How to Sew Elastic to Fabric

You can sew lengths of elastic directly to the wrong side of the fabric to shape a garment at wrists, ankles, and waistlines. Choose woven or knitted elastic that is soft enough to wear close to your skin. Cut it slightly shorter than you need because it stretches during sewing. Sew with a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch, which will stretch along with the elastic.

  1. Finish the hem of the garment, if applicable. Mark the seam allowances at the sides of the garment piece. Fold the fabric between the marks into four equal sections. Mark the folds with pins. Fold the elastic into fourths and mark with pins the same way.
  2. Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the garment, matching the three pins on the elastic and on the fabric. Add pins as needed to stretch the elastic across the entire length of the fabric. Leave 1/2″ (1.3cm) of fabric free at each end for the seam allowance.
  3. Switch the elastic to the fabric, stretching the elastic between the pins. Hold the fabric taut with one hand and the other in front. Let the feed dogs move the fabric as you sew.