Learn How SIMPLE
Digital Patterns Really Are!

Sign Up to Receive
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Sewing Patterns eBook + a FREE Skirt Pattern!


I am good at a lot of things. I am not good at even more things, including, but not limited to, gardening and sewing with elastic. I really discovered this when trying to sew the Tara top. It’s a beautiful top, with fluttery sleeves and a gorgeous, deep neckline. I love it now, but let me tell you, or better yet, let Nora and Benedikta tell you, about my experience with that top. After only three mini-disasters, I was successful, but not until I tried using a round elastic cord instead of a flat elastic tape to create the fit under the bust. I’m sure many of you had no problem with this, but I’ve decided one’s relationship with elastic is based on the Love/Hate concept. Much like a gardeners relationship with snakes. Snakes are necessary because they keep more plant-destroying predators at bay, but hated because they so sneakily appear and cause fright.

This week I’ll share the discovery that allowed me, at last, to finish at least one version of the top (and no, I did not discover a rare breed of snake— but how cool would that be!). Using zigzag stitches and a round elastic cord saved my sanity! (Okay, now you are wondering, where is she going with this snake thing? Well, normally, I don’t care much for snakes, but I recently saw a fantastic (and frightening special) about “freak” animals, including a two headed albino snake, and ever since have not been able to get reptiles, snakes, and other creatures out of my head. ) Using this technique, the cord transformed into a strong snake, slithering through blades of grass, and pulling the ground up underneath it as it goes. This snake, thankfully, does not have two heads. But seriously, the cord works. It can be as long as necessary and shortened afterwards, so there is no worry about cutting the elastic too short and too tight. So I’ve faced my fear (of elastic, and of snakes!) And then I made this how to, in case other BurdaStyle members find themselves in a similar position as they tackle the newest patterns.


  • Ee8014d4ca996c57355c462f568cd1e7ab199fe2_large

    Jul 20, 2007, 03.48 PMby mirela

    Pranamama, I love that technique with the elastic thread on the bobbin, but also the tension on the bobbin has to be looser. Somehow I can’t use it with my current Brother, but worked wonders on the older Singers back home.

    Mlssfshn, good idea with the bias tape. I’m already picturing the tape on the rightside of the fabric and maybe even in a contrasting color, on the waist band for linen pants! The stitch you mention I’m using all the time for the flat elastic, and also after attaching the scalloped elastic, turning the elastic to the underside, exposing only the scallops and topstitching over the fabric to hold the elastic band to the underside. This can be seen in this how to:Lingerie elastic

  • 20150117_152733_large

    Jul 20, 2007, 12.53 PMby mlssfshn

    I’ve also used single fold bias tape as an elastic casing. I, as well, love playing with elastic thread. There is also a stitch on most machines to sew in flat elastic, it’s a 3 step zigzag that has a stitch that runs parallel to the elastic then jumps the elastic and runs parallel to the other side. I don’t know the technical name for it though.

  • 5ff45cec2c26ab285f99e0eec5920d7e656545d6_large

    Jul 20, 2007, 12.04 PMby pranamama

    Elastic thread in your bobbin (hand-wound with slight tension) and sewn with a straight stitch works fantastically, as well. Also, can be tightened afterward in the same way as this method, if necessary, but I’ve never found it necessary.

    Nice article, thanks for the how-tos. I love this site!

  • Ee8014d4ca996c57355c462f568cd1e7ab199fe2_large

    Jul 20, 2007, 08.57 AMby mirela

    Lol! This is so funny, especially since I had a snake nightmare last night, without even seeing that special. Love snakes and elastics too, really cute comparison :)

    • This is a question
  1. Sign in to add a post


  • Editors' Pick
  • Pattern Collections
  • BurdaStyle Academy
  • Burda Challenge
  • Backstage Report
  • Fashion & Trends
  • DIY to Try
  • Tips & Techniques
  • Member Highlights
  • Sewing Projects
  • Outta Town
  • Contests & Competitions
  • Archive
  • Guest Columns
  • Videos
  • Meg's Magazine Mash Up
  • As Seen In
  • Podcast
  • Holiday