment must cover.
- Stitch the elastic ends together – Overlap the elastic ends approximately around 0.64 cm to 1.3 cm. Stitch over the elastic two to three times overlapping by using the zigzag sew option on the sewing machine. It will guarantee good contact between the edges of both the elastic band.
- Attach the elastic onto your fabric in four even spaces – Begin by pinning the elastic seam (the region you’ve just sewed) onto the fabric seam. If there’s no seam in the cloth, simply select any position to insert your first pin. Next, attach the outer edge of the elastic to the opposing side of the cloth band and the do it again for the other opposing elastic edges.
- Stitch the elastic within the fabric – After the elastic has been pinched to the material, use your sewing machine to stitch the elastic. Switch the machine to the configuration of the zigzag sewing, and start stitching across the elastic upper edge. Ensure that the elastic stretches off as you stitch so that it is the same size as the material.
- Hide the elastic ribbon by folding the fabric – To cover the elastic within the fabric to which you bind it, cover the elastic over the cloth inside. Make sure the elastic remains flat, and that the fold is all around it.
- Sew the covered fabric on the underside of cloth – Drag the elastic once more to stretch it out with your cloth and continue to add zigzag stitches across the elastic lower edge. This stitch must be straight at the bottom of your material.