Ask CRAFT: Sewing With Elastic Thread

Craft & Design Yarncraft


Well, summer sewing is upon us, which means using elastic for shirred tops, dresses, and other form-fitting styles. Peggy writes in:

I am searching for a strong elastic thread for use in a 5 thread serger. I am wanting to make a coverhem stitch using elastic thread. I have tried several types of typical elastic thread. The typical elastic thread (that you can get at any retailer) is either not strong enough to use in the serger or is too thick. Do you know of a thread that like that?

I’ve only ever worked with elastic thread (the same kind you found at the fabric store) in a regular sewing machine, but based on some research, I’ve determined the principle is the same: don’t put the elastic thread through the needle. It has to come up through the bobbin (standard sewing machine) or lower looper (serger). No elastic thread that I know of is going to be strong and thin enough to come through the needle at the right tension without warping, over-stretching, or breaking. Use regular thread in the needle. I found a forum thread you might find useful, too. Do test pieces and adjust the tension on your machine if needed. You can also use conventional thread in your serger and lay down a strand of elastic thread so that it gets encased by the stitches of your serger, anchoring it at both ends.

For a good tutorial on creating a shirred look using elastic thread, check out this shirred summer dress tutorial on Threadbanger.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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