Elastic can be finicky—it’s stretchy, it twists, and sometimes you really have to wrangle it into your casing for waistbands, sleeves, and cuffs. In this video, I’ll show you some tools and give you some helpful tips for inserting elastic into your garments.
A simple safety pin is a great way to thread elastic or cording through a channel. To do this, attach the safety pin to one end of the elastic. Insert the safety pin into the channel opening then scrunch the fabric around it and slide the safety pin forward through the channel. Repeat until it’s traveled the whole way. If you’re threading elastic and its length is a lot smaller than the casing, you might want to use a second safety pin to secure one end to the opening, or seam like this. That way this end won’t get pulled into the casing.
Depending on the size of the safety pin and the channel, this method can be a little challenging, so let’s take a look at some other tools.
There are a bunch of different styles and brands of bodkins or elastic threaders out there, but here are three common styles.
First up is a pincher bodkin. Pincher bodkins have teeth that grab and grip elastic and trim. To use, pinch one end of the elastic about 1/4 - 1/2” away from the edge. To secure, move the slider as far down as you can. Then feed the bodkin through the channel. This style glides easily through different sizes of casings and can be used with a variety of elastics.
A flat bodkin, or tape bodkin is kind of like a flat needle. To use, thread the elastic through the openings like this and leave a bit of tail. The flat end is easy to push through the channel, however, you’ll need to match the elastic width to the bodkin’s
A flexible needle bodkin is great for circular casings such as waistbands, or for hood drawstrings. To use, thread thin elastic or cording through both holes and leave a bit of a tail, then thread the shaft through the casing.
Sometime you’ll need to thread elastic through a casing with seams and where safety pins and bodkins can get caught. To avoid this hiccup, fuse some interfacing over the seams.
If you need to thread a drawstring and you don’t have a safety pin, or bodkin wrap some masking tape around one end of the drawstring and feed that through the casing.
What are your favorite elastic tools and tips? Let us know in the comments. Happy sewing!