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Thread: How to attach elastic so fabric will gather for a scarf?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Scraps's Avatar
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    How to attach elastic so fabric will gather for a scarf?

    I purchased mckay manor musers Twisted Elegance pattern for a pretty scarf in rayon fabric. It is supposed to ruesch (sp?) or gather up. It is supposed to be super simple, but mine finishes almost flat. I have never sewn with elastic before and would appreciate some help. It has been ripped 5 times now!! It is a 15" wide piece of fabric by 56" long. You mark 4" in from each side for elastic placement - sew elastic down at half way point. Stretch only the elastic and zig zag to attach. Sew sides together and if it works you have a beautiful scarf.

  2. #2
    Super Member Emma S's Avatar
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    My first thought is that the elastic is too long. Recheck the elastic instructions to make sure you have a smaller length for the elastic. I have used this method for skirts and waisted blouses, it should work if you stretch it.

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    I have always found that I need to use less elastic than called for on or in anything. It stretches out when sewn and the more you sew it the loser it gets. Try less elastic and stretch it a little tighter.

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    Power Poster MamaBear61's Avatar
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    I agree with Emma. What is the measurement of your elastic?
    Lori - MamaBear

  5. #5
    Senior Member Scraps's Avatar
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    Thanks ladies ---- After the 3rd try I shortened the elastic to 46 inches. Fabric is actually 84 inches long and the scarf is supposed to finish at 56" long. The elastic is 1/4" wide.
    Last edited by Scraps; 11-24-2013 at 01:56 PM. Reason: added more info

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It may have something to do with the type of elastic used also. For an application like this, I would use invisible elastic (about 1/4" wide and almost transparent). It is very stretchy and easy to apply. JoAnne Fabrics usually has it hanging on their sewing notions wall.

  7. #7
    Power Poster MamaBear61's Avatar
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    1/4 inch elastic probably is being held "stretched" by your fabric. Since you are trying to to shorten your fabric by approx. 1/3 I would try doing a sample (10" of fabric and what length of elastic takes it to 6.5 - 7 inches) and then use the resulting ratio on your scarf. I will bet that your elastic length still needs to be shorter.
    I also had a similar problem once when I was using elastic that had been around for "a while" and I believe that it had lost some of it's ability to "spring back".
    I have made a scarf along these lines where you used regular thread on the top of your machine and elastic thread in the bobbin. In order to do this you need to hand wind a bobbin and make adjustments to bobbin case tension as well as stitch length so not as simple as it would seem.

    Good luck,
    Lori - MamaBear

  8. #8
    Senior Member Scraps's Avatar
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    Again, thanks so much for the help. My favorite quilt shop had one done up and they said easy peasy. :-) I will change the ratio and the elastic. I will post when I have some kind of results. Hopefully, a pretty scarf!

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    Just one more idea for you, I recently made some boxer shorts for DGS with elastic waist. The elastic was stretched and sewn around the waist using 4 rows of stitching. Instructions said when finished, steam elastic with iron to shrink it back in shape and that really did work! Before the steam it looked kind of stretched out and pathetic! Not sure if that would help in your situation, but might be worth a try.

  10. #10
    Super Member sandyl's Avatar
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    I will be anxious to see this scarf when you finish it. I love the look of a beautiful scarf but just can't catch the knack of tying one so it doesn't look like a granny knot. Whenever I have used elastic I just pull it as tight as I possibly can pull it (without breaking the sewing machine needle) and either zig zag or sew down the center of the elastic.

  11. #11
    Power Poster MamaBear61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suern3 View Post
    Just one more idea for you, I recently made some boxer shorts for DGS with elastic waist. The elastic was stretched and sewn around the waist using 4 rows of stitching. Instructions said when finished, steam elastic with iron to shrink it back in shape and that really did work! Before the steam it looked kind of stretched out and pathetic! Not sure if that would help in your situation, but might be worth a try.
    This is great advice I have heard of doing this and completely forgot it.
    Lori - MamaBear

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