Tutorial: How to sew with clear elastic with knits!


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In our last post, we talked about how to sew lined sleeveless bodice with burrito method.

Today we will answer these questions. What is the use of clear elastic? How do I add it to the seam allowance?  And can I get away with not using it?

These are the questions I am getting a lot here. In my opinion there is no right or wrong way when it comes to using clear elastic or not.

First, let me explain to you why we need it. Knit seams like shoulder seams, neckline seams and waist line seams where  there is a lot of pulling, clear elastic can be very handy. Clear elastic can prevent these seams from stretching out. Also can help the garment cling to the body in places that would otherwise sag or gape.

Second, you can stitch the elastic to the seam allowance using your sewing machine (which I prefer) or a serger. I will show you next how to do this with your sewing machine.

And last, yes you can get away with not using it but only if your knit skirt is not heavier or stretchier than the bodice. It will not work if you have a heavy knit skirt on and you will see the seam line stretched and won’t look professional sewn.

Okay, let’s go ahead and start shall we?

What Do You Need?

Based on Lilah Top & Dress pattern tutorial, you will need:

– Your gathered skirt for top or dress version

– Clear elastic*

– You bodice basted at the bottom

*  1/4″ – 3/8″ clear elastic will do

Here is how you will add the clear elastic to the seams when attaching the bodice to the skirt. Liesel, in this post she went ahead and attach the clear elastic to the bodice before attaching it to the skirt! That is possible and easy with all the gathers in the skirt :).  Here is another way.

Lets get started!

Step 1: You will follow the pattern tutorial until Step 11. This is what you will have after Step 11.

Clear elastic tutorial by Sansahash

Step 2: With right sides together, align the skirt to the basted bottom of the main bodice/lining. Align the raw edges and match the side seams. Make sure all the gathers are evenly distributed and pin.

Clear elastic tutorial by Sansahash

Step 3: Now place your 1/4” or 3/8″ clear elastic on top of your wrong side of your skirt/ or the right side of the bodice/lining and within the seam allowance and level with the edge of the seam allowance.  Sew with a stretch stitch.  Note: Cut the elastic the same length as the seam you are sewing. The ration is 1:1. And do not stretch it!

Clear elastic tutorial by Sansahash


Here are the settings I used to sew the elastic in using my sewing machine. And to prevent the elastic sticking out of the foot, I used a Teflon-coated foot! 

Clear elastic tutorial by Sansahash Clear elastic tutorial by Sansahash


Finish the seams and press them towards the bodice.

Clear elastic tutorial by Sansahash



You did it! See it wasn’t so hard right!


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