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This week’s question is from Violet:

Quite often when I’m crafting, I find that I have a need to sew a “loop” of elastic – similar to what you’d find inside the waistband of your favourite ‘jamma pants. I slightly overlap the two ends of the elastic and, using my machine to run a quick line of stitching, I try to attach them together. Inevitably, I’m left with a gigantic mess of thread – knotted and clumped – on the underside of the elastic. Sure, it holds the pieces together, but it’s not pretty and it doesn’t lay flat and, in short, NOT GOOD. Can you help? My machine is in great shape (regular tune-ups and care) and I’m using sharp needles.. What’s the correct process? What am I missing?

I have the same problem. In this video I show three ways to help prevent this from happening. The main problem with sewing elastic is that the unstretched rubber easily catches (with a lot of friction) on the needle and thread in the sewing machine, causing various forms of unsightly and decidedly non-flat knots of thread. One method is to stretch the elastic while sewing it, helping pull some of that looseness out of the bits of rubber so they can’t catch the thread so much. Another is to zigzag between the two pieces of elastic so you’re not sewing through two layers at once. The third is to anchor the elastic to its casing (your waistband, for example) at the same time as you join the ends of the loop. The extra layer of fabric between the elastic and the bobbin/feed dog area will help uncatch the elastic from the needle and thread as it passes through the layers. Be sure to email me your crafty conundrums at [email protected]!

Subscribe to the CRAFT Podcast in iTunes, or download the m4v (iPhone) or mov movie.

becky stern headshot Ask CRAFT: Sewing Elastic

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is director of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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