Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fix your rolls!

Eeek! When I sew elastic waistbands, I prefer to make the kind that have a casing (tube) that you push the elastic through. I think it is quick, easy and looks neat--that's neat like orderly, not neat like cool, BTW! I have been making these for a long time and they generally work just fine, but I still get elastic that rolls sometimes after the item has been washed a few times. Like this:

You generally don't see this with store-bought clothing because an elastic waistband is usually made by stretching the elastic along the fabric and sewing it down the entire length of the elastic at least a couple of times. That elastic isn't going anywhere! While I like the concept, I don't like the look as well for most of the items I sew. It seems a little unfinished to me.

Why does the elastic roll, then? I really don't know for sure, but I know it will roll when the casing is too big. If you have gathered too much fabric (trying to make a too-big size fit a smaller waist by tightening the elastic for instance), the elastic will be stretched a lot and seems to roll easily. Cheap elastic tends to roll pretty easily, too.

But sometimes there isn't an identifiable reason. This was one of those times. These PJ shorts have been washed many times and I noticed when I was folding them that the elastic was in horrible shape.
Have no fear; we can fix this!

{First} Wash the item a couple of times, at least, so the elastic can snap back into shape after being stretched into the casing when you made the item. It will also help the fabric naturally even itself out along the elastic so it isn't bunched in various places like it is when you first put it in.

{Second} Gently ease the elastic back into place in the casing the way it should be. Try not to bunch up the fabric or stretch out the elastic as you do this. It is kind of like kneading the elastic to make it turn or roll the direction you want it to go.

{Third} Once it is flat, sew it down by stitching a straight line on the outside of the item in the seams. This will force the elastic to stay in place. Sew along the seam as close as possible so that the stitching line doesn't stand out. Be sure you are sewing on the outside so it looks good--it won't be as neat on the other side.

{Fourth} Sew straight lines halfway between the two seams on each side (front and back) of the item. When you are finished, you will have sewn in 4 places along the waistband. This should do the trick!

Here's to flat and smooth waistbands!
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Cortnie,  said... June 11, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

Whadda ya mean you don't know how to do it? look at all that time you've got on your hands! ;) You should totally learn how!
I do have to say though, you totally could...not too complicated!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving the kind words.

Danielle,  said... June 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

Thank you so much for sharing this! I have a store-bought top that has an elastic band under the bust...it gets twisted e-v-e-r-y time I wash it and it's such a pain to try to untwist it through the fabric. I'm going to fix that badboy for good.

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