An easier way to sew elastic casings

sew_elastic_into_a_circleThis is one of those things that I think everybody knows already so why do a tutorial on it, but I’ve needed to show it to 2 people in the last month. I would consider these people to be experienced, so I’m thinking it should be better known. This tutorial will show you how to insert elastic into a casing without resorting to using a safety pin or bodkin. It won’t help for elastic that is stitched down so all I can say is use what you can and leave the rest.

The first step is to sew the elastic into a loop (without twists obviously). This is pictured at right.

Second step (below), have the garment or product ready for the casing. Meaning, finish off the side seams and what have you. For my sample, I’ve sewn one seam into a rectangle of muslin. As per my usual, I’m using a contrasting color thread so you can see the stitching.


Step three (below), in preparation for this tutorial, I’ve pressed in a tiny hem for the casing hem. Normally I would not do that. I would turn under the edge as I went along but I did it for this tutorial so I would have fewer things to manage. Another option would be to overlock that edge. But anyway, you can see the elastic is laid up against the turned hem because I’ll fold it to create the casing.


Step 4 below, I’ve folded a hem (casing) to cover the elastic. Use your usual casing allowance. The casing allowance should be 1/4″ deeper than the width of your elastic. This is for two reasons. The first is obvious—you don’t want to catch the elastic in the seam. Second, the elastic does its work much better if it is not wedged into a casing like a sausage.


Step 5, the casing is positioned under the needle for sewing.


Step 6, sew and sew some more. After a bit, you’ll “run out” of elastic. You need to raise the presser foot (with needle down) and pull the elastic from the sewn portion of the casing to give you a clean sewing target.


Step 7 below is but more of the same. This is the home stretch. Eventually you’ll end up where you started.


And below is the finished effect.


Hope you found this tip helpful, happy stitching!

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  1. Destiny Edmonds says:

    Ah! So this is how the pros do it! I did some skirts with elastic waistbands last year and am getting paid to do some more and I was like “I need to do this faster this time” SOO glad I found this, THANK YOU!!

  2. Deborah says:

    I have been sewing for years and always made the casing then put the elastic through with a safety pen this is much better I will have to try this next time thanks

  3. Morissa says:

    I knew that was an easier way to do this!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now i can finally finish my kids pajama pants.

  4. Mariruth Brown says:

    When I try the printer-friendly version I don’t get the pictures. What am I doing wrong. I am a beginner sewer and need to follow visual directions as well.

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