How to Use Fold-Over Elastic

comments (14) November 11th, 2008     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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For a clean look on neckline edges, try finishing it with fold-over elastic.
The unfinished neckline is ready for the elastic binding.
Begin pinning on the elastic near the right-side shoulder seam, wrapping the elastic over the edge.
For a clean look on neckline edges, try finishing it with fold-over elastic.

For a clean look on neckline edges, try finishing it with fold-over elastic.

Photo: Cal Patch

I often leave knit edges raw, as I like the way they organically curl. But when I want a cleaner look, one of my favorite techniques is to bind the edge with fold-over elastic. This is a stretchy trim with a knitted-in foldline, so that it can be used as a binding and lie nice and flat. The biggest advantage is that it S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S! Fold-over elastic comes in several widths, a rainbow of colors, and in a shiny or matte finish. I prefer the matte, and it's what I used here.

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Apply fold-over elastic to a T-shirt neckline

1. Begin by pinning the elastic to the T-shirt's raw edge, with the elastic folded so that it wraps over the edge and the edge is sandwiched between the two layers of elastic. Start just behind the right shoulder seam. To keep it flat, stretch the elastic a little as you pin it and then sew it, meaning the elastic will be a little shorter than the length of the neck edge. Once you are comfortable with this technique, you may not have to pin it on first; I usually hop right into the sewing step. But for your first attempts, you'll probably have better success if you pin the trim on first.

The unfinished neckline is ready for the elastic binding.

Begin pinning on the elastic near the right shoulder seam, wrapping the elastic over the raw edge.

2. Stitch the elastic onto the shirt. I like to use a zigzag stitch because it stretches and looks cute. Position the needle so that when it comes down on the left, it is hitting the very edge of the elastic, and when it comes down on the right, it is in the middle of the elastic.

The needle should come down on the left side just at the edge of the elastic.


posted in: , shirt, sportswear, tshirt, neckline

Comments (14)

liz103 writes: This is very good idea. Would you tell me what kind of sewing foot you are using? I am new in this kind of sewing.
Posted: 4:04 pm on January 8th
erinlacey writes: This is a great idea! For those of you wondering where to find the trim, I found a gal with great prices. You can find her at or you can find her by searching HOBOVIAN on ETSY or EBAY. She has TONS of colors and will even send you samples to match your projects.
Posted: 1:21 am on March 3rd
grayfelter writes: I found application of stretch elastic easier when I first ironed it lengthwise and used a bias binding foot.
Posted: 7:50 pm on November 18th
limonene writes: This looks great! I'd like to try this on a dress that has a droopy neckline. What was the width of the elastic you used?
Posted: 7:32 pm on March 30th
JenniferStern writes: Hi, another thing you can do to get a "straight stitch" look is to use a regular zig-zag and adjust the stitch a little longer, like 3.5 mm and adjust the width very narrow, like 0.5 mm. Those adjustments will give your "straight zia-zag" a little give....if you need lots stretch around the edge, the stitch shown is an excellent option.
Posted: 7:25 pm on November 21st
CalPatch writes: you can use a straight stretch stitch, but a regular straight stitch won't usually stretch enough, and the stitches may break. if the neckline is big enough to fit over the head, it might not be a problem though!
Posted: 8:04 pm on November 16th
kerrlynn writes: Good idea. I would use a straight stitch to look more like ready made clothing.
Posted: 8:55 am on November 16th
Butter1 writes: My first time here. I have been looking for ribbing to trim things for my grand daughter. I guess ribbing isn't made anymore (must be old school). This is a great idea. I do shop at JoAnns and will check to see if they have it. Thanks for the idea.
Posted: 6:59 am on November 13th
CalPatch writes: i got mine at one of my local haunts, Daytona Trimmings in New York; not sure if Jo Ann has it or not since we don't have one here.
you can also get it online at SewZanne's in lots of colors, for $.50/yd:
Posted: 2:43 pm on November 12th
MistyKitty writes: here's a link. $0.29 per yd.
Posted: 1:18 pm on November 12th
GrandmaGFS writes: I'm new here and am so excited to find such a helpful how-to!
I, too, would like to know where I can purchase foldover elastic. It will be great to use on my grandkids' garments. Thanks!
Posted: 12:36 pm on November 12th
princessheart writes: Great technique! I am also curious where you can purchase foldover elastic? Do the big box stores carry it? (JoAnns, etc)
Posted: 11:20 am on November 12th
rsew writes: This is a great idea. Where can foldover elastic be
purchased and what brand is it?
Posted: 5:54 pm on November 11th
jonwen45 writes: Thank you for the "how-to". I had seen the stretch elastic on readymade clothes but had no idea that it was avaliable for the home seamstress. I am putting it on my list to get.
Thanks to you, I now know how to apply it. Well taught!!!!

Posted: 2:30 pm on November 11th
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