Updated: Learn to Sew – Joining Elastic 3 Ways

As part of my Learn to Sew tutorials for beginners I have updated my Joining Elastic 3 Ways post.  Now it matches the new formatting and should be a lot easier to read and use.  So if you need a little help with joining elastic, then check out the updated post!

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PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Tutorial

I have been meaning to make some of these reusable bowl covers, for quite a while now.  I too feel a little guilty every time I use plastic wrap…well not so much when I’m making freezer paper stencils mind you that has a purpose!

PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Quick and Easy Tutorial (8)

I recently saw a tutorial on fabric bowl covers on craft gossip which reminded me I need to make these.  I love their design but decided there had to be an easier and quicker way.

PUL Reusable Bowl Covers Quick and Easy Tutorial (9)

So I decided to forgo the double layer and save time on sewing a casing for the elastic.  I decided on PUL (I had some left over from my book bags) and thought a little leak protection wouldn’t go astray!  Instead of regular elastic I used shirring elastic, I used to avoid this stuff like the plague but it really is very easy once you try it.

Fabric Reusable Bowl Covers Quick and Easy Tutorial (10)

Now for the quick and easy tutorial!

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Joining Elastic 3 Ways - Beginners Tutorial

Joining Elastic Three Different Ways Beginners Tutorial

Hello again as promised in the Contrast Baby Pants Tutorial here is a tutorial on joining elastic 3 different ways.

Joining Elastic 3 Ways - Beginners Tutorial

There are so many ways to join elastic.  These are the three I use most often.  I have used white elastic with blue thread so you can clearly see what I have done.  Obviously a matching thread would give a much neater looking finish!

1. Overlapping Elastic Join

Joining Elastic 3 Ways - Beginners Tutorial

With this method you overlap the ends of the elastic by  a couple of centimeters (almost an inch) and zigzag up and down a few times over the double layer to secure it.  I like to do this twice to be sure it’s caught well.

Pros: Very easy to do, nice and secure, easy to adjust the size later and even has a little room to let it out if need be.

Cons: The doubled up area is a little bulky, not the neatest finish if your elastic band is visible.

2. Exposed Elastic Join


This method works great for creating a tidy looking join if the elastic will be visible in your garment.  As it is in circle skirts or some boxer shorts.


Stack the two ends on top of each other lining up the cut edges and sides carefully.  Sew a straight line across, I have used a 1/2″ seam allowance (use the guides on your machine – See this Learn to Sew Tutorial).  Remember to reverse over a couple of stitches at the start and end to prevent it coming undone.


It should look like my example above.  Go ahead and trim off any excess thread.


Fold the seam open as shown above.


Sew down the folded sides about 1/4″ from the middle. Don’t forget to do a little reverse or use your lock stitch at the beginning and the end.

You can trim off any extra overlap to reduce the bulk a little if you like.

Pros: The finish is very tidy on one side great for when the elastic is exposed.

Cons: A little more time consuming, and still a double layer but it doesn’t feel as bulky as the overlapping option.

3. Flat Joined Elastic


To start the flat join just butt the two ends of elastic together (double check that they are cut straight!) and place them together under you presser foot.


Making sure the cut is in the center.  I like to use the biggest zigzag stitch I have to ensure that both sides are caught.  I go over this two or three times to be sure all edges are caught securely.  This method is a really good option for items where the elastic will be sewn to the fabric also, like leggings waistbands.

Pros: Very flat join, quick and easy.

Cons: Doesn’t feel as secure.

Happy Elastic Joining!

Updated – 22.09.2016