Dressmakers, tailors, and normal everyday people involved in scrapbooking and other crafts make use of elastics, whether it is a fold-over elastic or decorative elastic band. Given the various people that find elastic useful and attractive, it is natural that these simple yet stretchable fabrics evolved from a clothing accessory to beautiful decorative fabric used every single day.
Most elastic can be placed in three distinctive categories: braided, knitted, or woven, which are basically terms that refer to how the elastic is constructed.
Looking at a band of braided elastic, the most obvious characteristic are the parallel ribs that run lengthwise. Its best features are that it is more resistant to shrinking, unaffected by salt water, andchlorine- treated waters (such as in pools) have little to no effect on this material. Thus, they are the choice materials of clothing manufacturers who produce swimming apparels such as swimming trunks, swim suits, and others including leg bands and sleeve hems. However, braided elastics tend to lose their elasticity as well as shape retention when they are pierced or stitched through. Thus, they are inserted into casings rather than sewn into the garment.
Knitted elastics are pretty soft as compared to the braided elastics. They are also lighter in weight when compared against most kinds of elastic. However, this does not mean that they are not strong because they actually have one of the highest amounts of elasticity. The soft, lightweight and sturdy features of knitted elastic are some of the major reasons why they are most preferred by people who sew with light fabrics and even swimwear. Another wonderful feature of knitted elastics is that their elasticity and shape is not affected when pierced by needles, so you can basically sew them through the fabric or slide them into casings.
Woven elastics, such as the 1/4” colored elastic used in headbands, are known to be the best type of elastic among the group. The weaving process gives this elastic the vertical and horizontal ribs which crisscross against each other. The same process gives woven elastics its strength and thickness. Like knitted elastics, they do not narrow when stretched and does not become weak when pierced by needles, and so they can be stitched directly to the fabric or put inside casings. Because of their qualities, they are usually used along with heavy fabrics and clothing like car covers and thick curtains. They are also used with bags or other accessories that require the use of elastic.
Each of these elastics here has their own specific uses, although it is not common for many to use one type instead of the other for a particular project. However, choosing and using the right types of elastic can do you more good in the long run because changing elastics after it has been sewn directly to the fabric or after the casing has been sewn close can be a time-consuming and tedious process. Thus, familiarizing yourself with the different kinds of elastics at the start will save you from a lot of stress and expenses in the future.
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