elastic sewing tips Nancy Zieman

I thought I was rather proficient when it came to sewing with elastic. After all, I’ve produced at least six Sewing With Nancy TV shows on the topic over the years. So when we decided to produce another show on the topic, I thought I’d be showing many of the same techniques that I last taught 10 years ago. Hmm, a sting usually follows smugness! The sting was that I realized that I didn’t know it all when it came to elastics.

You can cut this elastic to any width and it’s still usable!

My big surprise came when I learned that a certain type of elastic could be cut lengthwise to a width of ¼″ without raveling or compromising the stretch. It’s knitted elastic called, Fantastic Elastic. The width is 1-1/2” wide, but it certainly doesn’t have to be used in that width. Simply cut the elastic to the needed width; follow along a “rib” of the elastic. Presto—narrower elastic.

elastic sewing tips Nancy Zieman

Okay, I thought to myself, I bet if I don’t stay or cut within the same rib, the elastic will ravel! Smugness was returning. So rather than carefully cutting, I sped the process along with my scissors vacillating between two to three ribs. The miscut areas raveled down to the narrowest rib, keeping the integrity of the initial cutting line. Another sting!

Long story short, I learned something new and then passed that information along in a TV series, book, and DVD with the title, Sew Elastics—Stretch Your Options.

Sew Elastic - Stretch Your Options

My favorite elastic technique

Watch the Sewing With Nancy show and you’ll see an elastic technique that I borrowed from ready to wear. I’m not fond of elastic waistlines, especially the telltale topstitching. With this streamlined process, the topstitching step is gone.

elastic sewing tips Nancy Zieman

  • Quarter-mark the elastic and waistline like you normally would. Zigzag or serge the elastic to the waistline edge.
  • Notice the ends of the elastic are not overlapped, but stitched to an anchor cloth—a scrap of fabric—and then the excess fabric is trimmed away. It’s a less bulky way to sew the elastic into a circle.

elastic sewing tips Nancy Zieman

  • Turn the elastic to the inside.
  • Now here’s the different step, rather than topstitching the elastic, stitch-in-the ditch at the side seams.

elastic sewing tips Nancy Zieman

  • That’s it! When you wear the skirt or pants, the fabric just flows around the waistline. It looks and feels great.

elastic sewing tips Nancy Zieman

Watch Sewing With Nancy Online

Watch the first episode of Elastic–Stretch Your Options online. It’s the featured video this week.

Sewing With Nancy watch online at www.nancyzieman.com

(There are 51 other options to watch, too!) Or, watch online, or on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. Have you downloaded the app?

Nancy's GiveawayFor a chance to win a copy of the book, Sew Elastics—Stretch Your Options, tell me which elastic tip is your favorite from this 2-part series. The random winner will be posted on August 2nd.

Lesson Learned

My lesson from producing this series, I’ll try to be more humble—I hate that stinging sensation!


Nancy's Giveaway WinnerThe random winner of two tickets to Quilt Expo is Alice Figi Brooks. I look forward to the Expo every year for numerous reasons. I spend the days with friends—good quality time. I enjoy the lectures, the quilt displays, and the vendor mall. I love seeing what is new in the quilt world and getting inspired all over again!

Enjoy the 8th annual Quilt Expo, September 6–8, 2012, in Madison, WI, in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center. I have the pleasure of partnering with Wisconsin Public Television to produce this robust annual event for quilters.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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