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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Measuring elastic ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Measuring elastic
for waistband
lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/17/12 5:43 PM

I just ripped out the serged-on elastic for the second time in the pants I'm making.
Somehow I'm not measuring the length of the elastic correctly since both times the waist ended up too big.
I put the elastic around my waist, comfortably snug, and stretched it into place and serged it. First time it was way too big. Second time, still too big although I snugged it up more.
Is my elastic too soft? meaning too stretchy?
I checked both my sewing books and got nothing there as to how to measure properly.
Is there a trick to this?

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Linda

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Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/17/12 5:49 PM

I would measure with a tape measure and then subtract a 1 1/2 to 2". It can depend on the fabric and it is sort of a guess. On garments that I am not sure of, I make a casing so I can adjust the elastic. HTH

Judy Kski
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Judy Kski  Friend of PR
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In reply to lgrande <<


Date: 8/17/12 6:43 PM

Steam press your elastic when you finish serging it in before you try the pants on. Serging stretches the elastic so you need to bring it back to it's original length. A small amount of stretching may occur. Another way to do it is to launder the pants and dry them in a dryer.

The problem might be the type of elastic you're using. Are you using sports elastic, the type of elastic with multiple channels for sewing in? This type of elastic is used for sweat pants or shorts that have topstitched waistbands with enclosed elastic using the same method you've used to sew on your elastic. Another type of elastic is the kind used in RTW. It is made to be stitched on and you'll never get any "elastic pookies" forced out on the other side like you would if you used the wrong kind. An example of the right type of elastic can be found at Fashion Sewing Supply. This is very stable elastic (widths from 3/4" - 2") that is used in Yoga pants and other activewear. It maintains its' shape if the length is correct. If the elastic is too tight, it will bend in the middle when worn.

TIP: On the back of Stretch & Sew 150, a pattern for a pair of elastic-waist pants, there is a note about the length to use for the 1" elastic that is stitched-on at the waistline just like yours:

For Hip Sizes 32-38 - 3" (7.6 cm) less than body waist measurement
For Hip Sizes 40-48 - 5" (12.7 cm) less than body waist measurement

I have made pants from S&S 150 twice and the rule really works. My waistband is as comfortable as ever.

------
Judy

lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
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In reply to Judy Kski <<


Date: 8/17/12 7:32 PM

Wow, Judy, what great information. Thanks so much. i'll try again using the Stretch & Sew technique. Also, thanks for the tip on Fashion Sewing Supply, I'll check them out. maybe I need the sports elastic...my project is a pair of polar fleece winter pants.

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Linda

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Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000
Bernina B530
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tinflutterby
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Date: 8/18/12 0:34 AM

You might also use a longer stitch on the serger.

KathySews
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Date: 8/18/12 8:09 AM

and test that the planned waist length will go over your hips

Baychel3
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Date: 8/18/12 8:55 AM

I'm not sure if this still applies, but it usually works for me --- years ago I had read to use two-thirds of your waist measurement when determining elastic length. As I said -- it most always works for me. Of course, you need toadd an inch to that for joining.

jadamo00
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Date: 8/18/12 10:34 AM

Here's a thread on "Elastic Rule-of-Thumb".

Any help?

j.

Michele Lommasson
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Michele Lommasson  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/18/12 1:44 PM

I usually subtract 4 to 5 inches (my hips are 38 inches) when I apply elastic to the waistband as you are doing. I find that not all elastics are created equally. Once you find one that suits, you should stick with it. Understand, also, that each individual has her own idea of how tight or loose a waistband should be.
I find that it's a good idea to practice when you first begin. Either make a mock waistband and apply the elastic, or go for broke and put it on your garment; it's a good idea to make sure you have a high enough waist that cutting off a bad go won't ruin the garment. That's right, when I was learning this technique, if I missed on the length of the elastic, I would just cut it off and start again. Some of my workout tights have lower waists than others, but worked just fine.
Make sure you choose an elastic with plenty of open space when you stretch it out and hold it up to the light. Elastic deforms and grows as you stitch through it, and a dense elastic is not only hard to sew through, but it really, really stretches out.
Judy Kski mentioned Fashion Sewing Supply as a resource and I agree with her. It is perfect.

------
Michele Lommasson

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