Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

removing serged elastic

organdy | Posted in General Sewing Info on

i’ve ‘inherited’ quite a few ready-wear slax and skirts that need the waists re-sized. the elastics were serged. i know there’s a way to ‘pull a thread’ and undo all the serging, but which thread? and wasn’t there a threads article about this, also? thanks for your clues.


  1. starzoe | | #1

    I know it is a quandry "which thread". In my experience, there is no common thread, it probably depends on the machine and I found that the only solution is to pick around with a needle or seam ripper until you find the end that works. The other technique is to get an end open and seam rip the length from between the elastic and the fabric, in any case it is a tedious job.

    1. jei | | #3

      Unpick the stitches enough to find the short one.  If it is a 4 thread serged seam, there will be 2 short ones and 2 long ones.  Pull on the short threads to remove them.  I usually do this separately - that is I remove one, then the other.  Vola, now the 2 long threads are no longer anchored and they ravel off cleanly.  I learnt how to do this when I took a Palmer/Pletsch course many years ago.


      1. organdy | | #5

        thanks for the clues. i don't have a serger, but i think i can identify the 'short' (they run on top??) vs. long threads, and the left to right unraveling tip is helpful. so far, i'm making my best progress with my trusty seam ripper.

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I agree with Starzoe, however, for what it's worth... I usually note the thread unravels from the left to the right... if and when you "magically" pick the right thread!  The industrial machines used in ready to wear are unknown to me.  It would be wonderful if someone out there has some insight to this dilemma.

    Edited 10/29/2009 12:19 pm by sewelegant

  3. stillsuesew | | #4

    I agree with Jei. It is the needle threads you are looking for. You may be able to pull a few inches at a time until something breaks and then the wrapping threads fall off. But sometimes it just doesn't work and you have to run the seam ripper along the edge and just mess with it. Not a fun job.

  4. jjgg | | #6

    To remove serging threads you need to pull out the needle threads, BUT, if it's serged elastic you most likely won't be able to pull the threads, so it's going to be a matter of very very carefully clipping lots of short threads to get the elastic out without damaging the fabric. This is a very tiresome and tedious job, but it can be done.

    1. KharminJ | | #7

      When you get done with the seam ripper, you'll have lots (and lots!) of tiny pieces of thread stuck in both fabrics and probably the edge of the elastic ~ Grrr! A lint roller or brush, or a piece of duct tape wrapped sticky-side-out around a finger, can grab most of them. It's very satisfying to see the clean fabric - makes me feel like "I've really accomplished somethin, here!"

      Happy adjusting! Kharmin

  5. SueV | | #8

    Hiyya. I am assuming these items have elastic that has been serged onto the edge of the fabric and the fabric folded over once and stitched again in order to hold the elastic in the folded over position.If it were I (isn't it funny how, when you use the proper grammar, sometimes it sounds weird?), I would pull only the stitching that keeps the elastic folded over and then, when it's opened up, cut off the serged edge that connects the elastic to the fabric, just to the edge of the serged seam, but no more. Entirely clean seam edge and the old elastic will just fall away. You will lose about 1/8 - 1/4 inch of the fabric, depending on the width of the serged seam, but if necessary, you can replace the elastic you've cut off with some that is a little narrower, if necessary. Saves a lot of time. If that elastic is at all worn, you will want to replace it entirely anyway. Or you could try eating your way into them. 8-} I've done that with a few things myownself. They lay there for a few years waiting for the waist to be taken in but by the time I try them on, tada, they fit! Middle age happens.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More