We will know one of the most enigmatic and unknown materials in sewing: the transparent elastic. The use of this almost invisible tape will improve the final appearance of your knitwear so much that it will seem that you have industrial machinery at home.
The uses of transparent elastic are:
- Stabilize seams.
We will see in detail the techniques and steps necessary to work with this alien-looking tape. Whether you have an overlock machine, or if you only have a flat machine, the results in both are great!
Garments point needs their seams are elastic and adapt to the flexibility inherent in these tissues. To ensure that shoulders and necklines do not deform when stretched, and get to recover the original length and shape, you have to stabilize your seams. To enhance this aspect, the use of threads with elasticity is also indicated.
Sewing with an overlock machine
To sew the transparent elastic with an overlock we will consider:
- Leave the blade inactive.
- Use a stitch with internal safety stitching and a width similar to that of the elastic.
STEP 1 Cut the elastic
- Cut the transparent elastic to the necessary extent plus some margins on each side.
Whenever we work with the transparent elastic it is important to have more quantity than we strictly need to be able to manipulate it with margin. If sewing it in a seam does not fit, you will have to replace it with another piece of new elastic. Have a good provision to work comfortably!
STEP 2 Place the elastic
- Place the elastic on top of the fabric or between two sheets of fabric on the edge.
- To help with your placement, leave a piece behind.
- Lower the presser foot.
Important! We will never put the elastic on the machine’s drive teeth. If we see that the foot of the machine does not slide well, we can try one with Teflon.
STEP 3 Sew and stabilize
- Sew on the elastic, wrapping it.
- Advance sewing without stretching the elastic. We want to stabilize, not curl!
This is the result of our stabilized seam with a transparent elastic and overlock machine. The perfect alliance to get professional clothes.
Sewing with a flat machine
Not overlock? No problem! We can sew the elastic in our flat machine following the same steps. Of course, having the machine ready to sew stitch will improve the results:
- Needle with a special round tip for knitwear.
- Double drag foot.
- Needle tension slightly lower than we use with straight stitches.
The stitch used is elastic zigzag, in which each section is composed of three micro puntadas. The stitch width should be similar to that of the elastic, and the length depends on each gender but they are usually low values.
So that when we open the seam we do not find the extra thickness of the elastic, it is recommended that the last micro puntada inside the zigzag falls out of the elastic.
Patience! With practice, you will have this technique under control very soon.
Keeping the curl with a vigorous and homogeneous appearance in knitwear is quite difficult. If, in addition, that area has to stretch and then return to its shape (for example, a waste that has to go through shoulders and chest) the thing is complicated by minutes. We will take into account that the objective of this tape is to stabilize zones and not to curl areas where the use of rubber is essential!
We are going to see two different ways to stabilize areas with gatherings in a seam with the transparent elastic:
- previous pucker.
- Curl directly.
Curl with the previous pucker
This method is advisable if we want to have control over the distribution and the amount of puckering in our seam. We can also use it when we want to join two fabrics, one of them with a curl and the other, without it. It is a conservative option for projects that need more pampering.
STEP 1 purse
- Make two very long stitch stitches with generous strands of thread on each side.
- Stretch the threads and gather, distributing the curl in the desired area.
STEP 2 Sew the elastic tape
- Place the transparent elastic over the curl.
- Sew without stretching the elastic. We want to keep the form we have left!
The curl is perfectly stabilized and with the elasticity necessary to lengthen and return to its normal state. What we needed!
If we want to go on the wild side of the seam and curl directly with the elastic, go ahead! This technique can also be applied to gather gauze and other vaporous genera.
STEP 1 Calculate
- Mark the beginning and end of the area we want to gather.
- Put on the elastic to see the amount of tissue collected according to the tension we apply when stretching.
STEP 2 sew
- Place the tape and sew stretching the elastic.
- Maintain the same tension throughout the seam so that the curl is homogeneous.
Here we have the fabric gathered in a seen and unseen, ready to stretch and return to its shape without problems.
As you will see, the transparent elastic is a must-have if you sew with stitch: more defined garments and stabilized seams that respect the elasticity of the fabric. In addition, once sewn it becomes almost invisible because it does not add thickness so that in contact with the body nothing is noticed.
There are elastic in various widths and thicknesses depending on the type of fabric and width of the desired finish. It is not a material that you can find easily but, good news, in Seoane Textile you can get the one that we have used in the tutorial, which is 6 mm wide and works very well with the standard seam allowances.
In the next post, we will see the application of the elastic in different seams of a knitted dress and how it helps to make the neckline and the parts with gatherings look perfect.
Have you used the transparent elastic yet? had you heard of it? We await your comments, reflections or doubts.