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Sewing Elastic - Who, What, When, Where,Why and How to Use Sewing Elastic

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Waistband Elastic
Waistband Elastic

Waistband Elastic

Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
The most common use for elastic is in the waistband of pants, shorts and skirts. It's a comfortable solution for growing children and weight fluctuating adults. It is also one of the easiest sewing methods for fitting and garment construction. So what could go wrong? Unfortunately plenty.
The most common issue is the elastic curling and ending up fitting like a tourniquet. Using non-roll elastic and being sure you have enough ease in the elastic will solve that problem.
When you are sewing a garment from scratch, most patterns call for a casing to hold the elastic. You must follow the pattern directions and use the width of elastic that is called for in the sewing notions for the pattern. Most commercial patterns include an "elastic guide" in the pattern pieces which tell you what length to cut the piece of elastic. In most cases, the piece of elastic is cut two to four inches smaller than the waist. It may take some time and practice to find what is comfortable for you. Experiment by starting with an elastic casing and the elastic cut to the waist measurement. Guide the elastic through the casing and experiment to find when the elastic is comfortable for you. Don't be surprised to find that your experiment will need to be repeated, when you use the exact same pattern but a different type of fabric or elastic.
Ready-made garments usually have rows of stitching holding the elastic in place. This type of sewing method uses elastic that is designed for rows of stitching through it. Sport Elastic is available to the home sewer which has rows that are un-briaded for you to stitch in the un-braided row. Buy Direct -- Sport Elastic 1-1/2'' Wide 1 Yard-White Some braided elastic can be stitched. The best option is to read the label before you sew. Sewing rows of stitching in elastic that is not designed for that type of sewing, can weaken the elastic and possibly render it useless.
Elastic also come in different weights. A loosely woven elastic is not going to hold up to a denim fabric and stiff, tightly woven elastic will cause a blouse weight, cotton fabric to be stiff and unyielding. In most cases you will want an elastic that is for the weight of fabric you are sewing.
Learn About Underwear, Pajama and Lingerie Elastic
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