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Sewing Elastic 101

Learn about the different types of elastic and where to apply them for the best results

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Learn about the different types of elastic and on which sewing project each work best, in this video hosted by garment sewing expert Judith Neukam.

Judith explains why it’s helpful to have a range of elastics in different widths, from 1/8 inch to 3 inches. Elastics that are 1/8 inch wide are helpful for shirring, for example.

Several other types are discussed, including: drawcord elastic, buttonhole elastic, foldover elastic, non-roll elastic, and stretch lace.

Judith also delves into the varying fiber content of elastics, an important detail to keep in mind when choosing elastic for swimwear and other garments.

This detailed tutorial is one episode in Season 2 of  the comprehensive Teach Yourself to Sew series.


Teach Yourself to Sew

Judith, the series host, got her first taste of sewing when she took the free lessons that came with her mother’s sewing machine purchase. Judith was 9 at the time. Soon after, she was sewing her own clothes and feeding her passion for the craft. In her Teach Yourself to Sew series, Judith shares her enduring love of sewing and her invaluable years of sewing experience.

Getting started

She starts with discussing the equipment and the essential sewing notions for anyone who sews. You’ll learn about shopping for fabrics, choosing patterns (including selecting the correct size), and planning the perfect pattern layout. From machine-sewing simple seams to inserting zippers and stitching buttonholes, Judith demonstrates the key steps to making a custom garment.

Discover methods for clean-finishing seam allowances and applying facings so all edges are neat. To add shape to garments, Judith explains how and why to sew darts, and how to gather fabric for volume. Other garment elements, such as sleeves, pockets, and elasticized waistbands, are shown in easy-to-follow video tutorials.

Advancing your skills

When you’re ready to challenge yourself further, tune in to Judith’s overview of couture garments and sewing techniques. Even if you never intend to become the next Coco Chanel, you’ll learn methods that add quality to your everyday wardrobe. Find out how to perfectly match stripes, plaids, and prints; baste seams; and insert underlinings and linings.

Finally, Judith shares the basics of pattern fitting and adjustment. Her method begins at the shoulders, ensuring the garment hangs properly. Follow along as Judith shows how to create a shoulder template that you can use again and again to adjust patterns before cutting the fabric. As a bonus, you’ll even learn how to create a custom dress form so you can fit garments on a body that truly represents your true body shape.

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