How to Sew an Elastic Casing

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An elastic casing can be both functional and decorative. Used on skirts and trousers it can be an excellent way of creating fit and adding detail.

When it comes to creating the casing for the elastic to fit into there are two basic methods you can use.

The first method, is I suppose, a more traditional way of inserting the elastic. You also have a chance to alter the length of elastic when you fit the garment so it isn’t a ‘done deal’ as it were and allows for adjustments.

A good example of this would be for children’s clothes as you can try the garment on for fit and alter as necessary.

Measure the width of the elastic being used.

 

  1.  Make up the garment and press under 6mm along the top edge to the wrong side. Fold over again to create the casing. This should be just a fraction wider than the elastic but not too wide otherwise the elastic could twist.

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  1.   Edge stitch around the top of the waist to help prevent the elastic from twisting, and it gives a neat finish to the waist too.

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  1. Pin in place and edge stitch the casing in place. Sew around the waistline but stop about 5cm from the beginning to leave a gap.

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  1.  Measure the length of elastic by holding the elastic around the waist or wrist comfortably. Allow a 1cm overlap. 

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  1.  Pin a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread this though the casing. Keep going until you get back to the gap again.

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Try This Top tip –  Pin a second safety pin to the loose end of the elastic and then pin this to the garment. This will stop the elastic accidentally being pulled into the casing and losing the end. 

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  1.  Pull both ends of elastic out through the gap and check the elastic is not twisted. Overlap the ends by 1cm and machine sew together. Make sure to reverse a couple of times to make sure the stitching is secure. 

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  1.  Tuck the seamed elastic back inside the casing and sew across the gap.

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The second method is one I personally prefer, although it can be a little tricky at first. I think it actually works out quicker and gives a more professional finish. So do have a go with this one.

This method requires the elastic to be measured and sewn into a circle before first before being sewn into the casing. I use this a lot when sewing cuffs like those on the Imogen Top.

 

  1.  Make up the garment and press under 6mm along the top edge to the wrong side. (You can also just overlock the raw edge and use that as the finished edge too). Fold over again to create the casing. This should be just a fraction wider than the elastic but not too wide otherwise the elastic could twist.

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  1.  Edge stitch around the top edge to help prevent the elastic from twisting, and it gives a neat finish to the waist too. 

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  1.  Tuck the elastic circle inside the casing and pin the casing down enclosing the elastic. Work your way around the waist hiding the elastic inside the casing and pinning in place as you go. There will be gaps and bubbles of fabric as the garment gathers up but this will disappear when the casing is sewn down. 

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  1.  Edge-stitch the casing down being carefull not to catch the elastic. Sew a couple of inches at a time removing the pins as you go. 

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  1. When you get back to the beginning overlap the stitching to secure your sewing. 

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If you want a wider waist or cuff that is elasticated you can use several rows of elastic and sew more channels. This also makes a real feature of the elasticated area. Both methods work to achieve this effect.

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