Do you whine, kick and pout when it comes time to thread elastic in a casing?? I’m here to tell you a secret… I almost NEVER thread elastic. That’s right, I usually do not thread elastic; instead I use a trick my mom taught me and sew the elastic and casing in the round, in one step. Just about the only time I thread elastic is when I’m taking tutorial pictures for patterns 😉 This method (with practice) is quick and leaves you with a very professional finish.
You will be stitching your elastic in a loop, then sewing the casing with the elastic inside in one step, woo-hoo! Now this is NOT a beginner trick. If you are new to sewing, I do not suggest this method because it is a little tricky since there are a lot of variables..
I’m going to show you this method via photos and a video and try to further explain at the end of the post. Quick steps…
1- Sew elastic in loop.
2- Optional- press casing with iron per tutorial.
3- Slip elastic loop inside casing. Butt the elastic to the seam OR folded edge of casing.
4- Edge stitch the casing, being careful not to stitch on the elastic. I use the foot of the sewing or coverstitch machine as a guide.
5- Optional leave a small opening at end of casing. Try on garment to see if elastic needs adjusted.
First is photos of a wrist casing on knit fabric, with a coverstitch machine.
Next a video of a waist casing with woven fabric, on a sewing machine. This video is embedded in the Mama Lily and Lillian patterns, however I use this same method on the Millie and Megan patterns. NOTE- elastic portion starts at about minute 4:35.
Last photos of a neck casing with woven fabric, on a sewing machine. Note- I took these photos so long ago it was for our Mother Sews Best blog when I released the Brair Rose pattern. I can’t find the original photos, so it still has that watermark 😉
Now that you’ve “seen” the method, I will try to explain. The reason this is tricky, is you need to know how much your elastic is going to gather in the casing AND know how to gauge the elasticity of the elastic.
Is the elastic going to gather in the casing a lot or a little? If it is going to gather a lot, I cut my elastic shorter than given in the tutorial. Why?? Since it’s gathering a lot, you’re going to be stretching and pulling the elastic a little as you sew and maybe losing some of it’s elasticity.
This is NOT something I can give you a precise number for. I can not say, always cut your elastic 2″ shorter, this is something you will need to be able to gauge yourself and only be able to understand through experience. Kind of like a knit binding or bands, this is something you will learn to with practice. My mom does not sew in her elastic in a loop first… she always sews the elastic in the casing (like above), cuts the length of elastic “by feel” at the end and stitches the elastic together before closing the casing.
To make this easier, you can press your casings with an iron first. Just like in your pattern tutorial, for example, press 1/4″ to wrong side and then 3/8″ toward wrong side. Then you would just slip your elastic loop in and edge stitch your casing. You can see in the peasant dress photos, I pressed 1/4″ to the wrong side first. I then used that 1/4″ as a guide to butt next to my elastic and create the casing.
This method will work on both knits or woven fabrics and if you’re using on a sewing machine or coverstitch machine. I suggest trying and learning on your sewing machine, then once you’re comfortable try on your coverstitch. It will work if you’re creating a casing for a peasant neckline, sleeve, leg, wrist or waist elastic… ALMOST any type of elastic casing.
I hope this saves you some time and helps you no longer dread casings 😉 Pop over to the M4M FB group and let me know if you tried this!