10 Different Types of Elastic for Sewing

Have you ever struggled with choosing the right 10 Different Types of Elastic for Sewing  project? Perhaps you’ve wondered why your elastic waistband doesn’t hold up as well as you’d hoped. Understanding the different types of elastic and their uses can make a world of difference in your sewing projects!

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Types of Elastic 

In this article, I’ll guide you through 10 different types of elastic used in sewing, explain their characteristics, and help you choose the perfect elastic for your next project. Let’s dive in!

What is elastic, and why is it essential in sewing? 

Elastic is a crucial component in many sewing projects. It provides flexibility, comfort, and a snug fit in various garments and accessories. From waistbands to cuffs, elastic is used to create gather, stretch, and recovery in fabric.

The beauty of elastic lies in its ability to stretch significantly and then return to its original size. Depending on the type, you can sew elastic directly onto fabric or insert it into a casing. Remember to use a ballpoint or stretch needle and a suitable stretch stitch when sewing elastic for the best results!

1.Braided Elastic 

Braided elastic is easily recognizable by its distinctive parallel ribs running along its length. When stretched, this elastic narrows and can roll, which is why it’s not ideal for direct stitching to fabric.

Characteristics:

Narrows when stretched,Loses some elasticity when sewn through,Best used in casings,Suitable for lightweight fabrics.

Uses:

Sleeve hems,Neckline casings,Waistband casings (if not sewn at the base).

2.Knitted Elastic 

Knitted elastic is formed by interlocking fibers, creating a soft and flexible elastic that retains its width when stretched.

Characteristics:

Maintains width when stretched,Retains elasticity when sewn,Soft against the skin,Suitable for lightweight to medium-weight fabrics.

Uses:

Direct stitching to fabric,Sleeve hems,Waistbands,Athletic wear.

3.Woven Elastic 

Also known as non-roll elastic, woven elastic is stronger than both knitted and braided varieties, making it ideal for medium to heavyweight fabrics.

Characteristics:

Doesn’t narrow when stretched,Maintains elasticity when sewn,Available in various colors,Suitable for decorative, exposed waistbands.

Uses:

Pants and skirt waistbands,Men’s underwear waists,Outerwear,

Home decor projects.

4.Lingerie Elastic 

Lingerie elastic is a specialized type of elastic designed for use in delicate garments like underwear and bras.

Characteristics:

Usually knitted,Decorative edge (scalloped or picot),Often has a soft, plush side for skin contact,Narrow width.

Uses:

Bra straps,Underwear edges,Delicate garment finishes.

5.Clear Elastic 

Clear elastic is a transparent, stretchy option that’s perfect for projects where visibility is a concern.

Characteristics:

Transparent appearance,Varies in stretchiness (quality dependent),Narrows when stretched,Best for lightweight to medium-weight stretch fabrics.

Uses:

Stabilizing seams in stretchy fabrics,Swimwear,Athletic wear,Shoulder straps in wide-neck garments.

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6.Fold-Over Elastic (FOE) 

Also known as elastic ribbon, fold-over elastic is a versatile option that can be used as both elastic and binding.

Characteristics:

Looks like ribbon with a center groove,Folds easily to encase raw edges,Available in various colors and designs,Best sewn with a stretch or zigzag stitch.

Uses:

Hair ties,Sleeve and neck bindings in stretch garments,Underwear edges,Swimsuit edges.

7.Elastic Thread 

Elastic thread is a specialized type of thread that can be used to create shirring effects or gentle gathers in fabric.

Characteristics:

Thin and highly stretchy,Used in bobbin for shirring effects,Thicker varieties available for other applications.

Uses:

Shirring,Doll clothes,Button loops,Stretchy jewelry making.

8.Buttonhole Elastic 

Buttonhole elastic features evenly spaced holes along its length, allowing for adjustable fit in garments.

Characteristics:

Has holes for button attachment,Usually wider than standard elastic,Can be trimmed to desired length.

Uses:

Adjustable waistbands in children’s clothing,Maternity wear,Pants with expandable waists.

9.Sport Elastic 

Sport elastic, also known as swimwear elastic, is designed to withstand harsh conditions like chlorine, saltwater, and frequent washing.

Characteristics:

Highly durable,Resistant to chemicals and wear,Strong recovery,Usually wider than standard elastic.

Uses:

Swimwear,Athletic wear,Garments exposed to extreme conditions.

10.Baby Elastic 

Baby elastic is a soft, narrow elastic specifically designed for use in infant and children’s clothing.

Characteristics:

Very soft and gentle on sensitive skin,Narrow width,Highly stretchy,Often used in small garments or doll clothes.

Uses:

Infant clothing,Doll clothes,Delicate children’s garments.

Tips for Choosing the Right Elastic for Your Project

Now that we’ve explored the different types of elastic, here are some tips to help you select the best option for your sewing project:

  1. Consider the Application Think about whether you’ll be sewing the elastic directly to the fabric or inserting it into a casing. Remember, braided elastic isn’t ideal for direct stitching.
  2. Fabric Weight Match the elastic strength to your fabric weight. Knitted or braided elastics work well with lighter fabrics, while woven elastic is better suited for heavier materials.
  3. Specialized Needs Don’t forget about specialty elastics like lingerie elastic or fold-over elastic for projects with specific requirements.
  4. Size Selection Choose the elastic width based on your casing size or insertion area. Your pattern will often recommend the appropriate width.
  5. Length Considerations Test the stretch and recovery of your elastic before cutting. Different types and widths of elastic have varying stretch ratios, so adjust your length accordingly.
  6. Avoid Cutting Lengthwise As a general rule, avoid cutting elastic lengthwise. If you must, test a small piece first to ensure it doesn’t unravel or lose elasticity.

Conclusion 

Understanding the different types of elastic and their unique properties can greatly enhance your sewing projects. Whether you’re making comfortable pajama pants, stylish swimwear, or delicate lingerie, choosing the right elastic is key to achieving professional-looking results.

Consider factors like fabric weight, application method, and specific project needs when selecting your elastic. With this knowledge, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any sewing project that requires the perfect stretch and recovery.

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