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Tips & Techniques > Using Wash-Away Wonder Tape to apply Clear Elastic to stabilize a knit neckline

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Posted by: andrearn9
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Member since: 8/24/02
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Posted on: 4/2/03 10:38 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 4 people   Needs More Info by 1 people   Very Helpful by 48 people   
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I sew a lot of crew-neck cotton interlock knit tops with self-fabric collars. After a couple of washings, I noticed that the neck would stretch out of shape. Knowing that applying clear elastic to the neckline prior to sewing on the collar would solve this problem, I decided to try it.

Clear elastic can be tricky to sew onto a neckline. It has a tendency to stick to the presser foot and the application process itself can stretch out the neckline if you aren't super careful (causing exactly the problem you are trying to avoid).

Wash-away Wonder Tape solves this problem beautifully. After you sew front to back at shoulder, lay out your garment on a flat surface single layer so that the neckline forms a circle. Apply the 1/4" wonder tape about 1/8" from fabric edge around the entire neckline. Then adhere 1/4" clear elastic onto the wonder tape. Now you are ready to sew on your collar. Stitching the collar with a 1/4" seam will catch the clear elastic in the middle. Since the clear elastic is facing the sewing machine bed during collar application, no drag is created on the presser foot. In addition to making it super easy to apply clear elastic, the wonder tape acts as a stabilizer during the collar application so you really can't inadvertently stretch out the neckline while you are stretching the collar to fit.

After the first washing, the wonder tape's "stabilizing" effect is gone and the collar will stretch nicely to fit over your head while the clear elastic ensures good recovery. In addition, I haven't encountered any needle gumming with the wonder tape.

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sewingripper said... (8/24/10 7:28 AM) Reply
Fantastic idea. I love spending time doing prepwork that saves ripping out or disasters during sewing. This sounds like a perfect method.
AdaH said... (2/23/10 7:26 PM) Reply
So glad I found this tip. When I sewed the neckband to the top, it sttretched out of shape. I steamed it hoping it would help....not. I even have some of the wonder tape, just never thought about using it in this application. Thank you
cindy-lou said... (1/5/08 2:21 PM) Reply
Okay, I'm going to try this trick out today!
ctirish said... (11/1/06 7:26 PM) Reply
Why elastic - doesn't it pull on the neckline - how does it lay flat with elastic
Sew it seams said... (6/8/05 8:34 AM) Reply
This sounds like a great tip. I'm glad it was brought back up to the top. Thanks.
gwajean said... (6/7/05 4:05 PM) Reply
This is a very helpful hint. I would not have thought to do this.
carolynDaly said... (3/15/04 6:54 PM) Reply
Iplan to buy wash away wonder tape now.
Deepika said... (4/14/03 1:38 PM) Reply
andrea another question for you. I just got a few leather toggles to apply on my husbands wool jacket. Do you think I can use wonder tape to hold the tabs in place while I topstitch? Since the jacket will only be drycleaned I am not sure if I should use this. Any other temp. bond you would suggest?
Mbarkle said... (4/11/03 11:02 PM) Reply
Great idea. I love Wonder Tape. I use it on collar stands when I am topstitching them. Also nice for zippers.
Lisa Laree said... (4/10/03 11:39 AM) Reply
What a great idea! I've used Wonder Tape for years for applying zippers; never thought about using it to make that pesky clear elastic easier to apply. I'll have to try this the next time I add a binding to a knit neckline! Thanks!
Deepika said... (4/9/03 3:20 PM) Reply
Wonder tape sounds like a useful thing to have. I'll definitely get it next time I am in the store. Thanks!
Everyday Sewist said... (4/9/03 10:31 AM) Reply
I used this for a zipper recently. It made a big difference--I will never use pins for zippers again! I think it's great for things which really need to be held securely and not stretched or wrinkled while you sew. For example, twill tape. I have not used it for clear elastic but I can definitely see how it would work for that.
andrearn9 said... (4/9/03 1:48 AM) Reply
Here's a link to it at Joann's
andrearn9 said... (4/9/03 1:43 AM) Reply
It's called Wash Away Wonder Tape. It's 1/4" wide, and comes on a roll. Costs something like $2 or so a roll. Like steam-a-seam, it has a paper backing that you have to peel off. But unlike steam-a-seam, it's a non-fusible item. You use it in places where you would otherwise thread-baste or pin-baste (such as zipper applications). The adhesive also acts to stabilize the piece so it doesn't stretch during sewing. The adhesive is soluble, so once the garment is washed it completely dissolves. Think of it as double-sided scotch tape that washes away.
Deepika said... (4/8/03 11:58 PM) Reply
thanks andrea its clear now. Also what is wonder tape anything like steam a seam which you fuse in place?
andrearn9 said... (4/8/03 9:28 PM) Reply
Forgot to add, I just edited the comment so it will read properly.
andrearn9 said... (4/8/03 9:25 PM) Reply
Deepika, apply the wonder tape and the clear elastic on the wrong side of the garment body. Then pin your collar to the right side of the body in quarters and sew with the collar facing up. I just realized that my wording in the comment is incorrect. The clear elastic will actually lay on the sewing machine bed as you are sewing your collar onto the garment with the right side of the garment body facing up. I will edit out the "sandwiching" part. The sandwiching actually occurs once the collar is attached and you press your seam allowances towards the body and double top-stitch them down. I hope this makes sense :).
Deepika said... (4/8/03 4:51 PM) Reply
great tip andrea. I have a few questions though. Maybe I am not able to visualize this properly but isnt there a chance that the clear elastic might show on the garment front just at the seam line?
SouthernStitch said... (4/8/03 3:16 PM) Reply
What a great tip!! Thanks, I just bought some clear elastic and was a little worried about these things.
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