How to Use Fold-over Elasticcomments (14) November 11th, 2008
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 a few different widths, a rainbow of colors, and in shiny or matte. I prefer the matte and it's what I used here.
First I will show you how to use this trim flat, on the neckline of this T-shirt I'm making:
1. Begin by pinning the elastic to your raw edge, with the elastic folded so that it wraps over the edge and the edge is sandwiched between the two layers of elastic. I like to start just behind the right shoulder seam. You'll want to stretch the elastic a little as you sew it to keep it flat, so you should pin it on a little smaller than 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.
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.
3. Take a few stitches into the elastic to get going, then start stretching the elastic as you go. It may take a few tests before you get a feel for how much to stretch; if you don't stretch it enough, the edge will be wavy instead of flat. When you come back around to where you started, just overlap the elastic for about 1/2 inch or so and backstitch.
Once you get the hang of it, this might just be your favorite neckline finish! You can also use this nifty trim to make a gathered edge that stretches, which is what I did for the cuffs on my shirt. All you have to do is really stretch the heck out of the elastic as you're sewing it on; everything else is the same. Again, it may seem a little tricky at first, but just play around on some scraps before you attempt it on a real garment and I think you'll quickly be pleased with your results. Soon you'll wonder how you ever finished all those knit edges before!