Knit Elastic used in Sewing
Elastic is awesome! Knit elastic helps to create stretchy-relaxed comfortable waistbands, fitted sleeves or leg cuffs; use in casings or apply directly to fabric. Elastic is mostly functional but you can also find elastics that are used for function AND decorative style!
I have been sewing for MANY years and the most of the sewing projects with elastic that I’ve sewn are pants; pajama/regular pants or shorts for my boys……..when they were younger. I’ve also made nightgowns for girls that have had the elastic fitted arm cuffs. I’ve also made simple skirts and pants for myself that have elastic waistbands.
I’ve never gone out and specifically looked for any one type of elastic. I just have always bought the width/length of elastic that a pattern mentions and never gave elastic types a second thought until now as I write this post. I have learned more about the elastics, learning is good, but feel OVERWHELMED at the same time!
Based on information I’ve read AND the sewing experience I’ve had with elastic, I will focus on KNIT elastics and try to keep information simple and easy to understand!
Knit elastic is the most common type of elastic for sewing clothing and can be used on some craft projects too.
Knit elastics come in varying widths, narrow width elastic will be used in neck and arm/wrist areas while a wider width will be used for waistbands.
Knit Elastics are best used with fabrics that are light to medium weight.
Knit Elastic F.A.Q’s
Can you sew thru Knit Elastic?
YES- You can sew thru knit elastic to apply directly to fabric, knit elastic also has a soft touch to the skin. (Not unless you have a skin type that many things feel rough to the skin)
Are there different colors of Knit Elastics?
If you are going to put the elastic in a casing where it is unseen, use a white or black color. If you’d like to use elastic on the fabric and make a color statement, there are many different colors and designs to choose from!
Are there different widths of Knit Elastics?
Areas such as necklines and arm bands will have a more narrow elastic, while waistbands will have a wider width. Keep it simple- If you are following a pattern, use the width of elastic the pattern tells you to get.
What is Knit Elastic made of ?
Most knit elastic is approximately 67% polyester and 33% rubber.
Does Knit Elastic lose it’s Stretch-ability ?
Overtime elastic will eventually lose the ability to be stretchy. Heat from washing/drying has an effect on the materials in Knit Elastic as well as bleach. Reduce heat damage and don’t iron over elastic and machine wash cold/line dry when possible.
Can you cut Knit Elastic Lengthwise?
Yes you can- AS LONG AS you cut between the length ribs of elastic. (The type of elastic tested for this answer was non-roll knit elastic) If you cut crooked and cut an elastic rib, you will see a bit of fraying. Stay between the elastic ribs and you elastic we be just fine! Check out the video below…
If you are just beginning in your sewing adventures but would like an overview of various elastic types and their uses, check out this great page about Elastic by JoAnns Fabrics.
If you have been sewing quite a few projects with varying widths and lengths of elastic, you may have many packages of elastic laying around in a pile- I know I do! Recently I found a knit elastic that comes in a roll that you can not only cut to length BUT also to width! You may have read that you are not supposed to cut knit elastic to different widths because they can ravel, but Fantastic Elastic is an exception to that rule! Read about Fantastic Elastic… (Amy purchased this elastic from Madam Sew for personal use- this is NOT a paid endorsement.)
What is ‘Fantastic Elastic’?
Fantastic Elastic is a special knit elastic that is sold on a roll so you can cut your desired length AND….believe it or not…..cut to the width you need!
“You can cut this knitted elastic any width and any length you want. Cut this 1-¼ Inch wide elastic lengthwise to a width of 1/4” without raveling, fraying or compromising the stretch. No more running to the store to have the exact width or stocking 5 types of elastic!” This bit of quoted text taken directly from the Fantastic Elastic Product description on Madam Sew Website.
Should you buy Elastic in a package or on a roll?
If you will be using a particular width of elastic with many different projects, you may save money by purchasing a roll of elastic. Just do a little math and figure out how much elastic is by the yard. EXAMPLE: Maybe you want to price 1/2″ wide knit elastic by the yard- take a package price and divide it by the number of yards in that package. Take that price (make the same calculation to find how much per yard on a roll) and compare it to how much the elastic is priced by the yard on a roll.
Decorative types of Knit Elastics
In addition to all the various general purpose widths and lengths that knit elastic comes in, there are also special use knit elastics. So far, in my searching I have found….
Drawstring Elastic Waistband
This elastic has a drawstring cord in the middle allowing you to have THE PERFECT FIT.
Non-Roll Elastic is the type of elastic that is common for use in waist bands. Just make note that “no-Roll’ elastic comes in Knit and Woven Elastic. The only difference is to choose the correct type for the fabric weight you are working with. Use Non-Roll KNIT Elastic for light to medium weight fabrics; use Non-Roll WOVEN elastic for medium to heavy weight fabrics.
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I’m hoping you found this information about Knit Elastics helpful! Be sure to check out more Sewing Basics for the Sewing Beginner!
Happy Sewing to you!