Different Types of Elastic For Sewing & How to Choose The Best

It’s Luna here, sharing some invaluable knowledge on the world of elastics in sewing. If you’ve ever sewn and wondered why your elastic seemed lifeless after, or perhaps you’re just wanting to ensure you choose the right elastic for your projects, this is the place to be.

Mastering Elastic: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Type for Your Sewing Projects

Understanding the Elastic Magic ✨

Elastic is amazing because it stretches immensely and reverts to its original shape. The method of attaching it to your sewing project varies based on the type. It’s vital to use a ballpoint or stretch needle and select the appropriate stitch when sewing over elastic.

Main Types of Elastics in Sewing

1. Braided Elastic

Braided elastic is identified by its parallel lines across its length. It narrows when stretched and might roll. Avoid sewing it directly onto fabrics as it loses some elasticity. This elastic is ideally kept inside casings and is best for lightweight applications.

  • Uses: Necklines, sleeve hems, and inside waistbands.

2. Knitted Elastic

Knit elastics are soft and won’t narrow when pulled. They maintain their elasticity after sewing and are skin-friendly. Although lightweight, they’re not ideal for heavy fabrics.

  • Uses: Athletic wear casings, sleeve hems, waistbands, and any part where it touches the body.

3. Woven Elastic

Woven elastic, also termed as no-roll elastic, is robust and doesn’t roll or turn over on itself. Suited for medium to heavy fabrics, it’s available in vibrant colors, making it perfect for visible waistbands.

  • Uses: Waistbands, men’s underwear, home decor, and outerwear.

Specialized Elastics

I’ve rummaged through my sewing supplies to share a few more unique types of elastics:

1. Lingerie Elastic

Typically a knit elastic used in lingerie with decorative edges. It’s soft and can be sewn in any orientation.

2. Clear Elastic

Transparent and stretchy, this elastic is suitable for lightweight to medium fabrics. Great for swimwear, ready-to-wear outfits, and athletic wear.

3. Fold-Over Elastic (FOE)

This elastic resembles a ribbon and folds over fabric edges easily. It’s a staple in many colorful and patterned creations.

  • Uses: Neck and sleeve bindings, underwear, kids’ attire, and swimwear.

4. Elastic Thread

Primarily used for creating a shirring effect. Elastic cords are perfect for doll clothes and jewelry.

5. Buttonhole Elastic

Found in adjustable waistbands. It’s versatile and can be adapted for maternity wear.

6. Sport Elastic (Swimsuit Elastic) ‍♀️

A durable elastic built for various conditions including chlorinated water and constant washing.

7. Baby Elastic

Ultra-soft and stretchy, this elastic is meant for children or doll garments.

8. Lace Elastic

Decorative elastic common in underwear and outerwear.

9. Gripping Elastic

Thick elastic with a grip, ideal for waistbands.

Expert Tips for Elastic Selection

Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right elastic:

  • Type Selection: Think about sewing method and fabric weight.
  • Size Matters: Match the elastic size to the casing and garment part.
  • Cutting Lengthwise: Usually not recommended, but some can handle it.
Details Description
Elastic Qualities Stretchy, reverts to original size.
Types of Elastic Braided, Knitted, Woven, and more.
Uses Various – from necklines to waistbands.
Specialized Elastics Lingerie, FOE, Clear Elastic, etc.
Selection Tips Type, size, and cutting method.


Complement the information with the following video: