When you’re first learning to sew everything is a real challenge. Soon, though, you master the straight stitch and you’re suddenly sewing things you can actually use and keep. The straight stitch, of course, is the basic stitch any beginner will use. Later, you can add zig-zag and other decorative stitches to your repertoire. Those fancy stitches aren’t needed for many projects but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into difficulties even after you’ve learned the straight stitch. One of those trouble areas, in fact, is faced when you work with elastic. And, if you try to sew straight elastic into a circular piece of material, it can get even trickier! Don’t worry, though. Just because you’re a beginner doesn’t mean you’ll have any real trouble. If you follow these guidelines even a beginner can sew circular, gathered items created by elastic. And when you do, you’ll soon have everything from bowl covers to shower caps, all made by you!
You don’t necessarily have to use a sewing machine to sew cloth. They are actually capable of sewing plastic and other materials, too. If you intend to make bowl covers or even shower caps you’ll likely want to use plastic rather than fabric. You’ll need very thin plastic materials for these projects and you’ll find some suitable plastics at a store which sells fabric. The plastics are generally intended for making disposable tablecloths and similar items. Most any thin plastic will work fine no matter where you purchase it but the plastic can’t be too thin or you’ll fight with it while you sew.
Very narrow elastic is the best choice for making bowl covers as well as shower caps. Eighth-inch elastic is perfect but you can also select quarter-inch or even sixteenth-inch. The elastic is normally found only in colors of white or black but you can sometimes go online and locate elastic in other shades. If you’ve never sewn elastic before there are a few things you’ll need to know.
Unless you have a sewing machine accessory which helps attach elastic you’ll need to do it the “hard” way. That is, you can sew the elastic into the material by following a few guidelines. When you start, set the end of the elastic completely on the material. Place the needle down so that it’s through the elastic as well as the plastic. Hold both thread pieces as you begin to sew. Do not stretch the elastic as of yet; make a couple of stitches forward, then backward, then forward once again. Now, begin tugging the elastic as you sew it on without pulling really hard. For best results sew very slowly.
You’ll find it easiest to stay on your mark if you draw a circle onto the plastic then cut the circle slightly larger than needed. It’s much easier to stay on the mark if the mark isn’t at the very edge. After sewing the elastic onto the mark you’ve made you can then cut off any excess plastic. You’ll have the best success if you take a couple of stitches down the elastic, reposition it on the line, then take a couple of more stitches. Do this until you’ve come full-circle. At that time, stitch all the way to the end of the elastic where you began, then cut off the excess elastic that you’re sewing.
Sewing elastic to a cloth circle can create something much different. Make liners for baskets by sewing narrow elastic around a fabric circle. When you make liners you’ll sew the elastic piece to the wrong side of the fabric. Remember to cut the circle larger than you need, sew the elastic on, then cut off the excess. To create a more finished edge, hem around the circle first, then go back and sew the elastic into the hemmed edge. Stitch the elastic just below the hem.
To make bowl covers you can turn the bowls upside-down, draw around them, then cut the circle slightly larger. Make shower caps by measuring around your head then measuring around other round things in your house to find something suitable. Some suggestions include canisters, lamp bases or even pots and pans. You can even make silly hats for kids by sewing elastic into circles. Stitch two circles of cloth together so that the wrong sides face each other. The circles should be much larger than what’s needed for, say, a shower cap. Sew the elastic several inches from the edge. You’ll create a bonnet-type hat that can then be embellished with lace trim around the edges.
It’s easy to sew straight things onto other straight things, but when it comes to sewing circles, they can be a little tricker. Beginner or not, though, you’ll find it very easy to sew elastic to circles when you go slowly, stay centered on the elastic, and stay on your drawn mark. Soon you’ll be making new bowl covers for the fridge, shower caps for yourself and play hats for the kids. You’ll be having all sorts of fun while getting in some good practice!