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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 becky@craftzine.com!

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Becky Stern

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


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Comments

  1. Violet says:

    Thank you so much, Becky! The video and your direction definitely helped – and I’m now looking forward to my next elastic-sewing attempt.. :)

  2. Adel says:

    I have always refused to sew elastic ends together with my sewing machine, and have handstitched instead for the same reasons of the bunching and general ickiness of it. This tutorial is SO helpful and will save me some time! THANKS!

  3. mklee says:

    thanks for the tips.
    another way that i’ve done this in the past that has worked well is this:
    - cut a small scrap of fabric that is about one inch by one inch
    - butt the ends of the elastic and place over the square scrap of fabric, so the elastic meets in the middle of the square
    - zig zag stitch on both ends of the elastic — for each end, going through the elastic and the fabric scrap
    - then trim off the excess scrap fabric
    this should keep your elastic pretty flat
    sorry if those instructions are hard to understand… it’s super easy but not easy to explain without visuals ;-)

  4. e bridges iii says:

    Thanks so much. After watching four utterly useless videos & visiting multiple websites, I finally stumbled upon your video, which answered all of my questions simply. I’ve bookmarked Craft: for the future as a result.

  5. Marcia Grim says:

    I just watched your video on sewing elastic. However, I am trying to sew the ends of a 4″ strip of 3/4″ wide elastic onto a piece of fleece material. I am getting bunches of thread on the underside, Any more suggestions ? I can’t really stretch this while sewing, Can you help me ?
    Thanks, Marcia
    mistimi@hotmail.com