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Mrs Bowden’s top tip – elastic casings

Mrs Bowden’s top tip – elastic casings

Felixstowe Sewing School


Mrs Bowden’s top tip – how to avoid a Knicker Elastic fail
Well – this would cause a bit of comment – failed elastic.  This week’s top tip is about inserting and stabilising elastic in a casing.  
Let us first deal with what a casing is.  This is a finished hem through which elastic or ribbon can be threaded.  You most often seen casings being used in fairly casual garments such as PJ bottoms, boxer shorts or in Gypsy style tops.  Childrens wear also relies heavily on using casings as elastic waistbands are not only comfortable but also allow for growth spurts (which for grown ups can be fleeting and may directly relate to how much pudding has been consumed before putting PJ’s on!).   I have used a black thread on the calico in the photographs to show where the stitching lines are – I’m sure you will use a more sympathetic colour in your final garment.
First top tip – before you turn the casing over stitch the seam allowances down on the side seams – this reduces the chance of getting your safety pin stuck when threading the elastic through at a later date.
Second top tip – extra allowance is made for the turning of the casing in the pattern and a foldline should be indicated on your pattern.  You will need to make a dainty hem on the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying and this is stitched down about 2 or 3 mm from the edge of the hem.  Remember to leave a gap for threading through.
Third top tip – edge stitch the top of the casing around the whole waistband.  This gives a much flatter and neater appearance and reduces the chance of the elastic twisting in the garment – which is very uncomfortable.
Fourth top tip – threading through.  Make sure you secure the end of the elastic to the garment before you start threading the other end through.  It’s amazing how the ‘ping factor’ in elastic can catch you out and you end up pulling the whole lot through !
Fifth top tip – overlap the elastic and use a wide zig zag to stitch together.  This reduces bulk and encourages the elastic to lie flat.  If you are using a wide elastic zig zag over both exposed edges to make it lie flat.
Sixth top tip – once the elastic is inserted and you are happy with the fit sew down the side seams ‘in the ditch’ to hold the elastic in place.  This prevents twisting and also encourages an even distribution of stretch around the casing.
Seventh and final top tip for today – remember to edge stitch the gap closed.
I do hope you never have the dilemma of dealing with an elastic fail!

Until next time,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden

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