Product of the Month: Clear Elastic
January 10, 2014
You may have seen this month's product countless times but have you really noticed it. It stabilizes your t-shirt shoulders so your sleeves don't end up on your waist. It keeps the stretch in your knit dress' waists. It is also used as hanging loops for your beloved jersey LBD (Little Black Dress). It has many uses but do you use it? A few month's back my mom made a t-shirt topped twirly dress for my oldest daughter. My daughter loved it but was only able to wear it once. Why? Because the skirt pulled on the top too much and holes started to appear at the waist seam. I told my mom and she went through a slew of declarations that included:
I used the correct size needle
My tension was perfect
I used a stretch stitch
I even used a brand new stretch needle!
I assured her it was nothing that she did. She needed to add clear elastic to the waist as a stabilizer. "But that wasn't in the pattern" she replied. I know, I know it rarely is. Clear elastic is a key notion needed for sewing knit garments but I rarely see it in pattern instructions. Perhaps this post can get the word out that although not mentioned, it is best to be safe and order some clear elastic for any knit garments you are making. Add it to shoulder seams (sew it inside the seam allowance so it doesn't show on the right side of the garment), gathered waists (pulling on the elastic while you sew it in place will create great gathers) and necklines. It will prevent the floppy look that knits can adopt when under strain for too long or stretched out. The clear elastic helps by absorbing some of the stretch of the area and then it bounces back, helping the knit fabric to recover as well. Clear elastic is tricky to work with at first because it is more rubbery than the more common elastic and you must use one hand to steer the elastic and one to steer the fabric but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. I used a stretch stitch that my machine's manual suggested for sewing on elastic and a stretch needle as opposed to a ball point. The stretch needle pierces the elastic better than a ball point and I don't have to switch needle to sew the rest of my garment.
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