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Elastic - Choosing the Right Type for Your Project

Using elastic in sewing allows your fabric to be stretched to better keep it in place. Elastic is the perfect material to use for growing children, babies, or for clothes worn for comfort and meant to be kept in place. There are many varieties of elastic that should be used for different projects and purposes. The most popular type of elastic is used in waistbands, but there are a variety of instances where elastic could be used. Use this guide to learn about the different types of elastic and which type to use for the project you are working on. Also check out our projects using elastic at the Think Crafts blog.

 Types of Elastic, Materials, and How to Choose the Right Kind | Discount Craft Supplies

Different Purposes for Elastic

Underwear, Pajama, and Lingerie Elastic

This type of elastic is meant to come in direct contact with skin and accordingly should be soft. With pajama elastic, the elastic is usually sewn directly onto the fabric. If  you are making pajamas or underwear it is important to use this type of elastic as you want something that can stretch and return to it’s original shape so it can be more comfortably worn. Another option for elastic meant to be worn against the skin is plush, or fold-over elastic. Fold-over elastic can bind any edge and is a good replacement for bias tape. It will easily go over corners or edges with no puckering.

Conrad Jarvis Pajama Elastic 1 1/4 in x 1 1/4 yd White

Lingerie elastic is heat resistant so it will not shrink. In can be inserted into the fabric or sewn directly onto fabric and come in contact with the skin. This elastic is good for the waistband or leg band of underwear, bodysuits, and slips.

Singer Lingerie Elastic White 5/16 & 1/2 in.

Baby Elastic

Baby elastic is made specifically to be used in baby clothing. It is both heat resistant and can easily stretch and resume its shape. The smaller width of this elastic makes it easy to be sewn inside of fabric or it can come in direct contact with the skin. Baby elastic also comes in a fold-over style which can add a decorative touch to your homemade clothing.

Singer Braided Baby Elastic White 1/4 in. x 3 yd.

Swim Elastic

Swimwear elastic should be labeled as safe for any elements you might face while swimming. This includes saltwater, chlorine, and sunscreen. Also, due to the high temperatures in hot tubs, be sure to look at the heat resistance of the elastic you are using. A lightweight, clear elastic can also be a great option for swimwear. This type of elastic can usually stretch three to four times its original length.

Conrad Jarvis Cotton Swim Elastic Reel 3/8 in x 70 yd Natural (70 yards)

Sport Elastic

For sports shorts and other sports equipment, be sure the elastic you are using is resistant to perspiration and can be machine-washed without losing its shape and elasticity. To get creative, try putting elastic on the top of soccer socks to prevent them from coming down over shin guards.

Stretchrite Knit Sport Elastic 1 1/2 in. x 25 yd White (25 yards)The Types of Elastic

Braided Elastic

Braided elastic is usually light weight and narrows when stretched. Braided elastic has a longer life expectancy than other elastics such as knit elastic and can be a good option for an item you know will get heavy use. It can be encased in fabric or sewn directly onto fabric and exposed to skin.

Stretchrite Braided Elastic Flat 1 in. x 30 yd Black (30 yards)


Knit Elastic

Knit elastic is soft and comfortable. It will not narrow when stretched and is shrink resistant. Knit elastic is a great option for items you will wash and wear. It is commonly sewn inside of fabric but can be sewn directly on your project and have contact with skin.

Knit Elastic by Dritz Grey 1 in. x 3 yd.

Cord Elastic

Cord elastic is made to be comfortable against skin and is commonly used in both jewelery making and in clothing that does not require as much stretch. The smaller size makes it a good option to use in baby clothes or when making clothing for dolls. Cord elastic is also commonly used to make button loops. It is recommended to hand wash and air dry. 

DIY Insulated Mug Cozy


Buttonhole Elastic

Buttonhole elastic comes with evenly spaced holes created with the intention of using a button. This can be a great option for children clothing or for maternity clothes. You can stretch the amount needed and then button to create the perfect sized waistband. This type of elastic is usually machine washable.

Stretchrite Knit Elastic Button Hole 3/4 in. x 30 yd. White (30 yards)

Drawstring Elastic

Drawstring elastic comes with a drawstring inside. This is used to create the perfect size and resistance for a waistband. This is a great option for sports as it will allow shorts or pants to stay up with a greater amount of resistance. This can also be a great option for pajama pants.

Stretchrite Knit Elastic Drawstring 1 1/4 in. x 25 yd. White (25 yards)

Tips for Using Elastic

1. Follow the pattern to discover the correct length of elastic to use.

2. Stretch out your elastic a few times before making the final cut, this will prevent your elastic from becoming loose over time.

3. A ballpoint needle is recommended when sewing elastic as it will not create tears.

4. When sewing elastic to a fabric use a stretch stitch or zig-zag stitch to allow it to stretch with the elastic.  

5. When storing elastic keep it out of direct sunlight and make sure it is not stretched when stored.


Projects Using Elastic

Elastic Ring

DIY Door Latch Covers

Cord Keeper Roll-Up

Bat Mask

DIY Tunic Style Shirt

DIY Insulated Mug Cozy

DIY Poncho Shirt Tutorial

DIY Poncho Shirt Tutorial

Check out these other crafts using elastic at our blog,!

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