How to Use Fold Over Elastic

Fold over elastic (FOE) is a versatile finishing technique that can elevate your sewing projects to the next level. Whether you are working with delicate fabrics like tulle and lace or knits such as sports bras and swim tops, FOE can provide a beautiful and professional finish. In this tutorial, we will explore the step-by-step process of using FOE to achieve flawless results.

a row of three garments, on the left a sequin tulle dress, middle a brown bodysuit, right a grey sports bra, all finished with fold over elastic

What You Will Need

Before we dive into the tutorial, let’s make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials:

  • Fold over elastic
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Stretch needle
  • Scissors

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Step-by-Step Tutorial

Now, let’s explore the simple and effective process of using FOE:

Step 1: Prepare Your Machine

Set your sewing machine to a zigzag or stretch stitch. It’s also recommended to use a stretch or ballpoint needle to avoid skipped stitches.

Step 2: Position the Elastic

Starting from the back of the garment opening, choose a spot for the elastic to begin. It’s best to have the elastic overlap in the back for a seamless finish. Place the fabric on top of the FOE, covering half of the elastic. Ensure that the matte side of the elastic is facing up.

Step 2

Step 3: Fold and Secure

Fold the opposite edge of the elastic over the fabric, encasing the raw edge inside it.

Step 3

Step 4: Sew the Elastic

Hold the end of the elastic in place, where it encases the fabric. Lower the sewing machine foot and presser foot. Begin sewing with a zigzag stitch down the center of the elastic, starting with a small backstitch.

Step 5: Slow and Steady

Now, continue sewing the elastic onto the raw edge of the fabric all around the opening. Take your time and periodically stop to readjust the elastic and fabric, ensuring everything is in place before proceeding. If in doubt, pause and double-check that the elastic fully encases the fabric edge before continuing.

Step 5

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Once you have sewn the elastic all the way around and returned to the starting point, fold the elastic around the edge, overlapping it about an inch. Perform another backstitch and trim any excess threads. Finally, trim the elastic close to your stitching.

Step 6

Congratulations! You have successfully mastered the art of using fold over elastic. Enjoy the professional finish and admire your beautifully finished garment.

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