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20 Different types of Elastic used in sewing

Updated on by Sarina

Different types of elastic tapes/trims are used in making bras, lingerie, swim wear, masks, shorts, sweaters, belts, suspenders and many other things in sewing. Here are the main types of elastic.

Knit Flat elastic band 

This is the reguar commonly used elastic tape used inside waistbands, and other casings to gather fabric. It is a thick non-curling elastic which can be used with most fabrics. The advantage of this elastic is that it doesnot narrow when it is stretched. It is comfortable against skin and can be stitched over. 

elastic types

Braided elastic tape

This is a ribbed elastic tape which is lightweight. The tape has distinct lengthwise parallel lines on the surface. When you stretch it, it narrows.

It can stretch out of shape and get thin if stretched too much and also if you stitch over it. It is used in sewing, inside casings, for gathering necklines, waistbands.

Woven Elastic

This is a ribbed elastic which doesnot curl. A ribbed woven elastic is used for heavy fabrics. It is available in several sizes. 

Elastic Beading cord

This is a thin elastic cord meant for stringing beads for making bracelets.It can also be used inside a casing and also for gathering – but remember that the stretch is much lesser than other elastic tapes. 

Buttonhole elastic

This is a soft elastic tape with several buttonholes placed uniformly along the middle – this is used to make the garment adjustable.

different types of elastic

It is usually used in the waistbands for pants/skirts to make the waistband fit for several sizes and on kids’ clothes to adjust for growth. The buttonholes on the elastic is fastened to buttons on the inside of the clothing waistband.

Stretch Drawcord 

Also called Drawstring elastic – This is a elastic tape with a built-in cord. It is usually used on the waistbands of sportswear, shorts, pajamas, lounge pants and on sweatshirt hoodies.

Elastic thread

This elastic is used to sew on the sewing machine. It creates a shirred (gathered) effect – the elastic thread is used on the bobbin. Read more on how to shirr using elastic thread here.

how to do shirring with elastic thread

Invisible stretch thread/ Clear elastic thread

invisible stretch thread

This is a very thin stretchy elastic thread which is usually used for making jewlery. 

Synthetic elastic Cord

Braided elastic cord made of synthetic fibers which is usually used as a drawcord inside casings, for waistbands, bags etc. You may also get it as bracelet string as it can be used to make braided bracelets. It is available in multi colors. 

Fold over elastic

This is an elastic binding tape which is used to bind edges of stretch fabrics. It has a mild indentation down the middle to make it easy to fold it to bind. 

Pushback elastic

This is a latex free elastic tape with a soft/plush backing (also called felt-back elastic)- it is usually used on the waistbands of underwears. This elastic tape may have a decorative edge on one edge. 

Silicone backed elastic

Also called silicone gripper tape. This is a special elastic with silicone stripe at the back to prevent slipage on the skin. It is usually available as 1/2 inch width.

Shoulder strap elastic

A thin soft elastic used to make straps for lingerie. 

Picot edged Lingerie elastic

A very pretty elastic usually used as bra straps – these have pretty picots edging either side of the elastic.

Lace edged elastic

This elastic tape will have lace on one edge or either edges. If you search enough you will even get ruffled organza edged elastic and it is very cute.

Stretch lace elastic 

This is a lace trim with stretch. 

scalloped lace trims

Clear elastic

As the name suggests it is a thin (1/4″ or 3/8″) transparent 100% Polyurethane elastic tape. You would have seen it as straps for bras to make it look strapless. It stretches a lot – even stretches to 3 times its original length. It can be used as a stay tape to stabilise the seams of knit fabrics.

Stretch elastic piping

This is an elastic trim with a piping edge. It is usually used to finish necklines and sleeve edges.

Round cord elastic

This is thin elastic encased in a fabric casing. You can get this in many sizes and colors. 


Underwear elastic

This is an soft elastic tape which is usually stitched directly on to the fabric – it is applied to the back of the fabric for gathering. You will usually find them on the waistbands on underwear, boxers.

elastic types

Related posts : Different types of tapes used in sewing; Different types of fabric trims; Different types of cords ; Different types of stretchy fabric

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5 thoughts on “20 Different types of Elastic used in sewing”

  1. Which elastic stretches the most.
    How about elastic with 42%rubber?
    I need it for pul on independent sleeves. I Ned it to really stretch for different sizes of arms.
    I’m so tired of buying elastic and it doesn’t streach very much.
    Thank you

  2. I enjoyed reading about the plethora of elastic types. I am confused however which elastic can be sewn on in a waistband and not lose its stretch. You see this in sport jackets. I don’t know if you answer ?’s but I am puzzled. Thanks

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