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How to Join Elastic

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Do you know how to join elastic easily? As a beginner, using a sewing machine to connect any types of elastic can be challenging at first. 

Whether you are working on cord or band elastic, applying the correct method to join the ends will prevent from falling apart. Locking the ends in place will allow the stretchiness to remain fixed in place without the seam busting.

How to join elastic? Overlap the ends of the elastic between ¼” to ½” or 0.64 cm to 1.3 cm, and use zigzag stitch to sew across the overlapping elastic 2 to 3 times. You may also use a rectangle shaped fabric scrap to wrap around the elastic ends and edge stitch all four sides. 

Elastic is often used to make waistbands for different clothes like leggings, trousers, skirts, and so on. Both methods will help you secure the ends on the elastic on a waistband or sleeve opening.

Joining the ends will make it easier to sew elastic into the garment and provide proper spacing. Securing the ends of the elastic will ensure that it holds its place and the joining doesn’t separate

In this article, we will cover the best stitch to join elastic and how to join different types of elastic. Answers to frequently asked questions are detailed below for you to have a clear understanding of the process. 

Can I sew elastic together?

Yes, you can sew elastic together. You can sew elastic directly to the garment to provide it a shape around ankles, waistlines, or ankles. Cut the elastic shorter than the requirement, then stretch and sew using zigzag or stretch stitch all along the band.

It is possible to sew elastic together by simply overlapping the ends, or by creating a casing on the elastic ends or directly on the wrong/underside of the fabric. 

Add a couple of pins after stretching the elastic, and sew along the fabric using 3.5 width and 1.4 length zigzag stitch. Match the stretch to the fabric. 

For best result, divide the stretched elastic into four equal parts and mark  the placement of each quarter with erasable pen. Indicate to match with the garment center and side seam to evenly distribute the shirring or ruffles

What stitch is best for elastic?

The best stitch for elastic is a zigzag stitch as it complements the stretch in the material. Sew along the overlapping elastic using this stitch 2 or 3 times to secure and connect the elastic ends. 

Another method is when using fabric scraps to join the elastic. Select straight stitch to secure all four corners to join the overlapped elastic together.

Depending on the method, you can use a straight stitch, but zigzag stitch works well with the stretch of the elastic without breaking the thread. Using a right needle, such as a twin needle, is best for this stitch on elastic, but you should always stretch the elastic while sewing it in place.

How to join elastic cord?

Lay the ends of an elastic cord beside each other and tie one end around the other end using an overhand knot. Coat the knot with clear nail polish to avoid loosening and zigzag stitch over the top.

Using matching thread to wrap around the ends many times on the overlapping of elastic ends is alternate technique to join elastic cord. 

To secure the ends coat them with clear nail polish to solder the knot to prevent it from coming undone.

How to join narrow elastic ends together?

To join narrow elastic ends, either you knot them and seal with a clear nail polish or overlap the ends and sew them. Fabric can also be added to join the elastic ends with a zigzag stitch. 

Pin the elastic ends and use a zigzag stitch. 

You can also use a washable stabilizer instead of pins. Seal the ends by cutting the elastic using a liquid fabric stabilizer. 

Use a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine to overcast the elastic ends. Look for fraying when overlapping the elastic ends, but this is why edges should be overlapped about ½” to 1”.

The best practice to join narrow elastic ends is to use washable stabilizer instead of pinning. Use fabric scraps and wet slightly so the elastic sticks to the stabilizer to join the ends much easier. 

How do you hand sew elastic ends together?

If you are beginner and having hard time to manage the speed of sewing machine, hand sewing elastic ends together is great place to start. Hand sew elastic ends together either by overlapping them or by adding a casing to hold the ends in place while joining the elastic.

Follow the steps to hand sew elastic ends together:

  • Cut the elastic to a suitable size after carefully measuring.
  • Use either zigzag stitch or alternate straight and backstitch to secure the two ends together about 10 times.
  • Stretch the elastic to make sure the stitches don’t show weakness or break.

Whether you sew 1” or ¼” width elastic by hand, sew use durable hand stitches to avoid a popped stitching when added to the garment. In addition, select the pointy and mid-size sewing needle to punch through the elastic easily.

How to sew elastic together on a sewing machine?

Using a sewing machine to sew elastic together will save you time and create durable connection that lasts long after multiple wears and washes. Either overlap the ends together or use fabric casing to join the elastic ends. 

A fabric casing will help with elastic shortage problems, and also minimize bulkiness that results from the inevitable overlap.

Follow the steps to sew elastic together on a sewing machine:

  • Measure the elastic width. The casing width should be a little wider as compared to the amount of elastic.
  • Add ½” extra to the elastic width.
  • Fold the fabric evenly with the raw edges inside the garment.
  • Mark the area to fit elastic and slide the elastic into the casing, make sure the elastic ends are sealed into the casing.
  • Sew along the casing 2 times to secure the elastic ends.

When using a sewing machine to join elastic ends together, you may encounter a problem where the sewing machine won’t sew elastic and instead begins skipping stitches or jamming the thread. 

Always start by threading the sewing machine and the bobbin properly to avoid any trouble. Change the needle and select the right thread for the project.

How to join elastic

Joining Elastic: Final Thoughts 

Joining elastic is an essential step to complete many types of waistband, sleeve, or neckline on a garment. Whether you choose hand sewing or machine sewing, the procedure is nearly the same. 

When joining the ends of elastic, backstitch or zigzag stitch multiple times to secure. The last thing you want to happen is the joining to bust open the first time it is stretched.

Slightly overlap the ends of the elastic about ½” to 1” and use zigzag stitch twice or more to stitch down with either a sewing machine or by hand sewing.

You may also use fabric scraps to join the ends to minimize the bulkiness. In this case, fully wrap the elastic ends and use straight stitch to sew all four corners to secure. 

If you are working with cord elastic, it may be challenging to hand sew or machine sew the joining. Use a water stabilizer to attach the cord elastic instead of making a knot, this will help to smooth out the ends into one nice circle. 

Sewing elastic to connect both ends may look difficult as beginner, but following the right steps will guarantee success. Use these sewing tips and technique to secure the ends of an elastic band so that you can confidently insert the loop into any area on the garment.

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