Hand of seamstress is using the white industrial sewing machine to sew elastic strips of pants close-up

How to Sew Elastic into Fabric

Sewing makes it possible for people to create unique creations that showcase their creativity. If you enjoy sewing, you can make an entire wardrobe that is truly one of a kind. However, some techniques are essential if you plan on making your own clothing. One of these techniques is how to sew elastic into the fabric. If you know how to do this, the possibilities of things that you can make with some cloth and your sewing machine will be endless.

Two Ways to Sew Elastic into Fabric

You might be surprised to hear that there are two ways to sew elastic into the fabric. The first method sets your elastic with your garment, whereas the second method works by casting your elastic. Now you might be wondering which of the two you should choose for your next creation. Well, that will depend on what you are making. If you want a gathered look, the first method is best. However, if you prefer the fabric to be ungathered and flat, choose the second method.

The First Method

This method requires the following materials:

  • a piece of elastic
  • your fabric
  • some thread
  • chalk
  • a few pins
  • scissors that can cut fabric well
  • a sewing machine
  • measuring tape

Once all your materials are collected, you can follow these steps to sew elastic into your fabric successfully.

1. Measure and cut your elastic

Measuring your elastics correctly is very important since it is the part of this exercise where most beginner sewers struggle. The measurement you are hoping to achieve is of the person’s body who the garment is for. Therefore, use a measuring tape and carefully measure the part of the person’s body that the garment will fit, for example, the waist, hips, chest, or upper arms.

If you want a snug fit, you can deduct a little off of your measurement while keeping in mind that you don’t want the garment to be too tight and uncomfortable. Most experienced sewers will only deduct between 2 and 4 inches.

2. Connect and sew the elastic ends

The next step is sewing the ends of the elastic together. To do this, you should overlap the ends of your elastic by at least a quarter-inch, not exceeding half an inch. Then use your sewing machine to sew the elastic ends. You can use the zigzag stitch and sew at least two times with your sewing machine. The zigzag stitch is very effective since it will keep your elastic from detaching.

3. Pin your elastic to the fabric

While placing your pins in at least four places in your elastic while keeping the same space between them, secure your elastic to your fabric. If your garment has a seam, you can pin your elastic’s sewed seam to the same spot to minimize discomfort while wearing. It is essential to place your elastic at least a quarter-inch below the edge of your fabric to avoid it showing when it is worn.

Young seamstress woman using sewing machine to design clothes

4. Sew your elastic

You can start sewing your elastic to your fabric in the way that you have pinned it. It is best to sew from the elastic’s edge while using the zigzag stitch. It is vital that you stretch the elastic while sewing so that its length will be the same as the length of your fabric. Continue to sew all around, and then when you reach your starting point, overlap it to secure your stitches.

5. Fold your fabric

This step involves folding your fabric’s edge around your elastic. This is so that the edge will be covered. Next, you should fold your fabric inward and then sew it so it stays in place.

6. Sew the bottom edges

You will not notice the leftover edge of your folded fabric. Instead, you can use your zigzag stitch to sew it. It is best to sew along the fabric’s bottom edge. Another vital thing you need to keep in mind is that the cloth and elastic have to be even and flat. When you have worked your way around, overlap with at least an inch to secure your stitching.

The Second Method

This method creates a casting for your elastic. To do this method successfully, you will need the following materials:

  • a piece of elastic
  • some thread
  • chalk
  • a few pins
  • a sewing machine
  • scissors
  • your chosen fabric
  • measuring tape

Once you have all of your material, you can start with the second method. Here are the steps:

1. Measure the width of your elastic

To make your case, you need to know the width of your elastic. It would be best to keep in mind that the case needs to be slightly wider than your elastic band. So add half an inch to your band’s measurement.

2. Fold the fabric

Now fold your fabric inwards while using your measurements. Use your pins to keep your fabric in place until you start sewing.

3. Make a mark for your opening

You will need to leave an opening so that you can insert the elastic. You will sew the opening after you have inserted the elastic and connected the ends. Use chalk to mark your opening. You must make your opening wide enough to allow the elastic to slide through.

4. Sew the cloth’s edge

For this step, the straight stitch works best. Next, sew your fabric about a quarter-inch from the edge. This will provide enough space for your elastic.

5. Prepare your elastic

Measure the person’s body to find the best measurement for your elastic. For a snug fit, you can deduct up to half an inch. After you have your measured elastic, attach a safety pin to the end and run it through your opening and all the way through your case.

6. Secure your ends and close the opening

Now that you have run your elastic through the case, you should have both ends at the opening of your garment. You can sew the ends using the zigzag stitch and overlap at least a quarter-inch. Once the elastic has been sewn, you can sew the opening.

Conclusion

Sewing makes it possible for us to explore our craftsmanship in a colorful and rewarding way. So start sewing your next creation today.