How to attach fold-over elastic onto lingerie

I wrote about attaching fold-over elastic previously and currently i'm going back through posts seeing how I can update/rewrite them to benefit you so with more information and just because I love to hear the noise of my fingers hitting the keys.

Fold over elastic is an elastic that (like it says ) can be folded over, so it becomes half its width and it encases the edge of a piece of lingerie. I love this little beauty, it promote clean lines, blocks of colour and gives a hum-dig of a clean finish.

There are a couple of ways to attach it depending on your skill level of sewing, so lingerie patterns at the ready here we go.

Ensure the lingerie pattern you are using has no seam allowance on any part that you are attaching the fold over elastic, for example if your pattern has seam allowance around the legs of your brief and you attach fold-over elastic there then the gusset part (bit between your legs) is going to be very wide and uncomfortable. So if it does trace the pattern and cut off the seam allowance (if there is no measurement it's usually 6mm).

BEGINNER

When starting out it might be easier to sew the elastic in a two step operation, although once your confidence and your straightness of your stitches gets better, notch it up a level and sew the elastic in one operation (reasons why in a moment).

1. So what you are going to do is place the elastic behind the raw edge (see step one you've smashed out).

 Elastic is behind the fabric

Elastic is behind the fabric

2. Get the fabric as close to the fold in the elastic as possible, this will ensure that the fabric doesn't slip out and that the elastic is flush with the fabric around the whole piece. With the stitch set at zig zag stitch, to gain slight tension on the elastic I have a pen mark on my sewing machine in which I pull (with my right hand) the elastic to. I then grip the fabric and let the machine sew. I use my left hand to gently either keep the fabric flat or gently push the fabric towards the needle, this ensures that the fabric doesn't stretch which would then result in a wavy appearance.

 Sew zig zag on top of fabric with elastic underneath

Sew zig zag on top of fabric with elastic underneath

3. Once all attached, fold over the elastic encasing the raw edge, you will need to have a slight tension again, so the fabric sits flat (pull the same amount as first application) and again with the zigzag stitch, line up your sewing foot with the edge of the elastic begin to sew. Using the edge of the foot means that you will have a straight stitch the whole way round.

 Second application of zig zag stitching attaching the fold over elastic.

Second application of zig zag stitching attaching the fold over elastic.

Now the only problem with sewing in two operations is that this may cause your elastic to make S-shape waves. The more thread you have whilst sewing the less chance the elastic has to snap back to it's original state. On brushed back elastic this doesn't cause so much as a problem as the elastic is firmer.

*Instead of pulling the elastic to achieve it's tension, another way is to sew the brief together fully then measure out the elastic, sew the ends together so you have a circle, then pin at the side seam, fold both (elastic and brief) in half pin at that point, then fold so you get the quarter mark and pin again at that point (so you have four pins in each at the quarter point). Do whatever you find easier, it's just a personal preference of mine to sew the side seam lasts using fold-over elastic. 

SEWING IN ONE STEP

To be able to sew in one step, will be quicker and neater. To sew in one step:

1. Fold over the elastic and zig zag together when you have enough elastic at the back to hold onto, keep the needle down into the elastic and place the fabric in between, sandwiching the fabric with the elastic.

 Sewing fold-over elastic in one operation

Sewing fold-over elastic in one operation

2. Holding the elastic at a slight tension begin to sew with a zig zag stitch. The hardest bit about this is not letting the fabric slip out when you go around the curves of legs.

With attaching the elastic with one operation also gives you a cleaner finish on the reverse.

 Left side is attaching the elastic in two steps, right is attaching the elastic in one step.

Left side is attaching the elastic in two steps, right is attaching the elastic in one step.