Fold Over Elastic Tutorial by Allison Sews. Garment Sewing.

I am super duper excited to introduce Allison!  We virtually took a Creative Live class together and became good “internet” friends.  I was determined to find her at QuiltCon and the rest is “quilty friend history”.  🙂  When I was starting to work on the Learn More, Sew More garment making challenge, Allison quickly came to my assistance answering questions and commiserating about the horror of fitting boobs into garments!!  She told me about a Washi Top she made using foldover elastic so I asked if she would put together a tutorial.  Lucky us!  Off to Allison…

Fold Over Elastic Tutorial by Allison Sews

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Hi there, I’m Allison. I blog over at Allison Sews. I met Sandi through our blogs and instagram (and Fantasy Football!) and was so happy to be able to spend some time with her at Quiltcon! I was wearing a Staple Dress I had made and we talked a little about getting into making garments.

Washi Top made with Fold Over Elastic

Lately, I’ve started sewing a little with knit for some garment making but I’m always looking for different ways to finish a garment or create different looks. I had heard that foldover elastic (FOE for short) could be used as a binding so I decided to try it out. Turns out I loved it! I’ve put together this tutorial so you can try it out too.

First, start your garment. I sewed up a quick tank top with some knit from Girl Charlee*, attaching the front and back at the shoulder and side seams. I’m going to use FOE to bind the neckline and arm holes. To make it easy to see, I picked a contrasting color from the tank. There are 2 sides to the FOE – shiny or matte. It’s really up to you which you show off, either way will work.

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You’ll see a line down the middle where it can be folded in half lengthwise. The fabric will be sandwiched in here. Let’s start with the neckline. Turn your garment right side out and start near the center of the back of the neck. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the FOE to the wrong side of the neckline.

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You’re going to want to stretch the FOE a little as you sew and go slowly so you can keep the edge of the fabric lined up with that center fold line. Make sure you’re stretching the FOE slightly to prevent the neckline from bowing outward when you wear it.

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 Since I’m stretching as I go, I do not cut the elastic before I attach it. When I get back to the starting point I overlap about 1/8″ and backstitch to lock it in place. You can then cut your FOE just past the cut edge. It’s a good idea to seal the edge of the elastic with a lighter. The picture below shows the now-attached elastic from the inside of the neckline.
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Now it’s time to fold it over and finish it off. Make sure you’re using a matching thread for this step as it will show on the outside of your finished garment. Use a narrower zig zag and sew close to the non-folded edge.

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Again, take your time to keep your stitches close to the edge. When I got close to the end, I found it helpful to use tweezers to hold the top edge in place as that part went under the presser foot. Backstitch, hide your threads, and give it a good steam to fix any warping that may have occurred in the FOE. Finish off the arm holes the same way and enjoy your new top!

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Ready to buy some FOE to try out? I know they have some at the big stores like Joann’s but it’s a much better deal on Etsy or Ebay. Happy Sewing!

* affiliate link with a 10% discount for you

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Thank you, Allison!

Comments 11

  1. Great tute! I have 3 GIANT spools of FOE that I bought on clearance. I’ve used it with quilting cotton to make
    Skirts for my girl, but not with knits yet…. (They scare me)

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  2. Pingback: How to Use Fold Over Elastic - Sewtorial

  3. I’ve been using FOE for a while now on lycra/spandex costumes….and it never occurred to me to use a lighter to melt the last cut end. I’ve been folding it under & have near been satisfied with the little bulky bump. D’uh!! Trying the melt

  4. Hello, Great tutorial!.. I can not wait to try this technique.. Thank you. I LOVE the top you have on in your photo.. Would you mind sharing the patteren Name and number? Thank you in advance.. Dianne

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  5. Hi,
    Great tutorial, I’m glad I happened to come upon it. I’ve been making crop tops and leotards for awhile and never really realised this was an option, thank you for sharing. I’m just wondering what width FOE you use for your crop tops?

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