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Tips & Techniques > Foldover Elastic from a Beginner

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Posted by: PixieCat
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Member since: 5/5/04
Reviews: 66 (tips: 5)
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Posted on: 1/13/05 5:30 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 17 people   
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After reading several threads about foldover elastic I decided to try applying it on a knit pajama top. It took several attempts to get it right and, being a visual learner, I wished I could have seen some pictures. The following is a step-by-step of how I made it work for me and some pictures to show several steps.

Please chime in with other ideas to make this easier for us newbies.

First, a regular presser foot kept slipping off of the elastic but a roller foot worked perfectly and stayed right where I wanted it. I used a stretch needle and a fabric glue stick to hold the fabric in place on the curves. The foldover elastic I used had a wavy edge as decoration for the right side. Most of the elastic I have is the same on both edges.

From the PR boards, stitch or serge the t-shirt front to the back (right sides together) at one shoulder seam using stay tape to prevent stretching. Leave the other shoulder seam open. Start the elastic at the neck edge of the unsewn shoulder seam.

1. Fold the elastic down the middle (on the fold line) and stitch down the middle of the elastic for about an inch using a medium-wide zig zag without the fabric in place. The zig zag doesn’t need to be even since this is just to get the stitching started and won’t be on the finished t-shirt.

2. Stop with the needle down and raise the presser foot. This helped me anchor the elastic in place and raising the foot allowed room to slip the fabric in.

3. Slip the fabric in the fold of the elastic, right side up, so the elastic sandwiches the fabric. I quickly learned to be sure the fabric is in far enough that both the zig and the zag catches it.

4. Being careful not to stretch the fabric, hold the elastic taut, stretching it just a very little bit. Stitch adjusting the fabric or elastic positioning frequently. With the gentle stretch the neckline ended up snug but not puckered or gathered. This was fairly easy to do on a straight edge . . .

But then you enter THE DANGER ZONE – the curve of the neckline. I found it very difficult to keep the fabric on the curve far enough inside the elastic sandwich so that both the zig and zag would catch it. If both sweeps of the thread do not catch the fabric, it wants to pull out (twice for me).

5. To solve this problem, I put a light swipe of the fabric glue stick on the right and wrong side of the fabric, slipped it into the elastic (stretching the elastic ever-so-slightly) and pressed for a few seconds. Once the glue was set I continued stitching around the curve. The picture is just to show how nicely it grabs.

6. Continue around to the other open shoulder seam edge, cut, then stitch the shoulder seam closed (using stay tape).

7. A light burst or two of steam from the iron should snug it up nicely.

I liked the result but found that using colored thread, even white thread on white elastic, showed the inconsistencies in the zig-zag. Maybe some more practice will even it out but I decided to go over the stitching a second time with lingerie thread (clear). On the top finished picture, you can see the needle holes where I “fell” off the elastic a few times. Still, I like the look and plan to use only lingerie thread on folover elastic in the future.

Next, I’m going to try using a smaller zig zag and stitching closer to the inside edge. This may solve the problem of the fabric not catching and pulling out of the fold.

Foldover elastic is a beautiful finish and it comes in such a variety of colors. It’s a welcome change from ribbing or self-fabric binding.

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ren_kitty said... (11/12/09 3:42 PM) Reply
where are the pictures. I too am a visual learner and find it hard to follow written instructions without the photo's.
craftygamma said... (7/16/08 7:23 PM) Reply
Thanks for the step-by-step and pictures. You also acquainted me with 2 more things--fabric glue stick & lingerie thread. I shop at smallish JoAnne's, and they don't have all the notions, etc. For many years I did not sew clothing because I had a custom drapery workroom. Now I am just getting back into clothing construction and am learning so much on this site. Dee
Bats said... (8/31/07 8:45 PM) Reply
I used a bias binding foot to sew on the foldover elastic
christine A said... (4/25/06 8:35 PM) Reply
I have alot of foldover elastc, and can't wait to try your technique. Thanks for the review.
granolamom said... (1/16/05 1:29 PM) Reply
thanks for the tips and the photos. I have been wanting to try foldover elastic for some time but had no idea how to use it.
AnneM said... (1/14/05 7:23 PM) Reply
I have yet to buy (& try) foldover elastic, but it is on my list of things to do!
Levone said... (1/14/05 9:09 AM) Reply
Nice tip...haven't tried foldover elastic yet but have a nice little stash for when I'm ready to try it out.
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