Fold Over Elastic (FOE)

Fold-over elastic is a particular type of elastic tape that is used as a binding elastic in sewing – it has enough width to go over an edge and a dent down the center of the elastic on either sides, which aids in easy folding over fabrics.

what is fold over elastic - it has an indentation on the middle so that it can be folded over a fabric edge

There are two things that the elastic does in one go – it serves as elastic and also as a binding tape—the elastic stretches to its double-length.

The fold-over elastic is used as a bias tape to bind the edges – it is usually used to bind the leg line edges of panties, waistline and sleeve hem edges of blouson tops, and neckline edges of blouses and dresses. It is also used to make masks and also hair bands.

One side of the fold-over elastic is shinier than the other side. This is usually used on the outside.

One side is mat and the other side of fold over elastic is shinier

Other than folding, you can use it as it is on top of the fabric as well – it is soft and smooth enough to be on the surface of the fabric. This is usually used on the waistline edge of underwear. And for making straps for slips or camisoles. You can also use it in one go to bind the neckline and then go over as the strap.

A zig zag stitch is used to sew this elastic tape because this is a stretchy stitch. A straight stitch will break when stretched.

How to sew the fold over elastic binding a fabric edge

Adjust your stitch type to zig-zag and stitch width to  2 or 3 if you want a narrow zig-zag, use 2. And a stitch length of 2. Fold the elastic tape over the fabric edge

Method 1 – Sewing over the edge of a stretchy fabric.

Fold it over the edge

Sew from the top, catching the top fold of the tape, fabric edge in between, and the bottom fold of the tape.

sew with a zig zag stitch

Ensure that you are stitching through all these layers at all times. 

Method 2 – Sewing the fold over elastic over the edge of a non-stretchy fabric or for gathering

Take fabric double the length of the fabric. The fabric automatically gathers to match the stretch of the elastic.

You should stretch the elastic as you sew, that is the trick- this will automatically gather the fullness of the fabric to match the elastic stretch. 

fold over elastic gathering the fabric fullness

Here is a video explaining the process. 

Related post : Different types of elastics used in sewing ; Different types of sewing tools.

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