Friday, March 20, 2015

Figuring out elastic tightness/tensions

I got an email today that was sent as an MMS and wouldn't allow me to respond via email, SO...

This post is for Caroline!

Her question:
Hello! First, I must say I absolutely love your patterns and tutorials. Thank You for posting them! I just am wondering about the elastics - How do I know how tight I should make them? The pattern itself does not say and I cannot find a post about it.

My answer:
Since every brand is so different, I do it by feel.  When I teach lessons, I can always show people…  but it is hard to explain it on my blog.

I use 3/8” polyester braided elastic.  My favorite brand is Stretchrite personally.

Basically, you run it through and sew down the far end (like I show in my cased elastics tutorial).  Then, for through the legs, you pull it as tight as you can to where the fabric can still stretch all the way flat, but the elastic has no extra stretch.  Then you just release it a TINY bit and sew down on the other end of the casing and then cut the elastic about 1/2” after your sewing line.  Then repeat on the other side.  With practice, it becomes very easy to keep them even *by-feel* like this.  If you pull it too tight, the fabric won’t be able to fully stretch out.  Then you know it is too tight and to let out a little slack.  For the back elastics, I only pull about half that tight.  To where it EASILY stretches out with no resistance but still gathers when released.

It can help to sew some practice casings in scrap fabric and just play around with the feel of different elastic tensions.

Happy sewing!
- Arfy

I know this sounds a little wishy-washy, but I just don't know another way to describe what I do.  Measuring just doesn't work well because for some elastic, they'll end up too tight or too slack because every elastic just has a different amount of *give.*


  1. Replies
    1. I was trying to be a little more organized. ;) I also noticed an increase in traffic from other countries when I added the translator widget. :) My browser automatically translates, but I guess not all do, so it is helpful.
      If you ever have any suggestions of easy things I can do to make my blog more visitor-friendly, or if you have an idea of something you'd like to see a tutorial for, please don't hesitate to ask!!! :)

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  3. Thank you thank you!! I've been reading through many of your tutorials and still couldn't get a general idea of how to do it by feel. Now I have a better idea. Thank you!