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HOW TO SEW PLEATED DRAPES
Sew Elastics The Right Way
Active lifestyle demands
dresses made up of such fabrics that give the
freedom for easy movement. However, in most of
the clothings, elastics are used for making
them more workable and flexible with control
over their stretchability. Not only garments,
elastics are used for sewing projects and other
craft projects too. Do you ever wonder why the
elastic that you used in your last project does
not seem to work with the present sewing
project? Why the elastic in your cotton pajama
is causing problems while the same elastic in
your swim wear is working excellently? In fact,
the type of elastics and the fabrics with which
they are used plus the sewing methods, all go
to contribute in the perfect working of
Types of Elastics and their
Elastic is a flexible and
stretchable narrow fabric made of rubber core
which is wrapped in polyester, cotton, nylon or
a blend of fiber threads. These exterior fibers
are braided, woven or knit together to give
various thicknesses and widths to the elastics.
Most of the elastics are 1/8 inches to 2 inches
wide. However, elastic thread can be much
narrower and the decorative elastic waistbands
can be extra wide. Different elastics have
different degrees of stretchability. Elastics
are sewn to fabrics in two ways- direct
application and casing. In the first method,
elastic is attached to fabric by sewing
directly through the elastic and fabric. In the
second method, the elastic is encased into a
closed tunnel like fabric and then sewed to the
fabric often around the waist, at the neckline
or lower edge of a sleeve or pant leg.
Braided elastics are used in
casings as they get narrowed when stretched.
They can not retain their stretch and shape if
applied directly to the fabric. These light
weight elastics are mainly used on sleeve hems,
swim wear and leg bands. Braided non-roll
elastic is appropriate for waistbands because
they can remain flat when stretched.
Knitted elastics are soft,
light weight, strong and appropriate for
directly applying on almost any kind of
garment. These elastics can also be sewed in
casing. They are best for lightweight fabrics.
Many knitted elastics also have sewing line at
their edges which do not have elastic in them.
So, it becomes much easier to sew these
elastics to a garment.
Woven elastics, usually
thicker than the other elastics, are very
strong. When sewn directly onto a fabric, they
can retain their width and stretch. Woven
elastics can also be sewed in casing. They are
usually applied to heavy weight fabrics, such
as home furnishings, car covers, bags,
Transparent or clear
elastics are synthetic narrow fabrics that can
stretch up to four times their length and can
completely recover the original size and shape.
They are made of polyurethane and does not
contain rubber which makes them appropriate to
be used in kids garments or for people who are
allergic to latex. It is primarily used in
those areas that are prone to lose stretch,
such as shirt bottoms, shoulder seams and
necklines. They can't be used in casings as
they'll roll over themselves.
Tips for Sewing Elastics
Choose an elastic that has
the same care requirements as the finished
Use those elastics which recover their original
length after stretching.
Use cotton elastic with cotton garments. Wash
the cotton fabric before sewing as the elastic
will also shrink a little when washed.
Use nylon elastic for lingerie and swim wear.
They can be machine washed but dry them in
Polyester elastics go with almost all fabrics.
They can be washed as well as dry cleaned.
Choose such threads that are compatible with
Use a ball-point needle when sewing.
Adjust the thread tension when stitching and
Elastic should be tight enough to prevent
fabric from drooping, but loose enough to be
Cut the elastic according to the required
length plus 1 inch for finishing the ends.
When applying elastic directly to fabric, cut
it about 8% shorter than the required length.
It will stretch during sewing.
Use a long straight stitch or a zigzag stitch
when sewing the elastic directly to fabric. A
long stitch having length of three or four is
best for most of the fabrics and elastic
If doing too much work with elastic, consider
buying specialty presser foot/machine
attachment that applies elastic without having
to stretch it by hand.
Deepa RC recommends reading
more about laces and other narrow fabrics at
which is a useful resource for those who are
into narrow fabrics business. It is a good
source for buyers of narrow fabrics as it
contains a comprehensive and user friendly
directory of narrow fabrics suppliers. Readers
interested in reading about textile as a whole
can visit http://www.fabrics-manufacturers.com/
for useful resources.