Yellow Tail Cami Sewalong: Measuring & Attaching the Fold Over Elastic

Howdy Yellow Tail Camisole sewalongers! Have you been dreading this part? Please don’t! Fold over elastic gets a bad rap, but it’s really useful stuff. Plus, Ive got two videos for you today!

Alright, I should be honest with you, shouldn’t I? There was a time when I called fold over elastic F.O.E. (although I saw Leila do it first!) because I thought it was my nemesis. But, once I stopped trying to cut corners when using it, it became no big thing & the sewing actually went faster.

The thing about fold over elastic is it’s like bias tape, but stretchy. You don’t want to try & sew bias tape to something without first sewing one side down. Otherwise, it ends up all wobbly. It’s really not a good look & doesn’t save you any time because you’ll probably be so embarrassed by the resulting finish that you’ll need to immediately rip out your work.

Likewise, if you try to sandwich your fold over elastic around some fabric without first securing one half of it, things will look atrocious. Chances are, they will be even worse than your quickly applied bias tape because your seams will have stretched out something fierce, as in cut off the edges of your pattern pieces because they’re now too stretched out of shape to use.

So, don’t try & cut corners. It will end in misery & intense hatred of all things stretchy.

disparate disciplines yellow tail camisole sewing pattern sewalong

To successfully apply fold over elastic, sew one half of your unfolded elastic to your garment while gently pulling on the elastic.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while sewing:

  • Do not pull on your fabric.
  • Pull a little harder than you’d have to to keep the elastic taut.
  • The amount you have to pull on the elastic will depend on your individual elastic & your fabric, so you’ll want to experiment with this before sewing it on your actual garment.
  • If you pull too much, your fabric will be gathered at the elastic.
  • If you do not pull enough, your fabric will stretch out.

The nice thing about applying one side first is that you can use some mighty big stitches, so if the elastic isn’t at the right tension you can easily rip it out.

Once you’ve got that first side stitched down to your desired tension, fold the other half of the elastic over the raw edge of the fabric & stitch it down. You can use a wide zigzag stitch when sewing this half of the elastic down. However, I prefer a very narrow zigzag right at the edge of the fold over elastic. It looks neater to have a narrow stitch at the edge rather than big zigzags criss-crossing the width of your elastic.

Now you’ve practiced with a scrap of fold over elastic on your fashion fabric, you may be wondering how much elastic to use for your Yellow Tail Cami. Answer: it doesn’t need to be a precise amount. You want a little extra so you can raise or lower the bust to show off the amount of cleavage you want. BUT, you can only raise or lower it so far before you’d need to alter the pattern pieces. If you still want a more precise number than the 50-70″ listed on the pattern envelope, watch the video above. Just be careful not to stretch the top edges of your camisole out of shape when trying it on.

disparate disciplines sewing patterns sewalong

Alright, now you’ve got your elastic cut, apply it like you did your test scraps.

  1. Fold your elastic in half so the two raw ends meet. Note, you’re not folding it along the central groove running down the elastic. Match the folded end of your elastic to the center back of your camisole. Then, walk one half of the elastic along the back of your camisole. I like to go towards the left. Do not pin the elastic down along the back of the camisole. When you get to the end of the armhole, you’ll be at the front of the camisole. Pin the elastic down or mark it where it meets the end of the armhole.
  2. The wrong side of the elastic should be facing the wrong side of your fabric. Line it up so the groove in the center of the elastic meets the raw edge of  the fabric.
  3. Stitch the wrong side of your elastic to the wrong side of your fabric with a wide zig zag stitch, remembering to stretch your elastic out a little.
  4. When sewing past the bottom of your armholes, pull on the elastic even more to help keep the finished camisole snug under your arms when wearing it.
  5. Fold the other side of the elastic over at the groove running down the center of the elastic. Starting at one of the ends of your elastic, stitch the two halves together.
  6. Pin the straps to the back of your camisole & try it on. Move the straps to cover your bra straps. Make the straps shorter or longer to raise or lower the front of the camisole according to how much cleavage you wish to show. Remember you won’t be able to raise or lower it too much without modifying the pattern pieces.
  7. Stitch the straps in place at the back of the camisole. Make sure the ends of your elastic are on the inside of your camisole. Stitch in two places: along the line of narrow stitching you sewed while finishing the back of the camisole & where your straps meet the top edge of the camisole.

Remember to check out the instructions for fully illustrated instructions & different wording of these steps. And of course, here’s a video to walk you through sewing your fold over elastic.

Now you’re so close to being done! Go on, pat yourself on the back.

But… are things looking a little off? Depending on the fabric you used, things might not fit you too well. In certain fabrics (like medium weight, 50%, 4-way stretch jersey) the Yellow Tail Camisole fits me without any alterations. But, in others I need to make a few alterations after attaching the fold over elastic. Luckily, they’re not hard! In the next few days I’ll be showing you how to make further alterations to the bust & how to use straps made of fabric instead of fold over elastic.

Still looking to join in on the sewalong? I’ll be showing a few bonus pattern alterations so there’s still time to sew a camisole before the end of the sewalong. Get your Yellow Tail Camisole here.

If you need to catch up, here are the previous sewalong posts:

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6 Responses to “Yellow Tail Cami Sewalong: Measuring & Attaching the Fold Over Elastic”

  1. madisongm August 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Just ran across this looking for tutorials on FOE, but now I found your pattern i love! I will have to try it out. thanks :)


  1. Our Favorite Indie Sewing Patterns + Giveaway: Yellow Tail Camisole from Seamster Patterns | Sew Mama Sew | - July 5, 2014

    […] knits, sewing with fold over elastic (one the most popular tutorials at Seamster Patterns shows how to apply FOE to this top); in lieu of FOE you can use knit bias tape, as demonstrated […]

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  3. Easy Fix for Too Small Skirt | Stitch It Again - November 29, 2013

    […] looked up tips on sewing with foldover elastic.  I found this post and video on Disparate Disciplines to be the most helpful.  I followed the tip to sew the elastic to the wrong side first with a big […]

  4. Yellow Tail Cami Sewalong: Making Fabric Straps - Disparate Disciplines - October 3, 2013

    […] What it boils down to is making knit bias tape. But, because knit fabric is already stretchy, you won’t be cutting your strip of fabric along the bias. Instead, cut it in the direction of your fabric’s stretch. Not sure how long your strip should be? See this tutorial. […]

  5. Yellow Tail Cami Sewalong: Making Bust Adjustments - Disparate Disciplines - October 2, 2013

    […] To do the actual sewing, rip out your stitches long the armholes, from just under the seam where the top front & front pattern pieces meet up to the tops of the armholes. Also rip out some of the stitching on the straps. Cut off the excess fabric, making sure you do not cut at the stitching line. Instead, you’ll want to cut where the raw edge of the fabric will meet the center groove of the fold over elastic. Then, stitch your fold over elastic back in place, just like you saw in yesterday’s tutorial. […]

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