Top Edge Wrapped Elastic Application

Top Edge Wrapped Elastic Application

Below, you can see the technique I love for applying elastic.  I like to use a firm elastic 1 1/4″ wide.  I just measure how much I need by pulling it tightly around my hips (after all, you have to get it on and off!).  Realize that any and all elastics WILL stretch out some when stitched!  Instead of lapping one end over the other to stitch it into a circle, I grab a scrap of fabric and butt the ends, zig zag stitching back and forth so it is a VERY secure joining. What you see in the photo below is described in the caption…

Butt elastic and stitch on a scrap of fabric. Then stitch on RIGHT side of skirt, top edges even in a 1/4″ seam.

As in most applications, I then divide the garment and the circle of elastic into quarters, match those, placing the seam of the elastic at center back, on the OUTSIDE, the RIGHT SIDE of the garment.  Stretch elastic to fit garment and stitch with a longer stitch length than normal, polyester thread.  I don’t see a need to serge as it is completely enclosed.

Then……when the elastic flips to the INSIDE of the garment, the upper edge is ‘wrapped’ with the garment fabric.  The edge of the elastic at the seam line turns into the ‘top’ of your garment waist, so you really need to allow for twice the depth of the seam (I sew on at 1/4″ – so my ‘allowance for this is 1/2″)  to where you want the VERY TOP of your garment to be.

Now just ‘stitch in the ditch’ at the side seams (and maybe the center back) and WALA – you’re done.  You could stitch around the lower edge of the elastic, through the garment and the elastic, but really that just makes it look more home-made, AND will further serve to stretch out the elastic.  Steaming always shrinks elastic again some.

Flip elastic to inside of the skirt, wrapping upper elastic edge. Stitch in ditch from outside at side seams.


Based on my own experience,It is my opinion that when garments hang in one’s closet or storage and are not laundered, that the elastic just dries out – it has not been ‘hydrated’ in washing.  As our lifestyles change, our need for clothing does as well – and if you don’t clean out your closet, getting rid of what you are not wearing, garments hang, don’t get ‘dirty’, and don’t get washed (hydrated.)  Do you agree?  Have you ever gone to put on a garment for the first time in a long time, and found the elastic was just ‘rotten’?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on elastic.  COMMENT below, and let’s have a discussion…..

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1 Response

  1. Carolyn F. says:

    I have wondered if, over the years, the elastics have changed in chemical makeup or the manufacturing process. I also wonder if the more expensive elastics from years ago were better. I find that some of the baby or children’s clothes I made for my children (30 – 40 yrs ago) with elastic waists, etc. are rotten and others are just fine. I found a roll of elastic, never used, that I purchased several years ago and had to throw it out because it had no stretch. It was even sticky/gooey feeling on my hands.

    I like that method of sewing elastic onto the waistband and have used it. I add a piece of fabric over the zig-zag just to dress up or cover the area for looks and to indicate the back of the garment. I also use that method of joining the elastic for inserting into a casing. It is smoother than a lapped join.

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