Choosing the Right Elastic Width
Selecting the right width elastic for your project is essential for it to look just right when completed. The elastic width should be adjusted based on the fabric weight also.
Waist band elastic should generally be around 3/4-1 inch wide, depending on the fabric. Children’s clothes made from a lightweight fabric may be able to use a narrower ½ inch width elastic though.
Swimwear elastic generally uses ¼ to ¾ inch wide elastic, depending on the location of the elastic.
Necklines call for a narrower elastic, generally around 1/8 to ¼ inch wide.
Finally, elastic for shirt sleeves can range from 1/8 to ½ inch wide.
Tips for using elastic
When sewing with elastic, most patterns have a specific type of elastic that they recommend. Following the “elastic guide” included in the pattern is the best way to ensure it meets the pattern’s requirements. However, if your pattern does not include this, the general rule of thumb is to cut the elastic 2 to 4 inches smaller than the waist measurement.
Elastic weight should be proportional to the fabric weight or it will not be sufficient to maneuver that fabric while maintaining its durability.
Elastic generally should be washed in cold or lukewarm water unless if it has been created to be heat resistant because high heat will shorten the useful life of the elastic.
Elastic should be stored somewhere not in direct sunlight. The sun is able to break down elastic after prolonged, lengthy exposure.
Never cut it in half lengthwise as it will cause the elastic to fray or break apart.
When Sewing Elastic
Try using a needle for your sewing machine with a rounded or ball point tip.
If you experience thread bunching or not laying smoothly, try switching to a sharp needle.
When sewing your elastic to the fabric, set your sewing machine to one of the stretch stitches, like you would use for sewing knits. The stitches should have the ability to move and stretch along with the fabric and elastic. Some ideal stitch choices include the super stretch stitch, the long narrow zigzag stitch, the short length medium width zigzag stitch, the vari-overlock stitch, the double overlock, the stretch overlock, the jersey stitch, or even the twin needle stitch. Consult your pattern for the best results.
Pre-stretch and release your elastic before cutting into it to allow it to relax out so it is certainly in a neutral position.